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Zoos in Florida
Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
Founded in 1914, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is located at the mouth of Trout River in Jacksonville. Set on over 100 acres, the zoo features nearly 2,500 animals and roughly 1,000 plant species – many of which are native to northeastern Florida.
Must-see exhibits at the zoo include the River Valley Aviary, featuring 9,000 square feet of natural scenery and birds, and Wild Florida, which showcases native wetland creatures in their natural habitat. Be sure to take a walk through either the Savannah Blooms or Gardens of Trout River Plaza.
Gulf Breeze Zoo
Right along U.S. 98 in Pensacola, the Gulf Breeze Zoo offers 50 acres of wild adventure on the Florida Panhandle. Birds range from parrots to ostrich to waterfowl; primates include tamarins and lowland gorillas; reptiles include pythons, 500-pound Galapagos tortoises, and of course famous Florida alligators.
You can feed certain animals, including giraffes – fortunately, they bend their necks down to meet you instead of you having climbing way up there. Ride the Safari Line Limited, a train that runs you around the park and offers more views of hippos, gorillas, and birds. Parking is free, as are the gulf breezes.
Covering 740 acres, the Miami-Dade Zoological Park & Gardens is a zoological park and gardens set in Miami in southern Florida. Formerly Crandon Park Zoo and Miami MetroZoo – now just Zoo Miami – the park is home to over 2,000 animals.
Established in 1948 and featuring over 100 exhibits, Zoo Miami is both Florida’s oldest and largest zoo. Exhibits include Dr. Wilde's World, the Asian River Life Experience, the Samburu Giraffe Feeding Station, and more.
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is one of the Florida Gulf Coast's most popular attractions and offers all Naples guests a fun-filled day of exploration. The zoo is home to about 70 species of animals, including alligators, primates, tigers, and more.
Don't miss special exhibits like Alligator Bay, the African Oasis, the Lion's Lair, Black Bear Hammock, and the Fossas of Madagascar. You can also take the Primate Expedition Cruise on Lake Victoria to catch a glimpse of the zoo's primates. Be sure to catch a Meet the Keeper session or a Planet Predator event at the Safari Canyon Open Air Theater.
Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Located in Sarasota on the west-central Florida, the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary houses endangered animals like lions, tigers, bears, primates, birds, and tortoises. The sanctuary is also known for its enrichment and education programs, freely available to all visitors.
Guests can see the animals in action at the 3 large indoor/outdoor housing complexes with exercise habitats and swimming pool. Don't miss weekly training demonstrations with the animals. The sanctuary is open Wednesday thru Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
ZooWorld Zoological Conservatory
Home to over 350 animals and 250 plant species, ZooWorld is a nice getaway for individuals and families. Numerous exhibit showcasing the animals, plants, and ecosystems await in Panama City on the Florida Panhandle.
Apart from the collection of exotic animals, the zoo hosts a number of unique events, including ZooBoo each October, Zoobilee in September, Christmas for the Critters, and more. ZooWorld is also the home to Tonda and TK – two unlikely friends in an orangutan and cat.
Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo
Spanning 10 acres, the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is located on the Northwest Campus of Santa Fe College in the north-central Florida community of Gainesville. The Teaching Zoo is the only training facility for aspiring keepers with its own AZA-accredited zoo.
Home to over 200 animals across 75 different species, the zoo is open for guided tours for seven days a week, letting visitors young and old make contact with animals like turtles, snakes, and lizards. Special events held throughout the year include S.T.A.R.S (Sea Turtles At Risk), and the annual Boo at the Zoo.