Visiting a zoo can be a fantastic way to spend the day with children. We have been lucky enough to explore some amazing zoos during travel. A family favorite would be Lincoln Zoo in Chicago. It is FREE and outstanding if you are ever in the area. Our love for the wild side has me wanting to share 5 fantastic Florida Zoos.
- Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens– right here in our own little piece of the world is Jacksonville Zoo. Open Mon-Friday 9-5 and weekends 9-6 you can easily spend all day at this zoo and more! Jax Zoo was recently named one of the top 25 in the nation. We’d have to agree. Hilights include a trip around the zoo on the train, the beautiful carousel , cooling off at the splash pad and sting ray bay. There are also kayak rentals and eco airboat tours along Trout creek. Definitely plan on spending more than the $16.95 adult admission.
Mom Tip: Giraffe Feeding is located at the giraffe overlook and is a favorite. The giraffe feeding ends at 4:15 so plan it in ahead of time. It is well worth the extra $2 . Get your camera ready those tongues are long and slurpy.
- Brevard Zoo– Brevard Zoo is definitely a personal favorite of mine. This zoo was built by a community of volunteers (pretty cool) . It has that small zoo fell but is packed full of animals and hands on activities. This zoo also has lorikeet and giraffe feedings. The lorikeets got a little nibbly when I fed them. Something different try the rhino encounter from 12-1 daily you can choose to get up close and personal with the rhinos for just $15. Brevard Zoo is open daily 9-5 pm. You can do the $16.95 general admission but we suggest considering the zoo adventurer package for $24.95. Brevard Zoo is the only zoo in the country to offer guided kayak tours around the animal exhibits! And they are such a cool experience.
Mom Tip: Bring a swim suit they have a lovely water lagoon for the kids that backs up against the aquarium and is super nice. The kids LOVE it. Our must do at this zoo is the kayaking in Africa. (children must be older than 5 to do this)
- Lion Country Safari- is home of the drive thru safari. The drive thru preserve opens at 9:30am. The rest of the zoo at 10am. General admission for adults is $31.50 and do note there is an additional $7 parking fee here. It takes about an hour to drive thru the animal enclosure dpending on how long you want to stop and watch the animals. It’s pretty neat to just see the animals roaming up close. They can actually walk right up to your car. It’s cool! Sometimes you might get to see them in herds or playing around. You are given a CD to pop in your radio that talks about each animal and more about the park. There is also a walk thru section with plenty for the families to do . Feed the budgie, the lorikeets and the giraffes, try one of the water slides or other fun rides like the ferris wheel.
Mom Tips: Be sure and stop by the camel rides and get a photo of the kids. They’ll love it and it makes for a neat keepsake.
- Zoo Miami– There is always something fun happening at Zoo Miami. Check there events page before you visit to see the latest news or look on facebook. Head over to the children’s zoo area and for just $5.50 you can hop on a camel and ride around. The children’s zoo area is open from 10 -4 where not only can you ride camels but there is a lovely petting and feeding area and lots of fun to be had. If you are here on a hot Miami day which is probably the case the kids can get wet in one of a couple of splash zones around the zoo. Zoo Miami was awarded the TripAdvisor 2015 “Certificate of Excellence” award and a “Hall of Fame” certificate. Way to go Zoo Miami! Zoo Miami is open 10-5 weekdays and until 5:30 on the weekends and general admission is $17.95 for adults.
Mom Tip: Bring $3.50 extra and do the rhino feeding! Very cool and great picture opp.
- Lowry Zoo- Tampa’s Lowry Zoo is open from 9:30 to 5pm daily. General admission for adults is $27.95 . If you are staying in the Tampa area for a few days you might consider the City Pass to save a bit of money and explore some of the other area attractions. My favorite must see at this zoo is the manatee . Discover the world of toads and frogs, giraffe and lorikeet feeding or hang around the walaroo station where you can walk with a wallabie and more. The Lowry Zoo has several kids rides that are included with your zoo admsision including a family coaster. Also Lowry Zoo is CARD friendly. If you have an autistic child they have a special printable map that you can use to plan ahead.
Mom Tip: strollers are not allowed in some of the ride/interactive exhibits. Bring a change of clothes so the kids can get wet in the Billabong Fountain water play area located at Wallaroo Station and check out the Gator Falls flume ride of the alligator exhibit.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The elephants like to cool off on these hot Florida days at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. This zoo has some great animals to see, a train ride, carousel, eco airboat tour , splash park for the kids, petting zoo and more. A great family place and its right here in Jacksonville.
Rhinos @ Brevard Zoo
Brevard Zoo offers rhino encounters, feeding giraffes, treetop adventures and kayaking. If you have to choose just 1 we vote the kayaking around Africa Awesome!
Lion country Safari
The Drive Thru Lion Country Safari is quite the adventure. Animals may get up close and personal with your vehicle which is pretty cool. You will be able to see them roaming around possibly in herds or packs. There is also a walk thru section to the park and water zone.
Feed The Rhinos at Zoo Miami
Must do at Zoo Miami feed the rhinos and go for a camel ride. This zoo is pretty big so wear your walking shoes. Zoo Miami has several splash areas through out the zoo to cool off. A great kids zone. Lots to see and do for the family here.
Tampa’s Lowry Zoo has been voted #1 family zoo by parenting magazine. We vote the manatee a must see exhibit. Check out the Gator falls log ride and bumper boats .