Looking for the best zoos in Florida? Then you will enjoy this list of the top zoos, aquariums, and wildlife centers that the Sunshine State has to offer.
You don’t have to drive far to view endangered species, go on an African Safari, get an upclose look at exotic animals, or view wildlife in their natural habitats. All you need to do is hop in your car and visit one of these amazing Florida zoos.
Zoos are a great way to spend the day with the entire family. They have everything from wild animals, local wildlife, African animals, popular exhibits, and unique experiences that everyone will enjoy.
The Best Zoo in Florida
Opened in 1994, this zoo focuses on animal conservation through education. Visitors can walk the entire zoo or hop on a train that takes you throughout the zoo. Animals are spread out and located at Paws on Play, Wild Florida, Caribbean Trail, Expedition Africa, La Selva, and Lands of Change: Australia and Beyond.
f you are looking for a unique experience, then rent a kayak to see the park from a different perspective.
Other unique features include the feeding of birds and giraffes. Or get up close and personal with the animals when going on the Rhino Encounter, Lemur Rendezvous, or Wild Encounter Tour. Those looking for more thrill can go on the Treetop Trek Aerial Adventures.
Busch Gardens Tampa
This is one of the largest zoos in North America with more than 12,000 animals located in the park. This is more than a zoo and offers everything from exotic birds, animal encounters, world-class shows, and rollercoasters for the thrill-seekers.
Guests can visit the Serengeti Plain to see animals roam the 65-acre natural habitat. The 30-minute Serengeti Safari tour will take guests on an open-air touring vehicle where guests have the opportunity to hand-feed giraffes and observe exotic animals.
The park also other tours such as the Penguin Insider Tour, Elephant Insider Tour, and Keeper for a Day tour. This is the park for the whole family that everyone will enjoy.
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Opened in 1923 and has more than 400 different animals with more than 200 unique species.
For hands-on exhibits, guests can list the Barnyard Buddies Children’s Zoo that features farm animals and can take part in feedings. The park also offers a miniature train, animal carousel, Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground, and Aerial Adventure Course.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
It’s a part theme park, part zoo. Throughout Animal Kingdom, guests will see a range of animals such as African elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, gorillas, and more.
Attend Animal Encounters: Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight or a show related to your favorite characters like Lion King and Finding Nemo.
The popular attraction, Kilimanjaro Safari is a must-do. The 18-minute expedition takes guests on an open-air vehicle for a guided tour of an African savanna. For a unique experience, you can book the Go Wilder at Night tour to take the safari after the sunsets.
All alligators fans need to visit! This is the alligator capital of the world and features alligators and crocodiles of all sizes. Other animals at the parking include birds, crocodiles, naked, tortoises, and wild cats.
The park features a petting zoo, free-flight aviary, and animal shows. The thrill-seekers can go on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, accessible Gator Gauntlet or enjoy the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure. Adventure Hour lets you safely get within a few feet of the giant alligators, complete with the ability to pose for photos
Gulf Breeze Zoo
Located 15 minutes from Pensacola, this is a 50-acre zoo with animals from all over the world. Has over 850 animals and more than 137 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles.
Guests can take a ride on the Safari Line Train, which takes you past hippos, gorillas, and antelope roaming free on the 30-acre preserve while you relax on a classic CP Huntington style locomotive. Or take a walk along the elevated boardwalk for a bird’s eye view of the roaming herds of deer, zebra, and rhinos.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Opened in 2004, the zoo has more than 2,000 exotic animals and more than 1,000 types of plants and gift shops.
The animal exhibits are divided into Wild Florida, River Valley Aviary, Range of the Jaguar, Monsoon Asia, Plains of East Africa, Australian Adventure, Giraffe Overlook, Land of the Tiger, Save the Frogs!: Amphibian Conservation Center, African Forest, and Stingray Bay.
The zoo also offers educational programs, Adventures After Dark, scavenger hunts, guided tours, and more.
Lion Country Safari
The only drive-through safari park in Florida and features more than 1,000 animals and a petting zoo. Take a Safari Queen boat ride to learn about spider monkeys and siamangs or use the paddleboats to navigate by yourself.
The park also offers a water spray ground, five amusement park rides. As well as Safari Plunge water slide and Safari Splash with 23 different interactive water functions. If you aren’t looking to get wet, then enjoy the miniature golf, carousel, train, or maze.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Walk on the mile-long path that winds its way through the animals and tropical plants. The park offers daily shows and Keeper Talks. The zoo also has special events such as the Zoo Gala, ZOObilee, and other festivals.
Palm Beach Zoo
You can purchase a cup of nectar to feed the birds in the Lorikeet Loft experience. They also offer other experiences for sloths, capybaras, anteaters, koalas, and flamingos. Take a break from the animals and take a ride on the safari train or wildlife carousel.
The zoo has 11 daily shows, talks, and animal feedings. The Play Fountain and Nature Play Pavilion is a great place to let the kids play and cool down on hot days.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens
This 10-acre tropical oasis is family-owned and features interactive animal shows and more than 200 animals.
Guest can hand-feed flamingos, hold an alligator, and still along the winding jungle trails that wrap along with the tropical landscaping and gardens
The Zoo Northwest Florida
Also known as the Gulf Breeze Zoo, this park offers traditional zoo experiences as well as petting and feeding for llamas, sheep, pigs, goats, and more.
Take the 15-minute long Safari Line Limited Train Ride that offers a narration of the 30-acre preserve where you will spot zebras, antelope, deer, rhinos, and more roaming-free. After that, head to the elevated boardwalk to see the animals from above.
Zoo Miami is the biggest zoo in Florida and is also known as Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens. It’s also the only sub-tropical zoo within the United States. Located on 750 acres, over 500 animal species, 1,000 plant species, and 100 special exhibits.
The zoo offers a special tour like a VIP tour or Behind-the-Scenes tour. Or enjoy Expedition: Wildlife, which is an in-depth five-hour tour.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
This zoo boasts more than one million visitors per year and has more than 1,300 animals. Guests can get up close and personal with some of these animals via backstage experiences or encounters or activities like an Indian rhino feeding.
Other activities include the Roaring Springs, a family water adventure, Expedition Africa, the Jungle Carousel, Boomer’s Flyin’ Bananas, and other rides.