Just across the street from one of Tampa's biggest malls is Big Cat Rescue, the world's largest non-profit accredited rescue facility for big cats. These exotic cats have found a safe and beautiful sanctuary at Big Cat Rescue which is tucked away on 45 acres across the street from Citrus Park's Westfield Town Center. It is home to over 100 tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, bobcats, lynx, ocelots, servals, caracals and more. Sixteen of the 35 species of wild cats, many of which are endangered or extinct in the wild, live at the sanctuary. Some of these cats have been abandoned and some have been abused. Others are retired from circus acts and others have been saved from being slaughtered for their fur.
Big Cat Rescue is open to the public Monday through Saturday for guided tours conducted by educated and friendly volunteers, all of whom work tirelessly on behalf of the cats. You'll get to see the cats up close! Adult Day Tours for ages 10 and older are offered Monday through Friday at 9am or 3pm, and on Saturdays at 9:30, 11:30 and 1:30, and last about an hour and a half. A Family Tour is offered on Saturdays at 9am, and is the only tour permitted for children under age 10 along with their family. It is about an hour long, and is geared towards children's interest. These tours do not require advance reservations, but do plan to arrive about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled tour.
Check out the website at BigCatRescue.org
Lion Country Safari
2003 Lion Country Safari Road
Loxahatchee, FL 33470
Lion Country Safari, Florida opened in 1967, in rural Western Palm Beach County. At the time it was the first drive-through safari park in the country and introduced a new concept to animal lovers, "The Cageless Zoo." The opening generated enormous interest on the part of residents, visitors to South Florida, and the media. The park developed into a popular and successful attraction.
Today, Lion Country Safari is home to over 900 animals in the drive-through preserve and in the Safari World exhibit area. Among the more notable species on display at the park are lions, white rhino, chimpanzees, zebra, and giraffe.
In its 40th year of operation, Lion Country Safari-Florida is one of South Florida's leading attractions and Palm Beach County's largest tourist attraction. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Lion Country Safari every year to experience the thrill of eye-ball-to-eye-ball viewing of magnificent animals in a natural open environment.
6000 Discovery Cove Way
Orlando, FL 32821
Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive adventure in which guests enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, rays, and tropical fish and hand-feed exotic birds..
At Discovery Cove, guests experience the most exciting animal encounters the world has to offer landscaping, coral reefs, tropical rivers, a resort-style pool complete with waterfalls, and pristine white-sand beaches.
Reservations are required, and daily attendance is limited to approximately 1,000 guests, ensuring no overcrowding. Guests are greeted at a luxurious reception center and proceed down a nature walk for their day of discovery. A guest-to-staff ratio of 2-to-1 guarantees truly extraordinary service.
Nature Park & Zoo
26205 State Road 50
Christmas, FL 32709
Jungle Adventures Nature Park & Zoo is the natural habitat jungle home of our famous 200 foot long roadside wonder, Swampy, the World's Largest Alligator. Come and experience Live Guided Wildlife Encounters with Rare Florida Panthers, Black Bears, Gray Wolves, White-Tailed Deer, Tropical Birds, Reptiles and Mammals. Take a Jungle Swamp Cruise and be surrounded by more than Gator Feeding. See how Spanish Conquistadores lived in the 16th Century at our Replica Spanish Fort and go on a Live Guided Exploration of our Native American Indian Village Replica. It's all so close to civilization...yet still a world apart.
14501 South Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32837
Gatorland® is a one-of-a-kind, protected habitat for man and beast where adventures lurk around every corner! .
Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining "Old Florida" charm with exciting, new exhibits and entertainment. The park opened as a roadside attraction in 1949. Today, it provides affordable-priced family fun with thousands of alligators, crocodiles, an aviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, nature walk, educational wildlife programs, award-winning gift shop, Florida's best train-ride, restaurant, Gator Gully Splash Park and one-of-a-kind reptilian shows including the Gator Wrestlin' Show, Gator Jumparoo and the Up-close Encounters Show. And, don't miss the world's largest collection of giant white alligators in the new White Gator Swamp.
Jungle Island - Parrots
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, FL 33132
Jungle Island first opened it's doors as Parrot Jungle in 1936 as a roadsideside attraction allowing guests to interact with parrots and watch them perform tricks. Blossuming into Jungle Island some forty yaers later, it is an 18 acre multi-faceted entertainment destination. It features some the world's most extraordinary animals enviroments that can not be found else where.The lush tropical jungle that was created four short years ago is eco-friendly and is one of few enviroments created without harmful pesticides.
Just moments from downtown Miami and the famous South Beach, Jungle Island offers educational shows, interactive safaris, a petting zoo and a children's playground.
The animal life abounds as you visit a 900 pound tiger, orangutan twins, exotic birds and reptiles. Make sure that you don't miss "Hank", the 2000 pound, twenty foot long crocodile (the largest in the Western Hemisphere). Jungle Island connects you with animals in a way you've never imagined.
Naples Zoo at
1590 Goodlette Road
Naples, FL 34102
A paved path almost a mile in length winds past rare and beautiful animals residing within a historic tropical garden planted in 1919. In this tropical setting, guests delight in seeing many of their favorite animals like lions, antelope, tigers, and monkeys. In addition, they also discover an array of more rarely seen creatures like the endangered Malagasy fosas, Red river hogs, or an Asian deer that barks and eats meat.
Yet Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is much more than a walk-through zoo. The best of the zoo is seen during the full day of entertaining presentations and activities with a solid conservation message. The Safari Canyon open-air theater is host to the zoo's feature presentations. Planet Predator reveals wonders of the carnivorous kingdom while Serpents: Fangs & Fiction takes a look at the world's reptiles including native venomous snakes. Both presentations feature live animals complemented by quick wildlife clips and live camera close-ups on video screens. On board the Primate Expedition Cruise, passengers float on a guided tour through islands of monkeys, lemurs, and apes..
From its pioneering founder to the current stewards, Naples Zoo has a rich history built on a conservation ethic -- acting locally and around the globe. Combining these efforts with great family recreation, today's nonprofit Naples Zoo offers fun for every generation.
Florida Aquarium -
Kids watching a diver in aquarium!
701 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
The Florida Aquarium tell Florida's unique water story as it follows a "drop" of water from its underground source to the open sea.
Nationally ranked as a "Top-5 Kid-Friendly Aquarium" by Parents Magazine, The Florida Aquarium is home to more than 20,000 aquatic plants and marine animals from around the world.
See river otters, alligators, stingrays and sharks! Then, immerse yourself in interactive guest-dive programs like 'Swim with the Fishes' or 'Dive with the Sharks' where coming face to face with a 250-pound Goliath Grouper is common place. Here guests can actually become a part of the exhibit in an up-close and personal experience underwater.
We've brought the Florida wildlife indoors! Learn about all the aquatic animals native to Florida and why protecting their habitats is so important for their future and ours!
And forget the acrylic windows! See African Black-footed penguins in the 'no borders, no barriers' Penguin Promenade daily or sign up for one of our special Behind the Scenes experiences like the Penguins: Backstage Pass or Shark Feeding.
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
1101 West Sligh Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604
Rated the Best Zoo in the US by Parent's Magzine!
Recognized as the #1 zoo in the United States by Parents magazine (2009) and Child magazine (2004), Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo features 2,000 animals on 56 acres of lush, natural habitats comprising seven main exhibit areas: Asian Gardens, Primate World, Manatee and Aquatic Center, Florida Wildlife Center, Free-Flight Aviary, Wallaroo Station children's zoo, and Safari Africa. The Zoo has more to do, including water play areas, rides, educational shows and restaurants.
Safari Africa, an 11-acre exhibit area, features a young African elephant (born at the zoo in October 2005) and herd. Guests can feed a giraffe and ride a dromedary camel. The zoo also offers two family rides in this area -- the narrated "Safari Ride" which offers great views of Africa by open-air tram and the Treetop Skyfari Sky Ride which soars high above the zoo.
Wallaroo Station, a 4.5 acre children's zoo, was designed especially for families with young children. Kids can feed small Australian parrots known as "Budgies," cool off in the "Billabong" water play area, ride a pony, pet the goats, look into the eyes of a kangaroo, romp in the "Woolshed" playground, or take a spin on one of two great children's rides.
The Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center, housing The David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital, offers compelling views of these amazing creatures from both above and below the water. Guests will also have the ability to see into the hospital area where keepers provide critical care for injured, sick and orphaned manatees
Sarasota Jungle Gardens -
3701 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, FL 34234
Sarasota Jungle Gardens is celebrating 70 years of being in business in 2010. We are a privately owned and family operated attraction that has been in the same family for 39 years. All of our animals have been either donated or rescued from adverse conditions. Once an animal comes to Sarasota Jungle Gardens it will have a happy and loving home.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens features 10 acres of lush tropical vegetation, winding jungle trails and entertaining, educational bird and reptile shows throughout the day. The "Kiddie Jungle" features a tree house, haunted tree, tiger swings, slide and a custom wooden train for the children to play on.
Your visit isn't complete without feeding our "free roaming" American Flamingos! We often ask when was the last time you had a flamingo eating out of the palm of your hand?
1010 Miracle Strip Parkway, SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
In Northwest Florida, you will find one of Florida's Original Theme Parks - Florida's Gulfarium. Since 1955 we have entertained millions of gulf coast visitors with amazing antics from Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, penguins, sharks, turtles, harbor seals and so much more. Our interaction programs offer our visitors the ability to get up close and personal with our dolphins and sting rays.
Located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, this 14-acre facility provides free parking, covered walkways, gift shop, snack bar an aviary as well as a 42,000 gallon Living Sea Theater and Special Events room. Learn more at Gulfarium.com 850-243-9046
Flamingo Gardens -
flock of flamingos
3750 S Flamingo Road
Davie, FL 33330
Leave your cares behind in this 60 acre, not-for-profit botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary. Where thousands of rare, exotic and native plants live among Florida's largest collection of Champion Trees. Explore the Wray Botanical Collection and take a narrated tram tour through a 200-year-old oak hammock, wetlands and rain forest. Over 70 species of Florida native birds may be seen in our Free-Flight Aviary and Bird of Prey Center. Visit alligators, river otters, bobcats, panthers and flamingos in the Everglades Nature Center. For a touch of nostalgia, tour the 1930's historic Wray Home.
For a fun and interesting Family outing, visit the
Manatee Observation and Education Center located on the Indian River in downtown,
Fort Pierce. The center has a beautiful observation deck overlooking a saltwater
estuary and Moore's creek, a learning center and gift shop. The Centers purpose
is to increase understanding of the ecosystems of the Treasure Coast. Admission is a $1 and
donations are accepted. Visit during the cooler months when manatees migrate toward
the warmer inland waters. The center can be found at: