By: Ashley Vaccarino
Take a walk on the wild side in Miami.
Miami offers plenty of incredible wildlife attractions guaranteed to entertain the whole family and bring out the animal in you.
Alligators & Airboats
Near the main entrance of Everglades National Park, you’ll find Everglades Alligator Farm, home to a 14-foot alligator named “Grandpa” and upwards of 2,000 of his alligator friends. Aside from seeing more alligators than you can count, visitors can glide through the Everglades on guided airboat tours, watch hourly snake & wildlife shows, and view alligator feedings. Plus, there are plenty of fantastic vacation photo opportunities with baby alligators and snakes.
If you’re looking for a private airboat tour, then Everglades Safari Park is for you. Alligators, turtles, deer, wild hogs, raccoons, and crocodiles can often be found at this Miami wildlife attraction. At Everglades Safari Park, you can travel the Jungle Trail, watch the alligator show, and take in the Everglades in all its glory from the observation platform.
Monkeys & Orangutans
In South Miami-Dade, you’ll find Monkey Jungle where 30 species of primates, including gibbons, guenons, and spider monkeys live freely on a 30 acre reserve. Spending a day in this jungle, “Where Humans Are Caged & Monkeys Run Wild,” guarantees great ape sightings, wild monkey swimming presentations, orangutan training sessions and constant entertainment by crab-eating java monkeys diving for their meals. Monkey Jungle also offers Rainforest Adventure Tours in the only semi-natural rainforest in North America.
The Miami Seaquarium, located on Biscayne Bay, is the longest operating oceanarium in the United States. Meet South Florida marine-life stars Salty the sea lion, Lolita the killer whale, Flipper the dolphin and Calypso the baby dolphin during their eight animal shows daily. The Miami Seaquarium is also home to sea turtles, manatees, stingrays, tropical birds and other wildlife. The tropical fish aquariums, the shark channel, Salty’s Pirate Playground, and Sharky’s Sky Trail are not to be missed.
Become one with marine animals through personal interaction programs at Dolphin Harbor at Miami Seaquarium. Give training signals, shake hands, and kiss a friendly dolphins during the Dolphin Encounter. Jump in for the Dolphin Odyssey where you will also feed, swim with the dolphin, and get a dorsal pull ride. Immerse yourself in the Reef Encounter, an underwater walking journey through the 300,000-gallon tropical reef filled with sea turtles, sting rays, tropical fish, and other sea creatures. The Seal Swim attraction allows you to train, swim with, hug, and kiss your adorable new seal friend. Prefer variety? Go for the VIP Tour where a guide will introduce you to an iguana, macaw, manatee, stingray, sea turtles, and even a sea lion or dolphin.
At Zoo Miami, visit 2,000 mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles along three miles of walkway. Exciting featured animals include tigers, elephants, zebras, bears, lions, gorillas and chimpanzees. Feed flamingos, pelicans, giraffes, and rhinos. Catch the Cheetah Training Session and the Meet the Zookeeper talks. For your own little “animals,” hit the Wacky Barn, Wildlife Carousel, Humpy’s Camel Rides, playgrounds, and water-play areas. To tackle it all in one day, rent a Safari Cycle and bike through or hop on the Safari Tram Tour or Monorail.
Step ten feet into Jungle Island and the fun begins when your picture is taken with a parrot on your shoulder (or head) or with a baby alligator in your arms. Located between Downtown Miami and South Beach, this wildlife attraction allows you to get within feet of orangutans, reptiles, kangaroos, giant tortoises, penguins, tigers, black panthers, lynx, leopards, and cougars. With the kids, catch three wildly entertaining shows daily, run on the playground, and meet animals in the Petting Barn.
Insider Tip: Purchase the GoMiamiCard, the all-inclusive multi-attraction pass for Miami. Save up to 55 percent on combined admission prices for 33 of Miami’s best attractions for one, two, three, or five days over a two-week period.
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