It's a Jungle Out There: Zoo Miami

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Spanning 750 acres in South Dade with more than 3,000 animals on view, Zoo Miami is a wildly fun attraction for the whole family. Open-air exhibits are dedicated to animal habitats from around the world, including Florida’s Everglades, the Amazon, Africa, Australia and Asia.

Watch amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles roam freely in habitats that mimic their native lands. You’ll have the opportunity to feed them, watch a wildlife show and ride through the zoo on a monorail or tram.

There’s so much to see and do on an educational and interactive visit to Zoo Miami!

Zoo Animals & Attractions

Mission Everglades, one of Zoo Miami’s many attractions, is dedicated to the wildlife and conservation efforts of South Florida’s own precious and unique ecosystem. You’ll encounter 60 species native to the Everglades, including alligators, crocodiles, Florida panthers, black bears, gopher tortoises, bald eagles and roseate spoonbill birds. Take a journey by boat on the Lostman’s River Ride, crawl through a viewing tunnel at the crocodile habitat, slide through the river otter exhibit and play at Cypress Landing Playground.

Spanning 27 acres, the Amazon & Beyond exhibit takes you on a journey through Central and South America’s three ecological forest regions.

The Cloud Forest is high-elevation terrain shrouded in mist and filled with howler monkeys, snakes and jaguars. The Amazon Forests around the Amazon River Basin are also known as Flooded Forests, and they represent the world’s largest rainforest. Here, you’ll see anacondas, harpy eagles and Orinoco crocodiles. Finally, the Atlantic Forest is composed of Mata Atlantica, a tropical Atlantic coastal forest, and Pantanal, the largest freshwater wetlands in the world. Look for animals like the giant anteater and giant river otter.

Throughout the exhibit, you’ll also see the trees and plants of the Amazon, like cannonball, peach palm, soursop, yellow cordia and popcorn cassia trees.

Asia exhibits include Asian River Life and Wings of Asia, where you’ll see everything from otters, monitor lizards and clouded leopards to an aviary filled with more than 300 rare and endangered Asian birds, including colorful pheasants and hornbills. Australia exhibits feature kangaroos, emus, koalas and singing dogs, while the Africa exhibits are home to giraffes, zebras, ostriches, elephants and much more.

Zoo Shows & Activities

In addition to the thousands of animals on view throughout Zoo Miami, there’s also a wildlife show at the 800-seat Sami Family Amphitheater, where you’ll see everything from parrots to cheetahs. The Children’s Zoo presents educational shows called Animal Tales, with topics ranging from Florida wildlife to domestic animals. You’ll also find the Wacky Barn petting zoo with goats and sheep, a meerkat exhibit, camel feeding and a carousel.

You can even get up close and personal with a handful of animal species at the zoo. In addition to feeding camels at the Children’s Zoo, you can also feed giraffes in the Africa exhibit, parrots in the Australia exhibit and rhinos in the Asia exhibit.

Dr. Wilde’s World of Discovery museum is located near Zoo Miami’s entrance and features traveling exhibits that provide interactive learning through a wide variety of artifacts and one-of-a-kind specimens.

Getting Around the Zoo

A winding walkway links all Zoo Miami exhibits and attractions, which you can explore on foot or by renting a Safari Cycle carrying up to six adults and two small children. You can also opt for the narrated Safari Tram Tour through the Asia and Africa exhibits, or an elevated monorail that circles the zoo. Offering a bird’s-eye view of the animals and lush forest canopies with four stops along the way, it’s a quick, comfortable and fun way to get from one part of the zoo to the next.

The Amazon & Beyond exhibit features a lake, where you can rent pedal boats shaped like ducks and swans. There are also three restaurants located throughout the zoo, so you can refuel to easily make a full day of it.

From Florida’s Everglades to the Amazon’s rainforests, you’ll traverse the planet’s ecosystems while learning about the animal kingdom in an exciting, interactive day of exploration at Zoo Miami!

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