It's a Jungle Out There: Zoo Miami


Giraffe feeding at ZooMiami

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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 exhibitions 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 a habitat that mimics their native lands. You’ll have the opportunity to feed animals, watch a wildlife show and ride through the zoo on a monorail or tram. There’s so much to do and see on an educational and interactive visit to Zoo Miami.

Animals & Attractions

Mission Everglades, one of the zoo’s many attractions, is dedicated to the wildlife and conservation efforts of South Florida’s own precious and unique ecosystem. Visitors will 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 on the Lostman’s River boat ride, crawl through a viewing tunnel at the crocodile habitat, slide through the river otter exhibit and play at the Cypress Landing Playground.

Spanning 27 acres, the Amazon & Beyond exhibit takes you on a journey through Central and South America’s three ecological 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 Amazon & Beyond, you’ll also see the trees and plants of the Amazon, like cannonball, peach palm, soursop, yellow cordia and popcorn cassia trees.

The Asian exhibits consist of 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. The Australian exhibits feature kangaroos, emus, koalas and singing dogs, while the Africa exhibits are home to giraffes, zebras, ostriches, elephants and much more.

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 with zoologist Ron Magill. The Children’s Zoo presents educational shows called Animal Tales, with topics ranging from Florida wildlife to domestic animals. At the Children’s Zoo, you’ll also find the Wacky Barn petting zoo, with goats and sheep, a meerkat exhibit, camel feeding and a carousel.

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 Asian 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

A winding walkway links all of Zoo Miami’s exhibits and attractions, which you can explore on foot or by renting a Safari Cycle, which can accommodate up to six adults and two small children. You can also opt for the Safari Tram Tour, which covers the Asia and Africa exhibits with a narrated tour. An elevated monorail circumnavigates the zoo for a bird’s-eye view of the animals and the lush forest canopies with four stops along the way, making it 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 and 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. And you can only experience it at Zoo Miami.

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