The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, branded and commonly known as Zoo Miami, and formerly known as Miami MetroZoo, is the largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida, and the only tropical zoo in the United States.
The zoo houses over 3,000 animals on nearly 750 acres, 324 acres of which are developed. It is about 3 mile around if walked or biked on the path, and features over 100 exhibits. There are four main exhibit sections in the zoo: Asia, Africa, Amazon and Beyond, and Australia.
Our favorite animals are the elephants, giraffes and rhinoceros.
When we went as a family we rented the bikes. It was so nice to have a faster way around the zoo. You can almost feel a breeze. BThe monorail is also a nice way to get around the zoo and get some AC but it is really about getting from point A to B and not seeing the animals.
They have a number of cooling stations around the zoo. We took advantage of a lot of them. They have a zoo app. I downloaded it but did not get a lot of value out of it. If you are green and don’t want a paper map it does have a good digital map.
The carousel is in the children’s area and is fun with lots of animals to pick from. They charge $2.50/ride (parent’s can ride free).
Giraffe and Parrot Feedings – these experiences allow you to have an up close encounter with the animals. We have done giarffe Feedings at Lion Country Safari before so we knew it would be a hit. The parrot feeding was surprisingly fun. We almost skipped it because they only allow 12 people in an they get 10 minutes so the wait was long, but the birds were beautiful and the interactions were a blast.
I recommend bringing the following items: camera, binoculars (if your kids are old enough to use them), comfortable shoes, swimsuit, towel and change of clothes (for the splash area), sunscreen, water shoes, hats, sunglasses, stroller (even if it is just to carry your bags, if you are going to use the bikes bring a smaller stroller that can go on top of the stroller or leave it in the car). Lunch and snacks – there are lots of benches infront of animal exhibits and a huge outdoor area with picnic tables with “fast food” food for purchase. The sign says no food or drink. We brought a soft sided cooler and did not have any issue. We had the ice cream and it was perfect on a hot summer day.
The history of the zoo can be traced back to 1948, when 3 monkeys, a goat and 2 black bears were purchased for $270 from a small road show stranded near Miami. These 6 animals were the beginning of the Crandon Park Zoo on the island of Key Biscayne, just southeast off the coast from downtown Miami. The Crandon Park Zoo occupied 48 acres of the park. The first animals in the zoo, including some lions, an elephant and a rhinoceros, had been stranded when a circus went out of business in Miami. Some Galapagos tortoises, monkeys and pheasants were added from the Matheson plantation.By 1967, the Crandon Park Zoo had grown to over 1,200 animals, and was considered one of the top 25 zoos in the country. Other animals were added, including a white Bengal tiger in 1968.
Learn more on their website
Do you have a favorite zoo?