This past weekend my Brother and his family came to visit from Tallahassee. We decided to head the Zoo. We have the Central Florida Zoo about 5 miles from our house. This zoo has gone through some transformations over the years. I remember going to the zoo when I was a child and loving it. My favorite exhibit was the otters. It used to be this big open water pool in the center and you look down and can just watch the otters swimming around. Now the otters are in a much smaller exhibit along the board walk. They’re still cute and fun but just not as fun to watch as I remember. He was quick and these were the best pictures of him I could get.
The Zoo wasn’t too thriving for a while about 10 years ago, but they have redone a lot of it and it’s pretty thriving now. The have new boardwalks all over. There’s a splash pad for the kids to play in during the summer and zip line and obstacle courses on the grounds as well. They also have cute train you can ride on as well.
When we got to the ticket booth I was a little surprised that it was about $19.50 for adult admission. Children under 2 are free, and children 3-12 are $13.50. I guess you’re counted as an adult if you’re over 12? I haven’t been to a Zoo in a while and just wasn’t expecting the admission to be that high. There are a few discounts you might be able to take advantage of for fist responders, military, and AAA members. They do have annual pass memberships that start at $99 for a family pass. Based on single admission rates, I’d say that’s worth it.
Once you purchase your tickets you make your way down a long path that takes you past the adventure section of the property. This section is where they have their zip line courses, obstacle courses, and some ground level activities. These activities are not included in your admission to the zoo. They are separate, and you can come and just do these courses. All along this path they have these neat boards that show one animal as you come and a different one as you go. As you walk you pass a building on you’re right that houses an insect display. They also host birthday parties and once a month they have activates for the community. My husband and I came once and made bat boxes for our yard at our previous house.
Once inside the first area you come too is the splash pad. It’s quite a nice area with covered seating. It was a little chilly on the day we went, but in the summer, I’m sure this area is filled with kids escaping the extreme heat we have here in Florida. I feel that it might be a little less crowded then other public splash pads since it’s inside and you either must have an annual pass or pay for daily admission.
The website says there’s over 400 animals in the zoo. It didn’t feel like there were that many walking around but when you consider some displays have multiple animals in the display I can see how there are that many. We saw lots of cute monkeys, birds, alligators, even a sloth.
Their newest display includes black bears. Now, at our last house we were sort of in the woods. We would occasionally be surprised by bears wandering through our yard. There was even a close encounter between our pups and some baby bears. So we’ve seen plenty of bears safely through the windows of our home. That didn’t make this exhibit less exciting though. It was nice to be able to watch the bears up close through the safety of the fence. The two bears that were out when we stopped by looked to be young cubs and were siblings. They were very playful wrestling and swimming.
One part that has not changed since I was a kid going to the zoo is the Herpetarium building. It is exactly as I remember it. It’s indoors and on a hot day it’s nice to be able to get out of the heat. It’s a dark building and full of different reptiles and amphibians from all over the world. One of the most interesting things I found in there was the huge bullfrog. I didn’t realize they were that big.
Most of the paths around the zoo are nice boardwalks and there are nice signs that tell you exactly what is in each direction. It really is nice to walk around and look at the animals. They keep it very clean and it didn’t smell like you would expect the zoo to smell.
There’s a huge area for the rhinos to roam and swim. A little farther down the path you’ll find the giraffe exhibit. You can normally feed the giraffes and we had planned to do that with my niece, but the keepers said they were not cooperating that day. There were three giraffes, one was in the back corner keeping a close eye on his keepers who were cleaning and maintaining his house. One was snoozing in another corner and the third was feeding himself on a palm tree. They were still beautiful to look at.
Right in the middle of the zoo is an activity area with a playground for the kids, a butterfly bench for pictures and life size checkers board. We took a little break for the guys to play a game of checkers, but with my niece interested in all the checker pieces it proved challenging.
Our last stop was a quick walk around the Barnyard Buddies Children’s Zoo area. You can pet and feed about a dozen animals in this area. My favorite as always is the goats! For a fee they give you a tray of oats and carrots to share with the animals.
Overall it was a great afternoon at the Zoo. If you’re looking for an activity to keep the kids busy and engaged for the day I recommend you check out the Central Florida Zoo. There’s lots of activities and shows about the animals to keep them busy. They’ll love it!
If you want a different type of experience viewing animals check out our visit to the Wildlife Ranch we visited in San Antonio!
Do you guys love going to the Zoo? Any must see Zoos near you I should check out? Let me know!