Zoo Miami, formerly Metro Zoo, is a fantastic place for a day out enjoying the animals and the beautiful grounds that are open year-round.
Our favorite activities are riding the safari cycles and feeding the giraffes, and in the warmer months, the kids really enjoy the water slides and splash stations throughout the zoo.
Besides the animals which are naturally the
focal point, there is much to keep the entire family busy... interactive encounters, feedings, tram tours, monorail rides, safari cycles,
pedal boats, water parks, etc... you could easily spend a whole day or get around in half-a-day if you had to.
The grounds of the zoo are quite extensive but easy to navigate. The entire park is laid out around one big loop with animals all along the loop grouped into the different regions or "Continents" and smaller exhibits that branch out from there. It is one easy-to-follow lay out that brings you to all the animals and exhbits without having to backtrack or search around.
One thing we really enjoy is the fact that the animals are cageless and roam around in their grounds with only a big moat-like trench separating you from them. There is quite a safe distance but no glass or cage hindering your view...
From the entrance as you go right, you have the Asian Exhibits which house some of the big animals: beautiful bengal tigers, Indian Rhinocerous, Lions, Dromedary Camels...
The next big area comprises the African Exhibits with animals typical from the sub-continent, African Elephants, Hippos, Black Rhinos, Lowland Gorillas, etc.
There is also the Amazon Jungle with a lot of the rain forest fauna... snakes, bats, big and small critters, the one as colorful as the next...
Throughout the zoo there are signs about the animals and their habitats and you will likely run into the zookeepers and interns that are happy to tell you all about animal behavior and their own experiences with the zoo residents.
Sprinkled around the "Continents" are smaller exhibits, aquariums, aviaries as well as the many interactive areas and encounters. There are Camel rides and Indian Rhino encounters at the Asian area, parrot feeding at the Australian Outback and the Giraffe Feeding station in the African Savanah...
There are small fees for these activities, for the Giraffe feeding we paid something like $5 for the veggies to feed them. They also take pictures for you (for additional fee) but you are free to take as many pictures as you wish with your own camera or device.
And for those hot scorching days, there is plenty of relief and fun!
There are splash areas throughout Zoo Miami and a bigger water park section together with water slide which is quite a hit with the kids. Don't forget towel and sunscreen!
One side of the park that is often overlooked is the amazing variety of flora that abounds and the beautiful landscaped grounds. If you enjoy flowers and vegetation, you will be in your element. Regardless of what time of the year you come, you will find beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees along the paths, orchids, bromeliads, hibiscus... growing wild all around you...
Getting around the entire park involves a lot of walking, as mentioned before, the area is quite extensive. There are several alternatives to make it more pleasant specially if visiting with small children that tire easily.
One option is to rent a Safari cycle which carry anywhere from 2 to 4 adults, and two kids can sit in the front.
This is a really fun way to see the park, stopping along the way at your leisure. Safari cycles are about $27 for a two-hour rental.
see the stand towards the entrance of the park. There is limited number of cycles so it is better to get an early start if you
are planning on doing this, specially on weekends and holidays.
There are also Tram Tours which bring you on the entire loop for about $6 per person. This is a great way to get an overview of the park and where things are located. The tours are "narrated" including highlights about the zoo and the animals.
The Monorail is the other option. You will see the train cars traversing overhead along the loop path. There are four convenient stations and this is more of transportation option than a way to see the animals. You don't see much from up there. It is a great option to have if you walk around the loop and then find out you are too tired to either continue all the way around or back track to the entrance.
These are great options to have specially if you visit during the hot summer months. Walking the entire loop, even though shaded in many parts, is quite challenging.
Entrance to the park is $17.95 plus tax for Adults, Children (3-12) $13.95 plus tax, there is a discount for Seniors of 25% off but you must ask at the ticket counter, when we were there the discount was not posted so ask to avoid paying the regular adult price.
You can get discounts from regular admission in several ways:
Where?: 1 Zoo Boulevard 12400 SW 152 Street, Miami, FL 33177
Directions and more info. Or call (305) 251-0400.
Parking: Plentiful and FREE!
Opening Hours: Week days 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Weekends and Holidays 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For special events or holidays hours may change, please check their website or call ahead.
How Much?: Adult $17.95 plus tax, Children (3-12) $13.95 plus tax, Seniors 25% off
Extras for feedings, camel rides, tram tours about $3-6 per activity
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