I'm pretty lucky to live in a city that has a wide variety of outdoor activities to take advantage of on any given weekend. Growing up, one of my favorite places to visit was Miami Metro Zoo, which coincidentally, I live practically across the street from!
I wanted to share a bit about Zoo Miami, as it is one of the most wonderful ways you can spend a day in Miami!
With over 2000 animals and 1200 plant species in Zoo Miami, I can't think of a more perfect place to spend a day with your children - or on your own. As I've watched our zoo grow and change over the years, I feel like there is always something new to discover. Our Zoo Miami is huge - with 340 developed acres on a 740-acre parcel of land. Isn't that incredible? And...Zoo Miami is the only zoo in the United States located in a subtropical climate...which means that August is not the idea time of year to make your visit!
I'm not the only one that thinks Zoo Miami is awesome...Zoo Miami is rated among the top ten zoos in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure magazine, and rated one of the top ten zoos in the U.S. by Tripadvisor.com!
I want to share some of the things about Zoo Miami that make it so special!
- ZSF’s Zoo Magnet Program at Richmond Heights Middle School is one of only 11 such programs in the country associated with an accredited zoo. My daughter has been in this program for three years and spends three days a week taking classes on Zoo grounds, often working with the zookeepers to learn things about the animals. She loves every minute of it, and it has inspired her to pursue a career as either a Zoologist or a Veterinarian in a zoo!
- Zoo Miami is one of only three zoos in the United States that has giant river otters.
- Zoo Miami’s breeding programs have received awards, ranging from several First Breeding Certificates to the Edward H. Bean Award!
- Zoo Miami was voted # 1 for family fun in Miami by the Best of Citysearch and South Florida Parenting Magazine and rated top attraction by Zagat Survey® for travelers with children!
- Zoo Miami's newest exhibit, Amazon and Beyond, is one of the world’s most comprehensive tropical exhibits with jaguars, anacondas, giant river otters, harpy eagles. It encompasses 27 acres, which is larger than the average American zoo!
A friend of mine has taken some rather spectacular photos of the animals at Zoo Miami and has given me permission to share a few with you. You can see his full portfolio for Ronin Studio Art & Design on his Flickr page. He's an amazing photographer, so be sure to check out his work!
Unlike many zoos, Zoo Miami has a ton of exhibits and extra special programs in place to make your visit more fun and interesting than the usual just walk until you're dead tired zoos that I've visited in other places.
For instance, there is a Children's Zoo at Zoo Miami that is a ton of fun for your children - they can get up close and personal with lots of small creatures, like Stitch, the Maggie, the blue and gold Macaw!
- The Wacky Barn: where your children can pet and brush small barnyard animals
- Toadstool: features close up encounters with smaller ectotherms that live in naturalistic habitats
- Animal Tales: presentations feature local and exotic wildlife, and provide opportunities to touch and learn
- Humpy's Camel Rides: ride a camel for $5!
The newest addition to Zoo Miami is the Amazon & Beyond exhibit, which is comprised of 27-acres and features over 100 species, with a total of over 600 new animals. You can take an amazing journey among giant river otters, jaguars, harpy eagles with talons the size of grizzly bear claws; an anaconda, and many other animals found only in the tropics!
There is also the Wings of Asia Aviary, home to birds of all shape and size, like the Japanese white-eyes, black-browed barbets, sultan tits, Javan cochoas and blue-masked leafbirds. The Field Research Center is located in the Wings of Asia exhibit, which is a fantastic place to take the kids; there are realistic casts of dinosaur fossils and bird skeletons, a film showing the link between dinosaurs and birds, and a puppet station where kids can make up their own stories with bird puppets!
Admission and pricing:
Zoo Miami is open 365 days a year, 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM, and is located right off of the Florida Turnpike, making it easy to get there from anywhere in South Florida. Admission rates are affordable, at $15.95 for ages 13 and up, $11.95 for children 2-12, and free for babies and toddlers under 2.
Seniors and Military (with proper ID) can receive a 25% discount, and AAA members can get a $1 discount off the price of 4 tickets.
Please visit the Zoo Miami website for more detailed exhibit information, to sign up for an emailed entrance discount coupon!