Zoo in Boca Del Mar

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For 17 years, Flamingo Gardens has gathered plant experts, landscapers, and other gardening connoisseurs to its annual festival. This year, the Broward Bonsai Society joins in the fun with an exhibition of the varied shapes and levels of perfection its miniature trees can hold. Displays from Alexander Farms, Greenhouse Orchids, and other vendors entice the eyes while guests wander about, taking in colorful performances from butterfly stilt-walkers and West African drummers. At the Butterfly Encounter, guests learn lepidopterist lore from expert Mike Rich while feeding live butterflies and teaching them about the updated food pyramid.

Wee ones, meanwhile, can head to the Kids Gardening Zone to decorate their own pots and plant a seed or romp through the gardens on a scavenger hunt. Plant experts also hold classes and demonstrations, including "Mounting Orchids & Basic Orchid Culture," and take guests on guided tours through the botanical gardens.

3750 S Flamingo Rd
Davie,
FL
US

Lion Country Safari is a zoo with no cages. Instead, many of the 900 animals, including the largest zebra herd outside of Africa, roam its 320 acres freely. During drive-through safaris, cars tour seven sections of the preserve?which represent different areas such as western Zimbabwe and the Serengeti?to see llamas, asiatic water buffalo, chimpanzees, and white rhinoceros. Lions have a section all to themselves so that they don't prey on other animals or disturb them with giggles from the pride's late-night slumber parties.

In addition to the four-mile drive, Lion Country Safari's Safari World allows guests to explore rides and attractions as they visit with animals on foot. They can feed giraffes, practice animal-massage techniques at the petting zoo, or hop on the carousel next to Lake Shanalee's paddleboat rides. After kids splash through the interactive Safari Splash waterpark, which includes two brand-new water slides, they can hop onto the ferris wheel or ask exotic birds for advice on how to fly.

2003 Lion Country Safari Rd.
Loxahatchee,
FL
US

Located in the heart of the city, Watson Island sometimes feels like a tropical paradise?complete with a leopard lurking in the undergrowth. Luckily, this jungle cat is safely within the confines of Jungle Island, which has inhabited the isle for more than a decade. And yet the story of this themed park, which houses everything from exotic birds and primates to rare plants and trees, began more than 75 years ago.

The Background

Jungle Island got its start in 1936 as Parrot Jungle, a small South Miami roadside attraction where the exotic birds could soar uncaged. In the following decades, the aviary hosted a wide array of noteworthy occupants, including Pinky?a high-wire bicycle-riding cockatoo?and several pink flamingos that appeared in the opening credits of Miami Vice. When Jungle Island's current owners purchased the company in 1988, they introduced new mammals and reptiles. After Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, they made plans to relocate. They settled on Watson Island, and in 2003, finished construction of the animal habitats and 18 acres of tropical gardens, renaming it Jungle Island.

Jungle Island is currently home to rare white tigers and a white lion, one of the only tame cassowaries in the world, and a pair of orangutan twins, a rare occurrence. Animal shows and presentations allow visitors to experience Jungle Island's residents in many ways, and a VIP safari tour is available for the extremely curious. The latest addition to Jungle Island is animal-free: a floating aqua park with trampolines, slides, and an inflatable "iceberg" for climbing.

1111 Parrot Jungle Trl.
Miami,
FL
US

Imagine standing eye level with a giraffe, holding out your arm for parrots to land on, or touching the head of an endangered rhino. At Zoo Miami, these experiences happen every day, fulfilling the institution's mission of encouraging the conservation of wildlife. More than 2,000 animals?from chimps to tigers to koalas?populate the African exhibit, Asian exhibit, and Australian exhibit. Many of the individual exhibitions don't use cages, but are instead bound by moats throughout more than three miles of walking trails. This setup allows guests to get closer to animals as they romp in their habitats. More than 1,200 plant species populate these habitats, which are re-creations of the animals' native environments.

Guests can use free WiFi to download a free mobile app for iPhones and Androids. The app then delivers functions such as location beacons so that family members keep track of one another, show times, and GPS-enabled maps that show the nearest dining venue or restroom. Transportation options within the zoo range from an air-conditioned monorail to tram tours, which provide insights such as which animals have recently had babies, what they named the babies, and each baby's first word. Developed specifically for kids, a children's zoo offers camel rides and a playground.

12400 SW 152nd St
Miami,
FL
US

To properly care for these baby birds, SNC's professional staff and volunteers feed them, supply a heat source, and give medication when needed, along with keeping the bird enclosures clean. When the birds are ready, they're moved to larger cages, and finally move to the flight aviary where they strengthen their wings. The SNC relies on donations to help it accommodate the extra charges it receives during breeding season, including the costs of purchasing specialized food and other necessary resources to care for the birds.

3000 Sportsplex Dr
Coral Springs,
FL
US

Resplendent with creatively displayed, informative exhibits and beaming with an array of interactive events, Sandoway House Nature Center delights visitors eager to engage with wildlife and local ecosystems. Meander through the popular shark exhibit, taking thrilling ganders at now-harmless jaws from more than 80 different species, including a replica of the world-record-holding great white jaw and pictures of it earning its other world record in hot-dog eating. The Florida reptile room showcases a plethora of native slitherers along with a variety of invasive species, and daily shark feedings display the predator's ravenous ferocity. Groupon guests spend their $5 credit at the gift store, and members take advantage of a blanket discount of 15% off goods, stocking up on crack-your-own geodes ($3.50), or grabbing handfuls of mixed fossil shark teeth to create edgy jewelry or exciting dentures ($2/bag). Members also receive free admission to the center for one year, as well as a newsletter and invitations to special events.

142 S Ocean Blvd
Delray Beach,
FL
US