Lion Country Safari is a zoo with no cages. Instead, more than 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, they can hop onto the ferris wheel or ask exotic birds for advice on how to fly.
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.
Jazz at the Zoo was founded in 2012 by Coconut Palm Events to support Wheels for Kids, a nonprofit that provides custom wheelchairs to children and young adults in need. During the annual charity event, patrons are invited to the Palm Beach Zoo for a night of live jazz, silent auctions, and exotic-animal sightings. The event will help fund one custom wheelchair for two children in need, and a portion of each ticket sale sends one child and caregiver to the Palm Beach Zoo.
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.
• For $20, you get a Kemp's Ridley–level membership, which includes a Turtle Walk discount for one, free or reduced admission to 250 Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) organizations, and a subscription to the "Marinelife Review" newsletter (a $40 value). • For $35, you get a Hawksbill-level membership, which includes discounts on a Turtle Walk for two and LMC's programs, summer camps, and birthday parties; free or reduced admission to 250 ASTC organizations; and a subscription to the "Marinelife Review" newsletter (a $70 value).
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.
Laced with the scent of sulfur and the sounds of water churned by unseen forces, the thick air that hangs above the Everglades whispers the rhythms of gator country. The murky water—obscured further by curtains of cattails and floating lily pads—defies human incursion, its protective spells demystified only by the airboat captains of Sawgrass Recreation Park, who gamely shuttle laypersons through the swamp in tours by day and night. While gliding across the shallows at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, guides halt the propellers of their enormous fans to point out wildlife—which include alligators and various waterfowl—and impart nuggets of history from the days when the Seminole and panther once shared their claim over the terrain. As a part of a conservationist group's effort to educate the public about ongoing rescue efforts in the Everglades, the exotic-wildlife exhibit brings guests face to face with the swamp's most majestic rarities, including black leopards and Florida panthers. In the park's reptile exhibit, dozens of scaly creatures count among them a 1,000-pound alligator named Cannibal, and guests can cradle prehistoric cuties in the Hold a Baby Alligator experience. The swamp-yard-animals exhibit encourages guests to meet or catch a glimpse of pigs, bunnies, and ducks, letting guests establish a deeper bond with the denizens of the swamp.