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, they can zoom down two brand-new water slides, hop onto the ferris wheel, or ask exotic birds for advice on how to fly.
Only at Brevard Zoo can you take a kayaking safari through the wilderness or experience the magic of feeding gentle giraffe or coming in contact with a colossal rhino. Enjoy Florida's weather in the comfort of our shaded boardwalk, surrounded by wildlife, or splash into our play lagoon!
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.
At the birthday party, children and adults alike sit rapt as the handlers produce a menagerie of small lizards, snakes, and amphibians. As they remark on the creatures' physical features and behavioral traits, these handlers might ask the birthday boy or girl to hold a turtle, or welcome members of the audience up front to pet a scaly head. Though it's often difficult to hold the attention of young and old at once, the staff of Claws Paws & Jaws strike just the right balance with their interactive animal experiences.
Building on the company's 25-year history and their own love for animals, staffers frequently travel to a range of events—from private parties to festivals and corporate promotions—to educate others about their scaly and slimy companions. At the indoor Rainforest Zoofari, they perform public reptile feedings and demonstrations, as well as face-to-face encounters and showcases of the season's hottest pith helmets. And yet, for all of these applause-grabbing shows, some of Claws Paws & Jaws's most important programs unfold behind the scenes. Staffers work tirelessly to rescue abandoned animals, and perform services ranging from assisted feeding and injury care to the sale of pet supplies and frozen or live feeders.
• 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).
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30 Minutes or Less
Pro Tip: Be ready to enjoy the outdoors, tons of fun. Pony rides, Petting Zoo, Bounce House Farmers Mkt + BBQ
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Petting Zoo & Pony Rides
Recommended Age Group: Kids
Heather grew up in the relatively tight confines of New York. She and her family never had any pets, and she has, in some ways, chosen to compensate for that fact by starting her business. She owns and operates Pet-N-Parties, a mobile petting zoo that brings pigs, sheep, rabbits, and ponies to liven up events. She lives on a farm with more than 40 animals, and she says each one has a different personality. One of her favorite parts of her job is overhearing her staff explain the personality of each animal to eager crowds of kids who are looking forward to petting a pig, riding a pony, or discussing the nature of existence with a rabbit.
Heather also invites people over to meet all of the animals at once. She happily hosts events and parties at her five-and-a-half-acre ranch in Jupiter, where entire families can experience feeding, petting, and riding farm animals together.