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.
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.
Roughly 15 minutes from West Palm Beach lies 20 acres devoted entirely to animals. More than 140 animals make their home at The Good Earth Farm and Foundation. The staff?which includes an animal reiki practitioner and psychic?helps these animals heal and lead happier, healthier lives. The animals and staff educate the public at the children's zoo and through programs such as animal assisted therapy for children. The Good Earth Farm and Foundation can also serve as a venue for weddings and birthday parties.
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.
Laced with 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 Glades Exhibit 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.