$75 for one VIP ticket to the 99.9 KISS Country 4th of July music festival ($450 value)
- Meet and greet with performers Craig Campbell (whose hit single is called “Keep Them Kisses Comin’”) and Casey James (of American Idol)
- All-day admission to Jungle Island
- American buffet with one drink per person
- Souvenir Jungle Island cup
- Chance to win a brand new 2014 Corvette from Miami Lakes AutoMall
- VIP express line entrance
- Front-row view of the city’s fireworks
The KISS Country music festival takes place Friday, July 4, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to the above features, the music festival celebrates the Fourth of July with line-dancing lessons, mechanical-bull rides, and three animal shows. Artists include Craig Campbell, owner of the single “Keep Them Kisses Comin”, Casey James, the third-place finalist on the ninth season of American Idol, and Cirque Zuma Zuma, whose performances have been featured on America’s Got Talent.
Cerulean waters and towering palms make Jungle Island feel like a tropical paradise—complete with a leopard lurking in the undergrowth. Luckily, this jungle cat is safely within the confines of the Jungle Island, which has inhabited the isle for more than a decade. And yet the story of this popular Miami attraction, which houses everything from exotic birds and primates to rare plants and trees, began more than 75 years ago.
In 1936, Franz Scherr established an aviary where the exotic birds could soar uncaged, giving his South Miami park the apt name of Parrot Jungle. In the following decades, the aviary hosted some noteworthy occupants, such as Pinky—a high-wire bicycle-riding cockatoo—and several pink flamingos that appeared in the opening credits of Miami Vice. When the zoo's current owners purchased the company in 1988, they introduced new mammals and reptiles—but when Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, they were forced to relocate. They settled on Watson Island, and in 2003, finished construction of the animal habitats and 18 acres of tropical gardens, renaming the park Jungle Island.
Hundreds of animals and plants from around the world call Jungle Island home. Naturalistic habitats contain mammals such as orangutans and a liger; reptiles such as American alligators and pythons; and birds such as African penguins and emus. The gardens house rare plants including cycads and African sausage trees. More than 1.35 miles of covered walking trails wind among the exhibits.
Many of these animals feature in daily demonstrations. In Winged Wonders, handlers showcase the antics of colorful parrots, the flight of vultures, and the resident 6-foot cassowary's ability to eat an apple whole. Explore the behavior of rare big cats, including four species of tigers. Alternatively, in-depth tours and encounters may bring guests face-to-face with popular primates, or deep into the Serpentarium to feed an alligator in its enclosure and ponder whether snakes could possibly wear neckties.