January/February 2005

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WHAT'S NEW at Florida Zoos
Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh my...


The zoos in Florida provide visitors with much more than an exotic array of animals. These zoos give visitors the opportunity to expand their horizons and experience an interactive look at nature's most fearsome creatures.

Panama City Beach: ZooWorld
Catch a glimpse of Panama City's most unique animal nursery, the Tilghman Infant Care Facility! Within the past year, ZooWorld welcomed their newest endangered or threatened species residents, including five African lion cubs, one Summatran Tiger and three Mandrills (a type of baboon). Guests can stroll past private "bedrooms" with glass fronts, and observe staff feeding and interacting with the "babies".
A zoological and botanical park, ZooWorld offers an educational opportunity to observe more than 350 different species of animals amongst a lush botanical setting.
For information, hours of operation and admission call (850) 230-4839 or visit www.zoo-world.us.

Jacksonville: Jacksonville Zoological Gardens
Range of the Jaguar is Jacksonville Zoo's newest and most exciting exhibit to date! Opened in March 2004, as the name implies, the feature displays the rare and elusive jaguar in one of the finest jaguar exhibits and holding facilities offered in North America. In addition to jaguars, the zoo has on display more than 100 different types of animals, many on exhibit at the zoo for the first time.
For information call (904) 757-4463 or visit their Website at www.jaxzoo.org.


Sanford: Central Florida Zoological Park
Construction is underway at the zoo in Sanford as they prepare for a multi-million-dollar Educational Center and a large insect zoo to be completed in early 2005.
In addition, in 2005 the zoo will open the new Australia Exhibit sponsored by Horizon Homes of Orlando. This exhibit will provide opportunities for guests to meander through an area populated by kangaroos and emus, that replicates the flat lands of Australia. For information, hours of operation and admission prices call (407) 323-4450 or visit their Website at www.centralfloridazoo.org.

Melbourne: Brevard Zoo
The new 10-acre Expedition Africa is a do-not-miss event! Howard and Max, a pair of rare white rhinos, lumber through the grasses and might even indulge in a wallow for their guests' viewing pleasure.
Built upon a foundation of community involvement and a mission of wildlife conservation, Brevard Zoo currently features this awe-inspiring exhibit complete with jaguars, kookaburras and Indonesian fruit bats.
The native Florida exhibits Australian Loop and Latin America are showcased to educate visitors. For a unique viewing opportunity, an elevated platform allows guests a look into the entire habitat while they hand-feed African giraffes. Kayak tours are available along the Nyami Nyami River which surrounds the exhibit. For information, hours of operation and admission prices call the zoo at (321) 254-9453 or visit www.brevardzoo.org.


West Palm Beach: Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to hike through a tropical forest? The nocturnal realm is home to an enormous array of spectacular and sometimes misunderstood animals, many of which can't be seen due to camouflage of darkness or landscape. In the zoo's newest exhibit, Tropics of the America's, guests are able to view many of these species such as bats, snakes, salamanders and bird-eating tarantulas. Highlighted in this exhibit are authentic South and Central American caves, islands, a tropical waterway and a Mayan village.
Visitors please note: At time of press, the Palm Beach Zoo was temporarily closed for regrouping due to recent hurricane damage.
For information call (561) 547-9453 or visit www.palmbeachzoo.org.

Miami: Miami Metro Zoo
While continuing to advance the Zoo's overall mission to encourage and appreciate the world's wildlife and conservation efforts, Miami Metro Zoo continues to uphold its reputation as one of the most spectacular cultural designations. The zoo's extensive collection highlights more than 324 species with over 1,300 fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals on ground. New to the zoo are four exhibits which allow visitors to get up close to some of their favorite wildlife. Dr. Wilde's World is a hands-on gallery and features changing exhibits and an opportunity for animal enthusiasts to interact with their favorite animals. The American Bankers Family Aviary, Wings of Asia, is the largest Asian aviary in the U.S. and features birds in flight. Behind-the-Scenes Tram Tours and the interactive adventure Toadstool are unique ways to see off-exhibit areas and close-up views.
For information on the Miami Metro Zoo call (305) 251-0400 or visit www.miamimetrozoo.com.

Tampa: Lowry Park Zoo
The zoo's newest exhibit, Safari Africa, features a wondrous 16 acres of zebras, warthogs and other African species.
"Zoo visitors of all ages can see some of the world's finest animals, at close hand, like African elephants, East African crowned cranes and bongos - the world's largest antelope species," said Trish Rothman, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for the Lowry Park Zoo.
The largest area of Safari Africa is a 2.5-acre African Elephant exhibit, filled with several enrichment items such as hollowed logs, crushed barrels filled with raisins and peanut butter and large tree limbs for bark stripping. For information and hours of operation call (813) 935-8552 or visit their Website at www.lowryparkzoo.com.

Naples Caribbean Gardens: The ZOO in Naples
Being displayed in the Safari Canyon theater is Planet Predator, a show which focuses on predatory relationships in the animal kingdom and provides guests with an opportunity to see carnivores and their prey.
Breaking ground in 2005 is African Wild Dogs. These rare canines are more endangered than tigers and the zoo has recently been granted a breeding recommendation.
Petrof's Primate Pavilion is a new interactive exhibit which features several species of lemurs and small primates exclusive to Madagascar. For information call the Zoo line at (239) 262-5409 or visit www.caribbeangardens.com. -