Sanford, FL 32771United States
Activities & Resources
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens554in Sanford, FL 32771
Sanford, FL 32771United States
about Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens:
Feeling more like a natural Florida park that contains exotic - and some not so exotic - animals, the zoo is also home to a large number of rare and endangered species like the Bald Eagle, clouded leopards, and Gila Monsters.
Boardwalks and paths meander throughout the zoo, so it's best to pick up a map to make sure you don't miss anything set back in the trees. Popular exhibits include the elephants, cheetahs, and the spider and howler monkeys. There's even a special behind the scenes elephant encounter on both Saturday and Sunday at 2:15pm where guests can meet the animal keepers and witness feedings. Space is limited; inquire at the Information Kiosk when you arrive.
The Reptile House houses a good number of creepy and crawlies, but getting through can sometimes be a problem since people pack into the facility like a busy elevator.
On hot days, be sure to bring towels and swimsuits and plan a stop at the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground. The watery playground offers visitors a cool oasis in the form of fountains, sprays, and "raining" trees, along with playful animal features.
The zoo's ZOOm Air Adventures attraction allows guests to zip through one (or more) of three tree top zip-line courses, providing a tree-top view of the zoo grounds.
If you're hungry, there is a small snack bar, but you can also bring your own lunch and enjoy the picnic areas. Strollers are also available to rent. Just outside the zoo, kids can enjoy a ride around the grounds on Champ the Train or take a turn on the Animal Carousel - both an additional cost.
The Central Florida Zoo - winner of our 2008 and 2009 award for best local day camp - is dedicated to educational programs for the whole family. From a backstage safari tour to grade appropriate workshops, the zoo is a great resource center for wildlife and conservation education. See the website for a list of programs by grade. Overnight programs and scout programs are also offered.
Summer Camps: Summer programs include half and full day camps for kids ages six to 12, and special parent and child classes for children ages two to five. Kids can choose from a number of different topics, including Build a Zoo Workshop where kids observe zoo operations and create their own zoo, and the Cub Club for parents and kids that includes games, stories, crafts, and live animal encounters. Spaces fill quickly; contact the zoo at 407.323.4450, ex 123 to reserve a spot.
ZOOper Birthday Parties: Numerous party packages are available and include admission for up to 21 guests, use of the party area for one-and-a-half hours, birthday hats and party favors, beverages, ice cream, paper products, and more. You will need to bring your own cake, but all set-up and clean-up is taken care of. Packages start at $226 and upgraded parties with food items like hot dogs and pizza are also available. For a really special treat, include an animal encounter in the celebration. Choose from a snake, turtle, or rabbit for an additional $25.