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Add Jacksonville Zoo to Your Family Travel Bucket List

by Aoife O'Riordan

Feb 26, 2024

© Maeve O’Riordan

Destinations / North America

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Northeast Florida is a popular family travel spot for many reasons. From its exciting animal attractions to vibrant gardens to food offerings to seasonal events, the zoo continues to dazzle both locals and visitors alike.

 

Jax zoo

© Maeve O’Riordan

It’s nearly a guarantee kids will love any zoo you take them to, but here are five reasons why you should make Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens part of your next trip:

 

Stingray Bay

At this fun and interactive exhibit, guests can pet and feet different stingray species. At this exhibit, you’ll encounter Atlantic guitarfish, Atlantic stingray, bluntnose stingray, cownose stingray and southern stingray.

 

jaguars

© Maeve O’Riordan

Award-Winning Jaguar Exhibit

The Range of the Jaguar exhibit in the South American section of the zoo is a must-visit. Home to the new baby jaguar Banks (especially exciting for the city and Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team), the exhibit sits near Palm Plaza restaurant and a sweet shop. Just next to the jaguars also sits Lost Temple, where snakes, poisonous frogs, an anaconda, bats and more await.

 

giraffes

© Maeve O’Riordan

Feed the Giraffes

Climb up the elevated platform and get eye to eye with a giraffe. Here, guests enjoy views across the replica of the African savanna beneath a covered boardwalk. Guests can also feed the giraffes who graze nearby.

 

colors of the wild

© Aoife O’Riordan

Seasonal Events

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens hosts some pretty neat events year-round. The recently concluded Colors of the Wild celebrated the Chinese New Year with colorful lanterns of animals and plants adorning the park. Come Halloween, the zoo debuts Spooktacular, where pumpkins, creepy decorations and more come to life.

 

Botanical Gardens

The zoo is home to several beautiful gardens scattered throughout the property. At Trout River Plaza, guests are greeted with mosaic pavings, vines, trees and lush garden beds. While over at Riverview Gardens, kids can venture down pathways teeming with flowers attracting pollinators. This garden also overlooks St. Johns River. Transport yourself to the bamboo gardens of Asia at the Asian Bamboo Garden, complete with a Moon Gate, Chinese garden design and Weeping Tree Bridge, as well as the Orchid Pavilion and Koi Pool.

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