740 acres, 4 miles of walkways and 3,000 animals – Zoo Miami is not only one of the oldest zoos in Florida, but also the largest.
Here, you will find American species like bears and alligators, as well as the iconic animals of Africa, Asia, Australia and South America – from tiny frogs to giant elephants and rhinos. But it is not just the variety of species that makes Zoo Miami so special: Fun rides, interactive animal encounters and events for the whole family also add to the park’s popularity.
In this article, we will tell you what to expect at Zoo Miami, which activities are particularly worthwhile and how you can visit the zoo at a discount.
Zoo Miami in a Nutshell
Zoo Miami, also known as Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, was established in 1948 – and can look back on a long, eventful history. Much has changed since the founding years, when the zoo housed only six animals. At that time, it was located on the island of Key Biscayne. The threat of hurricanes, however, prompted its managers to find a new location, and in 1980, the zoo reopened in southwestern Miami.
Zoo Miami is a proud member and accreditee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) – an organization with strict standards for animal welfare and professional conduct. In addition, the zoo is involved in numerous conservation projects all around the world.
Location and Directions
The zoo is located in southwest Miami, between Three Lakes and South Miami Heights. The distance to Downtown Miami is about 23 miles.
Motorists will find free parking directly at the zoo. Theoretically, it is also possible to travel by public transport. However, this can take 1–2 hours from Downtown Miami, as no bus or train goes directly to the zoo and you have to change lines more than once.
Zoo Miami is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. The last tickets are sold at 4 pm.
On public holidays, the following opening hours apply:
- Thanksgiving Day: 10 am–3 pm
- Christmas Day: 12–5 pm
- January 1: 10 am–5 pm.
Tickets and Prices
Tickets for the Zoo Miami can be purchased on-site and online at the following prices:
- Visitors aged 13 and over: 22.95 USD
- Children between 3 and 12 years old: 18.95 USD
- Children under 3 years: free of charge.
In addition, there is a group discount of 10–25% – depending on the number of people you bring to the zoo.
Want to save a few dollars? Then, you should look for coupons that you can download from websites like groupon, couponbirds or travelincoupons.
Zoo Miami – Attractions
From the savannahs of Africa to tropical jungles, aviaries and aquariums to relaxed rides – there is a great variety of attractions at Zoo Miami.
Zoo Miami is divided into very distinct zones that are home to iconic animals from five continents:
Familiar habitats of the USA await visitors right next to the entrance. Here, North American species like brown bears, otters and flamingos are at home – accompanied by alligators, the iconic reptiles of the Sunshine State. They live right next to their relatives, the crocodiles. Another highlight of this area are bald eagles – America’s national symbol.
Located in the center of Zoo Miami is Asia – a large area that showcases the diversity of this continent. Here, gibbons and orangutans live next to Malay bears, tapirs, tigers, rhinos and Asian elephants. Numerous bird species populate the Wing of Asia Aviary, and further north, the tropical landscape of Southeast Asia gives way to grasslands that are home to Bactrian camels, dromedaries, and antelopes. Families with children are well-advised to visit the petting zoo in the south.
If you want to see the “Big Five” of the Black Continent – lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and giraffes – you have plenty of opportunity to do so at the African zone. In addition to zebras and rare antelope species, hyenas and painted dogs roam the enclosures. Our closest relatives are also at home here, as Zoo Miami features both chimpanzees and gorillas.
Amazon and Beyond
The natural diversity of South America is celebrated in the northwestern parts of Zoo Miami: Here, spider monkeys swing from branch to branch, while howler monkeys sound their calls and giant otters and Orinoco crocodiles swim in the water. Other species include bats, sloths, anteaters and the king of the jungle: jaguars. Snakes and colorful dart frogs populate the “Cloud Forest”, and the “Flooded Forest” aquarium harbors numerous fish species from the Amazon.
Last but not least, Zoo Miami also features iconic animals from “Down Under”. In Australia, you can see parrots, kangaroos and cute koalas – accompanied by giant tortoises from the Galapagos Islands. Right next to warthogs and red river hogs, the zoo´s playground is located.
Seeing the animals of Zoo Miami from a distance is not enough for you? Then, you should check out the following animal encounters:
- For an extra charge, you cannot only feed the parrots, but also giraffes, camels and even rhinos.
- At the “Tortoise Encounter”, visitors can get close to Galapagos tortoises – and take selfies with these gentle giants.
- If you want to learn how animals like chimpanzees, giraffes and tigers are cared for, the “Meet the Zookeeper” programs are perfect for you.
If you want to travel the area in style or simply rest your feet, you should try the following rides at Zoo Miami:
- Lostman’s River Ride simulates a relaxing boat trip in the Everglades – alongside the brown bear enclosure, birds of prey and quaint wooden huts.
- With its four stops, the Monorail not only provides a comfortable way to explore the zoo, but also a great view of the animal enclosures.
- Do you want to sit back and learn more about the animals of Africa and Asia? Then, you should take a ride with the Safari Tram Tours.
- Pedal boats are available for relaxing trips on the lake of Zoo Miami.
- A highlight for young visitors is the Wildlife Carousel with its carnival flair and lovingly designed animals.
Zoo Miami – Events
There are many reasons to visit Zoo Miami multiple times – one of them is the exciting event calendar:
- Running for a good cause – this is the name of the game at the annual “ZooRun 5K” in autumn. The revenue of this 3-mile-race goes to charities, while participants are rewarded with free admission to the zoo and a cool T-shirt.
- Spook-tastic fun awaits you at the “Zoo Boo” in October. Then, Zoo Miami hosts a big Halloween party with craft workshops, costume contests and – of course – Trick or Treating.
- Do you want to spend a night at the zoo? At the “Roars, S’mores, and Snores Campout” in November, this wish comes true. Then, children can learn more about the nocturnal residents of Zoo Miami, play fun games and listen to stories at the campfire.
- Every year from November 11 to 14, Zoo Miami thanks America’s veterans with free admission. In addition, their families receive a 50 % discount during the Veteran’s Day Savings.
Zoo Miami – Restaurants and Shops
Hungry visitors can choose from three restaurants at Zoo Miami:
Located right next to the petting zoo is the Carousel Café, which serves American classics – just like the Oasis Grill where you can enjoy burgers, sandwiches, pizza and French fries. In addition, vending machines are positioned across the zoo.
Do you want to dine with a top view of the Everglades? Then, we recommend the Nourish305 right at the entrance. Its stylish, modern ambience is complemented by excellent pizza, a large selection of salads and craft beer from the region.
If you want to buy souvenirs, you should visit the gift shop at the entrance. There, you will find everything from clothes, bags and hats to toys, stuffed animals and jewelry. Or how about giving your loved ones a visit to the Miami Zoo or even a unique tour? Then, the Gift Cards are your best choice.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to walk the Miami Zoo?
Zoo Miami is the largest animal park in Florida. Therefore, you should account for 2–3 hours if you want to visit all attractions on foot. Alternatively, you can take the monorail, which runs back and forth between four stations in the zoo.
How much does Zoo Miami cost?
Adults (13 years and older) pay 22.95 USD for admission; Children between the age of 3 and 12 pay 18.95 USD, and children under the age of 3 visit the zoo for free.
How do I get to the Miami Zoo?
The fastest and easiest way is by car. You can also take public transport. However, there are no direct connections from Downtown Miami, so the trip can easily take up to 2 hours.
How far is Miami Zoo from South Beach?
Zoo Miami is located about 27 miles away from South Beach. Depending on the time of day, motorists should account for a 40 to 90-minute drive.