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Best Florida zoos

Walk on the wild side

Children love animals and are mesmerized by fish and aquatic life. Zoos and aquariums seem like the perfect adventure. Not only will your children play and interact with incredible animals and marine life, they will be soaking up information -- a great learning experience!

Child at Zoo

Zoos

Tampa Bay's Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa Bay's Lowry Park Zoo is a 41-acre park featuring over 2,000 animals from a wide range of species. There are several animal exhibits, rides, shows, guided tours, and a small water area for kids to play in. A few of our favorites were the water area, camel ride, giraffe feeding and the tiger exhibit. For an additional cost, your family can experience the River Odessey Eco-Cruise. The "Sirenia," named after the order that manatees come from, will take wildlife enthusiasts on a boat ride adventure where they can see river turtles, hawks, herons, manatees and dozens of other animals that call the Hillsborough River home.

West Sligh Ave., Tampa, FL 33604. Hours: Daily, 9:30am-5pm; Admission: Adults: $20.95; Seniors $18.95; Children ages 3-11: $15.95; Children under three: Free

Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden is 23 acres of native gardens with over 400 animals, an Insect Zoo and Reptile House, live animal encounters, including behind-the-scenes elephant encounters, and many educational opportunities and demonstrations. Kids can enjoy the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground, while you relax in an Adirondack chair under the trees. Have fun zooming from tree to tree using rope bridges, zip lines, suspended disks and a variety of unique systems in the ZOOm Air Adventure. Hop aboard the Little Florida Coastline train ride or take a spin on the carousel.

3755 Northwest US Hwy., Sanford, FL 32747. Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm daily. Admission: Adults: $11.95; Seniors: $9.95; Children ages 3-12: $7.95; Children under three: Free

Lion Country Safari

Lion Country Safari is Florida's only drive-through safari adventure with four miles of wild animals! However, that is not the only adventure you will find at this park. Enjoy a walk through safari of more than 900 animals through animal exhibits and encounters, animal feeding experiences, rides, a petting zoo and water splash-ground.

2003 Lion Country Safari Rd., Loxahatchee, FL 33470. Hours: Monday through Friday, 10am-5:30pm; Saturday, Sunday & holidays, 9:30am-5:30pm. Admission: Adults: $25.50; Seniors: $22.50; Children ages 3-9: $18.50; Children under three: Free

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is an exciting and educational place to visit with over 1,500 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 varieties of plants. Some of the exhibits include the River Valley Aviary, African Loop, Stingray Bay with Sharks, Wild Florida, Savanna Blooms, Giraffe Overlook, Great Apes, Range of the Jaguar, Play Park and Splash Ground, Australian Adventure and more. For an additional price, you can take a ride on their train or carousel.

370 Zoo Pkwy., Jacksonville, FL 32218. Hours: Daily, 9am-6pm; Admission: Adults: $13.00; Seniors: $11.00; Children ages 3-12: $8.00; Children under three: Free

Miami MetroZoo

Miami MetroZoo is over 740 acres with more than 100 exhibits and over 2,000 animals, representing over 400 species. They are also home to more than 40 endangered species. Some favorites for the kids are Mercantil Commercebank Children's Zoo, Humpy's Camel Rides, Toadstool, Butterfly Garden, Wildlife Carousel, and the Petting Zoo. The MetroZoo also features over 70 species of birds in their Wings of the Asia Aviary. Covering more than 54,000 square feet, it is the largest open air Asian aviary in the Western Hemisphere.

12400 SW 152 St., Miami, FL 33177. Hours: daily, 9:30am-5:30pm; Admission: Adults: $15.95; Children ages 3-12: $11.95; Children under three: Free

See the aquariums here!

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