Brevard Zoo, Melbourne Florida
Brevard Zoo is a 50-acre zoo located in Melbourne, Florida. The zoo contains more than 577 animals representing 165 species from North and South America as well as Australia and Africa.
The zoo is divided into four loops.
They are: Expedition Africa, Australia/Asia, Wild Florida and La Selva. These loops are accessed off of the main loop that encircles the Flamingo Pond.
Wildlife Detective Training Academy
The Wildlife Detective Training Academy, or WDTA, is a building focused specifically towards younger children and features terrariums containing many of the zoo’s reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, and at least one mammal, a naked mole rat. It also features interactive activities, such as a sand pit, where children can dig up bones from an animal “crime scene”, and an animal hospital where children can learn about animal anatomy and veterinary science. The WDTA also features a new mystery every month in which children can investigate and find clues throughout the zoo. The building is located to the right of the main entrance in a separate building.
Expedition Africa offers kayaking on the grounds of the zoo. Trained staff lead the kayak trips and provide informative dialogue during a slow glide past African-themed exhibits. These exhibits include: giraffes, white rhinos, and ostriches. After kayaking, visitors can climb up to an observation platform where the giraffes feed at eye-level. Siamang gibbons are located in-between the entrances to the Africa and Australia/Asia Loops. Cheetahs were added in February 2010.
Cape to Cairo Express
The Cape to Cairo Express is a train ride centered around Lemur Island, an island that houses the zoo’s lemurs. Along the way visitors can also see dromedaries, Ostriches and Scimitar Oryxes. The train was relocated from the now defunct Boblo Island amusement park in Canada.
As its name implies, this loop features animals from Australia and Oceania. Visitors can find animals such as the red kangaroo, emu, and wallaby. Australia/Asia also hosts the free-flight aviary where visitors have the option of feeding rainbow lorikeets. The aviary is home to: galahs, lorikeets, cockatiels, kookaburras, shell ducks, roseate spoonbills, among others. It is divided into three sections – the “bat side” with fruit bats, the main exhibit with the lorikeets, and the turaco side with several species of turacos. The turaco side of the aviary is also where the butterfly exhibit is put up during its brief stay at the zoo of about six weeks each year. Siamang gibbons are located in-between the entrances to the Africa and Australia/Asia Loops. Visayan Warty Pigs were introduced to the zoo in June 2008, and replaced the dingo exhibit.
River otters, alligators, crocodiles, and bobcats are just some of the animals on exhibit. This loop also contains a pack of the nearly extinct Red Wolf. Feeding is demonstrated in this loop. There is an area to pedal boat into a wetland environment.
La Selva houses the zoo’s jaguars and the zoo’s Cottontop Tamarins and Golden-Headed Lion Tamarins. This loop also feature’s Green Iguanas, a Baird’s Tapir, a capybara, and a Patagonian Cavy. In March 2007, a newly constructed vulture exhibit opened, which houses King Vultures, Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures and a Yellow Headed Vulture. Vulture feedings and demonstrations are offered to visitors much the same way they are conducted within the Wild Florida loop.
Paws On once provided a place for children to play in a playground, and a petting zoo for children to explore. The Contact Yard (petting zoo) had goats, chickens, a fallow deer, and a miniature horse and miniature donkey. It contains a Contact Yard, a shallow swimming area, an aquarium mimicking the underwater environment of the nearby Indian River Lagoon, an ice cream shop, and various other attractions aimed towards children of all ages. Attractions from the old Paws On that were kept include the Soil Cube and the Whale Slide. The Contact Yard now houses Alpacas, Pygmy goats, two species of deer, a Black Throated Monitor, and Armadillos.