Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens – Jacksonville, Florida
Escape to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for the only walking safari in Northeast Florida. Discover the earth’s wildlife through interactive and educational experiences. This award-winning zoo has thousands of animals and an active conservation project. See all your favorite animals, including the great apes of the world, kangaroos of the Australian Outback and lions of the African Savannah. Tour the colorful gardens, dine at animal-themed restaurants and visit the gift shop for a special souvenir.
For more than 96 years, the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experience in a caring environment. Preservation of sustainable biodiversity is a key mission of the Zoo. It now features more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and more than 1,000 unique plant species.
A true family adventure, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is growing and changing daily and is dedicated to consistently improving. Beginning in 2004 with Range of the Jaguar and continuing with Giraffe Overlook and Savanna Blooms garden, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is quickly becoming a world-class establishment. The Zoo has something for everyone with more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 varieties of plants. Whether you are a visitor to Florida’s First Coast or a lifetime resident, we invite you to experience the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens through interactions with people, wildlife and the environment.
The Zoo’s national award winning premier attraction.
Range of the Jaguar
Wildlife Carousel with its 34 hand-painted animals.
Called Giraffe Overlook and the first botanical gardens, Savanna Blooms.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the Gardens at Trout River Plaza
The plaza serves as the gateway to the Asian Bamboo Gardens that opened in the spring of 2009 with the new komodo dragon exhibit.
For decades, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has given Jacksonville and Northeast Florida residents a place to love animals. Now they offer our community a public place to love plants, while setting a new standard for zoos in the process. Building a first-of-its-kind botanical garden inside our Zoo that, unlike other zoos, is integrated among the animal exhibits. Unlike most other growing and culturally-rich cities, Jacksonville cannot list a botanical garden as one of its cultural treasures.
Beyond filling an educational need, botanical gardens benefit their communities in many ways. They become tourist attractions, benefit the green industry, serve as an employer and pump millions of construction dollars into the regional economy. Over the past 400 years botanical gardens evolved from a menagerie of medicinal plants to entering the 21st century with a strong focus on the concept of environmental sustainability. While some zoos have enhanced the natural habitat of their animal collection, none to our knowledge have committed to the idea of combining a zoo and botanical garden.
This combination will only serve to strengthen each institution’s ability to foster a clear vision of sustainable conservation of our natural resources. With the help of a nationally-renowned botanical garden design firm, the Zoo developed three major garden zones in its Botanical Garden Concept Plan:
The Main Path, known as the River of Color: Visitors will begin their garden journey in the Main Camp Garden greeted with a celebratory display of striking foliage and flowering plants. They will be drawn toward the River of Color by drifts of colorful bloom swirling through ribbons of contrasting foliage and textures in the distance. Throughout the Zoo, the River of Color will be a linear garden that links garden destinations and animal exhibits.
Themed Pocket Gardens:
Distinct and unique garden jewels of horticultural display that immerse the visitor in through plant themed forecourts to the animal exhibits that follow. Each garden is about 2 acres in size. Currently our Pocket Gardens include the African-Savanna Blooms Garden, South American-Range of the Jaguar Garden, the native gardens of Wild Florida and Play Park, the formal Gardens of Trout River, and the Asian Garden.
The Primary Gardens:
In Jacksonville, visitors to the Zoo have, over the years, recognized the unique relationship the Zoo shares with the Trout River. The beautiful native water-edge plants and spectacular panoramic views over the River set this area aside as something quite special. Recognizing this potential, we selected this area as the home for the Primary Gardens which will cover approximately twelve acres and include Collection Gardens and the Conservatory.
This a must for lovers of fauna and flora, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will dazzle the eyes. The tour begins as soon as you arrive. Get out of your car to admire the birds and plants that inhabit the surrounding gardens. Strategically located, the zoo allows for observation of several bird species, which is sure to delight bird watchers. Once inside the zoo, you will have the pleasure of discovering over 2,000 exotic and rare animals as well as more than 1,000 plants. You can also enjoy a variety of activities. There is always plenty to see and do at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens!
The complementary activities include a 4D cinema, water games, train rides, an amusement park and Stingray Bay, where, for a small fee, visitors can pet and feed the stingrays. Also, if you book at least two weeks in advance, you can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoological center. More information is available on the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens website.