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Are you looking for a setting in which you can have fun, learn, and unwind? What better place than the Naples, Florida Zoo? You can see leopards, alligators, giraffes, all of which can teach you something new. So plan a fun day with the whole family, make the most of the nice weather, and get ready to feel like a kid again.

Take a look at why this historic botanical garden and a nationally accredited zoo is a great place to spend time with your loved ones. The Naples, Florida Zoo offers many opportunities for exotic animals encounters and educational programs to inspire others about wildlife conservation. So are you ready to hand-feed a giraffe?

When Did Naples Zoo Open?

The Naples Zoo’s history began in 1919 when Dr. Henry Nehrling founded the historic botanical garden. After undergoing some extensive expansion, wild animals were introduced in 1969 by husband and wife Lawrence and Nancy Jane Tetzlaff. The couple educated numerous individuals in the Midwest and Florida about wildlife conservation. Since then, Naples Zoo has become a nationally accredited zoo and won multiple regional and national awards.

Is Naples Zoo a Good Zoo?

It’s more than just good! It’s a nationally accredited zoo by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which is an organization dedicated to setting high standards for animal care, education, and preservation. In addition, it offers a variety of educational programs, which is the heart and soul of its mission. The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens marked its 100th anniversary as a botanical garden and its 50th anniversary as a zoo in 2019.

How Big Is Naples FL Zoo?

The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is 43-acres, making it ideal for exploring at your own pace without feeling rushed. It’s easy to navigate and offers plenty of shade. In addition, there are many interactive attractions available to keep you entertained at all times.

Fun fact: The largest zoo globally is The Wilds Safari Park in Cumberland, Ohio, covering 9,154 acres. Do you think you’d be able to see all the animal exhibits there in one day?

How Long Does It Take to Go Through the Naples Zoo?

To fully enjoy everything Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens has to offer, allow yourself at least four hours to explore. Once you arrive, your ticket includes:

  • Animal Exhibits – Naples Zoo has both program animal and wildlife exhibits where you can learn many interesting facts about them.
  • Primate Expedition Cruise – This 20-minute catamaran will explore the living environment of monkeys, lemurs, and apes. Don’t forget the camera!
  • Meet the Keepers Talks – Do you enjoy learning fun facts? Here you can discover many fascinating facts about the animals, such as how they are taken care of and how you can help them in the wild. Feel free to ask all your questions during that time.
  • Safari Canyon Feature Show – Discover behind-the-scenes details and explore various topics about the animals, such as: how they adapt, how they are handled, and what we can do to protect them in the wild.
  • Alligator Bay Feeding – Find out more about Florida’s steadily increasing alligator population. Did you know that currently, Alligator bay is home to 13 alligators? 
  • Reptile Rendezvous – In this exhibit, you will get the opportunity to see some fascinating venomous creatures. Zookeepers will go over why reptiles are so significant.
  • Botanical Exhibits – Wander through the gardens and take in all the lush green scenery. It’s a peaceful zen place with ficus trees, palms, and orchids; you’ll never want to leave.

Check the daily zoo schedule for more information.

What Kind of Animals Do They Have at the Naples Zoo?

Naples has a variety of animal exhibits, from mammals to birds and reptiles. So, let’s divide them into a few sections to make sure we don’t forget anyone, and we’ll even throw in some fun facts about each animal.

Mammals:

  • African Lion – While females do most hunting, the male lions protect their territories and the young.
  • Black Bear – Don’t be surprised if you spot them in a tree. They are excellent climbers.
  • Black-handed Spider Monkey – These monkeys have no thumbs.
  • Black and white Colobus Monkey – Their coats and tails serve as parachutes during long jumps.
  • Buff-cheeked Gibbon – Longest arms relative to body size.
  • Clouded Leopard – This cat spends most of its time in trees.
  • Collared Lemur – Fruit is their preferred food, which helps spread seeds throughout their habitat.
  • Cotton-Top Tamarin – If they feel frightened or overjoyed, their hair stands straight up.
  • Coyote – Coyotes are not picky eaters and are surprisingly great swimmers.
  • Florida Panther – Unfortunately, there are fewer than 130 panthers left in their natural habitat, and most of them die due to car accidents.
  • Fossa – Biggest carnivores in Madagascar.
  • Giant Anteater – Did you know that they can eat about 40,000 ants a day despite having no teeth?
  • Honey Badger – A formidable creature that uses “stink bombs” to defend itself from danger.
  • Malayan Tiger – These animals are born blind and don’t get their sight until a week or two after birth.
  • Mountain Bongo – Largest forest antelope.
  • Plains Zebra – Zebras use sound and facial cues to communicate.
  • Red-Ruffed Lemur – Figs are their favorite fruit.
  • Red-Rumped Agouti – The only mammal of its kind that can break open a Brazil nut.
  • Reeve’s Muntjac – Their lengthy tongue is how they pull leaves from branches.
  • Reticulated Giraffe – The tallest animal on the planet.
  • Ring-Tailed Lemur – Their tails extend much farther than their bodies.
  • Siamang – The biggest of the 14 gibbon species.
  • Slender-Horned Gazelle – Because of their excellent hearing and vision, they can detect danger easily.
  • Striped Hyena – Hyenas are most active at night.
  • Two-Toed Sloth – Sloths are quicker in water than on land.
  • Yellow-Backed Duiker – This species marks its territory with its preorbital glands.

Reptiles:

  • American Alligator – Females measure about 6-8 feet long, while males reach 10-12 feet.
  • Burmese Python – This snake has about 80-120 teeth.
  • Gopher Tortoise – Can live for more than 60 years.
  • Leopard Tortoise – Because their shell is attached to their spine, they can sense when someone touches their back.
  • Red-footed Tortoise – Swimming is one of their favorite activities.
  • Reticulated Python – One of the world’s longest snakes – measuring about 25 feet.

Birds:

  • Black-Crowned Crane – Nigeria’s official bird.
  • Black Vulture – Eats an enormous amount in one sitting because they don’t know when they will find their next meal.
  • Blue and Gold Macaw – Studies indicate they possess the intellect and reasoning abilities of a 3-4-year-old human child.
  • Harris’s Hawk – These hawks hunt in packs and never individually.
  • Military Macaw – Their tongue contains a bone that assists them in opening fruits, nuts, and grains.
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – Georgia’s permanent resident throughout the year.

Can You Feed Giraffes at Naples Zoo?

What would it be like to stand face to face with the tallest animal in the world? That is your chance to discover the answer. You have the opportunity to hand-feed giraffes every day, between 10 am – 3 pm. It will only cost you $5 to purchase their favorite food, and they will come to you right away. Do you have your camera ready for a close-up?

You can also be a part of alligator feeding at Alligator Bay, where you can see how professional keepers make sure these giant reptiles stay healthy and fed.

Can You Bring a Dog to the Naples Zoo?

Safety is the main reason why pets are generally not allowed at zoos. They may get triggered by the many noises and smells in the zoo. In addition, can you imagine if your little Chihuahua gets loose and decides to visit the lion exhibit? However, following the Americans with Disabilities Act, the only dogs permitted in Naples Zoo are properly trained Service Dogs.

What Day Is Naples Zoo Free?

Every first Saturday of the month, Collier County residents can visit the Naples Zoo free of charge. As long as you have proof of residency, such as a utility or tax bill with the same name as your photo ID, you are welcome anytime until 3:30 pm.

How Many Zoos Are in Florida?

Florida has such great weather, and it’s no wonder why there are so many zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, and farms. Check the list below:

  1. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
  2. Zoo Tampa
  3. Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society
  4. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
  5. Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  6. Santa Fe College Zoo
  7. Zoo Miami and Zoological Society of Florida
  8. Gulf Breeze Zoo
  9. Brevard Zoo
  10. ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Park

Find out Why Naples is Everyone’s Favorite Destination

Perhaps your plans include watching the sunset on the Naples Pier, shopping on 5th avenue, or hand-feeding giraffes at the Naples, Florida Zoo; the possibilities for great adventures are endless. Whether you plan on arriving by car or plane, Royal Shell can help you find the ideal vacation rental. Would you prefer a lavish villa or a charming apartment? We strive to make everything easy for you and make you feel at home. So, contact us and let us take away your worries.

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