Il Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, or simply the Miami Zoo, is Florida's oldest and largest zoological park and the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States.
With over 3000 animals of 500 different species and over 1000 different plants, the zoo is divided into various areas that can be traveled on foot along a path of about 5 kilometers or with the monorail that allows, not only to move quickly from one part to another, but also to have a bird's-eye view of the zoo. In addition, there is the possibility of renting a rickshaw (useful even if there is a risk of rain thanks to the roof) to visit the zoo in full autonomy.
- Where it is, how to get there and useful information
- Opening time
- Ticket prices
- The areas of the zoo
- The activities of the zoo
- Where to sleep in the area
Where it is, how to get there and useful information
Unlike Jungle Island which is located near South Beach and Downtown Miami, to get to Miami-Dade Zoological Park you will have to go south towards the Keys Islands. The zoo, in fact, is located at 12400 South West of 152nd Street, about halfway between Miami and the Keys.
You can drive to the zoo from South Beach or Downtown Miami by taking the FL 874 S or US-1 S. In both cases the average time is approximately 40-45 minutes, traffic permitting. The parking is free for zoo visitors.
With the By public transport you will need to reach Government Center station and from there take the train to Dadeland South. Bus 252 from Dadeland South Metrorail Station will take you past the zoo entrance in about 20 minutes. The average travel time from Downtown Miami Government Center Station to the zoo is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Be careful though the bus service to the zoo is only available on weekends and major holidays, while during the week the closest bus stop is a 40-minute walk from the entrance.
The zoo is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00. Last admission is at 16pm. Hours may vary on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The entrance ticket costs $ 22.95 for adults and $ 18.95 for children between 3 and 12 years old. Children under 2 years of age enter for free. At these prices you will have to add 7% tax.
Entrance to the Miami Zoo is included in the Go Miami Card under the following conditions:
- with the All Inclusive you will have the right to participate in the shows, feed the animals, visit the various areas of the zoo including the large house of birds from Asia
- with the Explore you can choose which animal to feed, you will have unlimited access to the park's attractions and you can use the monorail all day to move around the zoo.
The cost of the ticket to be able to use the monorail is $ 5 for the whole day.
More info on tickets
The areas of the zoo
The Miami Zoo covers approximately 304 acres where animals live in relative freedom in enclosures in areas designed to rebuild their natural habitat. Visiting it is truly a unique experience. There are several dining options and the zoo offers many activities for adults and children.
The five main areas into which the zoo is divided are:
- Florida: Mission Everglades
- Amazonia and beyond
Inside the zoo there is also a large lake called Lake Iguana.
Since visiting the zoo is quite challenging and given the size of each area I recommend that you go early in the morning and consider staying there for a minimum of 4 hours (but 8 hours are not enough!).
Also remember that Miami's weather can be extremely hot in the early afternoon: due to the heat, many animals seek shade or places where you may not be able to see them. Also, most of the zoo is clearly outdoors so you too may feel the need to go for shelter and miss the opportunity to see the zoo properly.
The activities of the zoo
If you want to see the main attractions of the zoo at your own pace and those of your family by moving faster from one place to another than just walking, you can consider renting the rickshaw. The cost for a small rickshaw (3 adults and 2 small children) is $ 26 plus tax for 2 hours and $ 13 for the following hours. For a large rickshaw (6 adults and 2 small children) the cost is $ 36 plus tax for the first 2 hours and $ 18 for the next.
If you love water, don't miss the opportunity to rent one pedalos. The cost for a 3 person pedal boat is $ 15 plus tax, for 4 people $ 20 plus tax and for 5 people it is $ 25 plus tax. The pedal boat ride takes about 30 minutes.
Feed the animals is one of the many activities offered by the zoo and is certainly one of the most fun and memorable for children. If you want to feed:
- the cost for giraffes is $ 5 or $ 12 depending on the portion of food chosen
- rhinos, camels, giant tortoises cost 5 dollars per person
- parrots $ 3 for 1 portion of food and $ 5 for 2
Inside the zoo there are also several Rides like the Lostman's River Ride, trunks that move on the water in the heart of the "Everglades" and the Wildlife Carousel, the carousel of horses and many exotic animals from which the little ones can choose.
Il Safari Tram Tour is another proposed activity: it is a tour on a little train with explanations on the animals of the Asia and Africa areas that are gradually sighted. The train leaves on weekends at 12pm, 00pm and 13pm, weather permitting, and costs $ 30 per person.
Finally, the zoo also offers special tours to better appreciate the variety of animals in the zoo.
- The VIP Experience Tour costs $ 75 plus tax and offers the option of touring the zoo in a golf toy car with a private guide. The tour lasts 2 hours starting at 10:30 am and 13:30 pm. With your guide, you won't have to queue for the main attractions.
- The Behind-The-Scene Tour offers the chance to see some animals up close such as giraffes, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, otters, koalas and many more. You will only have to choose the areas you prefer to see up close. The cost is $ 150 plus tax per person and the duration is 2 hours.
- Expedition: Wildlife is a 5-hour tour that also includes lunch. With this tour you will get to see elephants, gorillas and, if you prefer smaller animals, sloths up close. The cost is $ 500 plus tax per person.
Where to sleep in the area
If you want to have an overview of the main hotels in the area you can click on this link. In most cases, however, you will be more comfortable sleeping in areas closer to Miami. To find out which are the recommended accommodations in the city, I suggest you read our dedicated article by clicking on the link below.
Where to sleep in Miami