Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Major Exhibits
As the Zoo's Master Plan is implemented over the next several years, the number of major exhibits will increase. The major exhibits that are currently open are:
Main Camp Safari Lodge
The Zoo's admission facility boasts a 26,000 square foot thatched roof that was created by 24 Zulu craftsmen from South Africa. It is the only structure of its kind in North America. It houses the Mombasa Import/Export Company, a 2500 square foot gift shop; the Kikuyu Kafe, a food kiosk; First Aid/Security, Stroller and Wheelchair rental; the Samburu Room, a 1900 square foot meeting room available for rent; Shaba Terrace, a 69,000 open air facility directly under the thatched roof also available for rent; and a Board Room.
River Valley Aviary Opened
in April 1996 the aviary is home to 72 birds of 20 different species, the Birds of the Rift Valley attempts to duplicate the conditions of the wilds of East Africa. A twostory enclosure covering 9,000 feet allows birds such as the Yellowbilled stork, goldbreasted starling, Lesser flamingos and turacos to fly about freely.
The Plains of East Africa
Walk along the 1,400foot boardwalk overlooking the Plains of East Africa and see the native animals in their large, openair environment. You may see the Nile crocodile, wart hog, kori bustard, antelope, cheetahs, white rhinoceros, Thomson's Gazelle, cape buffalo, or the zebra along the walk. The Seronera Overlook offers an intimate view of the Elephants in their 275,000gallon pool. Included in the same area in the reptile building, home to some of the world's deadliest snakes, and outside there are vultures, bats, and a host of other animals. The Mahali Pa Simba ("Place of the Lion" in Swahili) is the oneacre home to our two male lions. This was the first of the new exhibits to
open on the redesigned and expanded Plains of East Africa. The Colobus monkeys and leopard can also be seen at the southern end of the African boardwalk.
Great Apes of the World
Opened in August 1999, the Great Apes exhibits allow visitors to take an up close look at silverback gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees, lemurs, mandrills, siamangs, and pygmy marmosets in a natural setting.
New Florida Wetlands "Wild Florida"
Opened on March 31, 2001, this new attraction includes a 2.5 acres of natural wetlands consisting of native animals and plants. "Wild Florida" is home to black bears, otters, red wolves, bald eagles, bobcats, alligators, Florida panthers, various reptiles, whitetail
deer, various wetland owl species and as of 2007 whopping cranes.
Reptile House at Wild Florida The Reptile House is home to more than 25 different species of reptiles, including the Eastern Indigo snake, one of several threatened species protected by the State of Florida. The alligators are presently located near across from the reptile house, and are fed every Saturday at 2:00p.m. during the warm weather.
Opened March 2002
The Outback Steakhouse's Australian Adventure
This attraction was the first new major exhibit at the south end of the Zoo since 1995. Animals that will be included in this South Pacific attraction include the cassowary, lorikeets, kangaroos, wallabies and the muchadored koalas. A highlight of this attraction
is the lorikeets that can be fed by visitors to the zoo.
Opened March 2004
Range of the Jaguar
Range of the Jaguar is an award winning unique neotropical attraction featuring jaguars, which opened in spring of 2004. The overall price tag of the Zoo's premier attraction is 15.4 million and will cover about four acres on Zoo grounds. The exhibit will focus on a neotropical rain forest setting that can be found in Central or South America. It will include animals and plants that are indigenous to the rain forests of that region. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens currently have six Jaguars, "Bruno" and "Gigi" which were brought to the Zoo in the summer of 1998 on loan from Venezuela, "Salsa" and "Onca", who were raised by Zoo staff after their fear that their mother would harm them, and "Xena" and "Jaws" who were brought here on permanent loan from the Guyanese government. These six jaguars make the largest collection of jaguars in the United States. Although this attraction highlights the jaguars, other animals that guests will encounter include golden lion tamarins, tapirs, capybaras, giant river otters, anteaters and a variety of reptiles, fish and bird species.
Opened March 2005
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens opened the Wildlife Carousel, presented by MPS group, to the public for the first time. The carousel features 34 beautifully handdesigned
and handpainted animals, such as a jaguar, giraffe, manatee and ostrich. With its timeless appeal and classic design, the Wildlife Carousel is destined to become one of the Jacksonville Zoo's most beloved attractions for generations to come.
Opened April 2005
Giraffe Overlook & Savanna Blooms
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens redesigned the viewing area for the Giraffe exhibit allowing guests to get eye to eye with the Giraffes. This allows for a true appreciation of how tall Giraffes can be. As part of this viewing area the first of many Botanical Gardens was created, called Savannah Blooms. The plants that are part of this garden can all be found in the African Savanna. As part of this development, the main path of the Zoo was redesigned and widened allowing for more comfort to guests.
Opened May 2006
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens new 2.5 acre, $6.7 million Play Park opened in the late spring of 2006. The Play Park has a splash ground area that incorporates life size models of Florida's coastal animals, including whales, dolphins and manta rays. In addition, there is a forest play area, a maze and a dining deck. As part of the Zoo's continued dedication to education, the Play Park focuses on various aspects of the Plant and Animal Kingdoms that also allow for children to learn through play. An otter exhibit and a squirrel monkey exhibit are part of the Play Park, as well as a discovery building and animal care facility where children are able to get up close and actually touch the animals.
Opened March 2007
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens recently introduced its renovated swan pond that is now also home to twenty American flamingos. The pond exhibit is located on the main path between the Range of the Jaguar and the Wildlife Carousel. Previously, the pond was largely obscured by shrubbery. New pavers now lead up to the open viewing area where visitors can see the spectacular color of the beautiful flamingos "feeding" along the bank and the stately, graceful swans swimming in the pond - a photographer's dream.
Opened September 2007
The Gardens at Trout River Plaza
This new garden space features a partiallywalled botanical garden plaza that will serve as a gathering and event space and offers a beautiful view of the Trout River. Central to the plaza is a celebratory fountain with a spill bowl topped by a basking anhinga bird sculpture. The fountain is surrounded by pebble mosaic paving that features a menagerie of animals of the Trout River. Springing from lush garden beds, thirteen Grecianstyle "living" columns topped with overflowing flowering urns give the Gardens a
classical look. The Riverview Courtyard located behind the plaza is an ideal space for day or nighttime private events. The "Great Lawn" in front of the plaza can also be used for private events as well as the Zoo's marketing and fundraising events.