Lions and tigers and bears oh my!
Is that too cliche to put as the opening for a post about a zoo? Screw it I’ll take the easy shot.
Here is our general overview about our time spent in the Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park (no lions sadly)..
In the search for an activity we decide to go to the zoo.
Insert your own joke here, (something like when wild things visit the zoo, I’m sure).
Zoos are very tricky for me. I am a free spirit who can’t handle being contained, (my poor husband), So when I’m visiting zoo’s. I enjoy seeing the animals and want to hold EVERY ONE. My heart breaks because I want them to be free.
This zoo helps me with that.
Reading the information on the plaques at the exhibits, I see that most of the animals were either injured and wouldn’t survive in the wild or were made captive at too early of a point in their lives and would never know how to defend themselves because they only have lived domesticated lives.
If you have time, I really recommend reading as many of the plaques as possible. Really informative as well as letting you know about the conservation efforts for the various species.
On Earth Day, 4/22/2009, the Zoo opened up the Melvin J.and Claire Levine Animal Care Complex. The nations first LEED certified gold zoo animal hospital.
Within this facility, not only do they care for their own animals with the best of care, they also help to revive injured or orphaned animals to a sustainable health to return them back to the wild.
So yeah…. They love their animals too.
In 2000, the Palm Beach Zoo opened their first immersion exhibit, “Tiger Falls” that takes you into the jungles of southeast Asia.
They have tall bamboo making a forest around you.
The hippie in me loved that part, with my crazy love of trees.
This forest with all the proper corresponding vegetation, houses a set of Bengal tigers and a set of Malayan tigers, who had 3 cubs in 2011.
That’s just one of the many exhibits set up for that region.
Providing animals with as natural environments as possible.
Allowing them to flourish and feel at peace as we stare at them in awe.
Not only can you visit Asia. You can stroll through the tropics of the Americas, the Florida wetlands, and a section dedicated for the various islands from all three of those regions.
Bearing over 500 animals on 23 acres, there is something to see at every turn.
Lots of the exhibits animals have cohabitants, providing ample space with the animals best interest at heart. As well as their need for companionship.
You won’t see any polar bears or animals that can’t survive the hot climate that Florida summers provide. Or elephants, lions, or types that need more space to roam as well as proper partnership.
George and Harriett Cornell Tropics of the America is widely recognized as being one of the best exhibits for jaguars.
It also features information on the Mayan Culture that is amazing to see in the middle of Florida.
Showcasing two 45 foot replicas of Mayan pyramids. Even on a smaller scale they look huge. Decorated with hand carved hieroglyphics of the proper period.
Another neat piece of architecture is the Caracol Observatory. A house created by the Mayans to watch the heavens, to tell time and to predict oncoming events through astronomy, (such a smart civilization). Helping to create the most on point calendar that is still being used, thousands of years later.
There is a man made replica of a Montezuma cypress called the Tule tree. The widest tree in the world, (one that I would love to see in person). For a tree hugger like myself it was hard to tell if this one was real or not.
The surroundings of this place are just on point.
Walk Through Exhibits
Some of the areas as you walk along the path, give you options to walk into certain environments, (I really don’t like to call them cages) and interact with the animals.
Lounge around on a bench looking out into the flamingo lagoon and watch as the birds play in the water.
Hang out with the Macaws and see if they will chat with you.
You can get a cup of food from the lorekeet hut and feed them, (just don’t touch, they are very sensitive) or just walk through their environment and look at their beautiful feathers up close.
Walk through the butterfly exhibit and watch all the iguanas run across the path as they chase after their latest target.
If you go on their website and plan ahead, you can book an animal experience to see some up close and personal.
Certain ones you can feed, touch, or even hold!
For a fee of course and depending on the temperament of the animal. So read about every one to get the best experience.
If the kid’s start to get a little rowdy, they can release some of that excess energy at the nature play pavilion.
A natural interactive playground that encourages children to use their imagination to interact as the animals do, (the nice ones at least) balancing like a cat, climb like monkey and dig like a turtle.
Then after all the heat of walking around or playing, you can head over to the play fountain.
A kid’s dreamland on a hot day (this big kid missed out since it closes at 4:30 and I didn’t know). A 54-foot circular, interactive fountain with 325 water jets and colorful lights.
There’s a fountain you can play in….yes please.
Make sure to bring towels and a change of clothes and make use of the changing area to go see more animals or to have a dry ride home.
There is also a carousel you can ride or a train to board to go through the zoo. Tickets for either are $3 each or two for $5.
They Have Food Too
If you work up an appetite, or a thirst, and would like to have a seat in some cool air, head over to the Tropics cafe.
Open daily from 11-3, they serve tastes for the whole family with burgers, sandwiches, kid’s meals, even beer and wine!
If you don’t have time to sit and relax get it on the go and stop by the tropical concession stand. Serving up cold drinks, ice cream, hot dogs and sandwiches.
Bonus. All of their produce comes from local farms (#support your local farms).
If you get something and roam, please do NOT feed the animals. Their diets are not made for our food.
Best Time To Go
Our vacation to Palm Beach fell in the middle of July and it was definitely hot out.
We decided on the zoo spontaneously that day and by the time we got there it was about the middle of the day.
Did I mention it was hot?
We aren’t the only ones feeling that heat.
Most of the animals were playing it smart by this time of day and lounging around in the shade, taking a nap, or swimming in their pools, (making me jealous) to beat the heat.
That being said, if you are planning your trip in the summer, I recommend getting there early in the morning, when all the animals are active and enjoying the early morning air.
If you don’t mind the rain, they offer rainy day discounts and say that a lot of the animals are more active during the rain.
Overall I really loved this place! Learning about the different animals, as well as the conservation efforts. They work hard to inform the public of the roles we can play to help. It’s just wonderful.
Everyone should learn the importance of all the creatures and organisms of this planet to help sustain it.
Kudos to Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park for your work.
Do you have a favorite zoo?
Have you been to this one?
Please share your stories and opinions with us.