Along the I-4 corridor between Daytona Beach and Orlando sits an oasis amongst the pavement! Tucked along the shores of Lake Monroe sits a wild attraction you may not have realized is even there! The Central Florida Zoo has been an institution at this location since 1975. We had a chance to checkout the Central Florida Zoo and what we found was a great afternoon that we can do again and again!
As you may have already seen, we previously covered the Little Florida Coastline Train. This is a great little train ride that we have frequented that doesn’t require admission to the Central Florida Zoo. We after stop just for a quick train ride on the way to other adventures in Orlando. It’s a great way to spend some time if you’re main adventure is later in the day.
So we had been to the location before, but steered clear of actually paying admission and going into the zoo. We parked the car, bypassed the train ride and walked past the carousel to get to the main entrance. We walked through quite a few standalone attractions including the “Walk on Water Balls”, and the Zoom Air zipline course. These are an additional charge, but they are really fun to watch! We also noticed quite a few families enjoying a picnic lunch outside of the zoo, and there is plenty of shade to relax for a bit.
After going through the gate, we started to wander around the complex. We had a map but somehow managed to lose it within the first 20 feet of our journey. I could have gone back for another one, but that wouldn’t be much fun now would it? We were surprised at just how much the Central Florida Zoo had to offer as we zig zagged our way around the campus. I’m sure we missed quite a bit without having a game plan, but we didn’t mind.
So what is there to really do? For starters, one of the very first things we noticed is the Central Florida Zoo has a pretty cool splash park. It was too cold for our little guys to really experience it that day, but I can imagine this is the best kept secret in Seminole County during the summer time. Mom across the tri-county area must love to take their kiddos here. The splash park is great for toddlers, but remember it’s not a water park, just a way to cool down. Regardless, if I had my swim trunks and it wasn’t so cold I would have had a blast with the boys. Dressing rooms are available right on the outskirts of the splash area and the Central Florida Zoo snack bar and grill is located right next to it for convenience if you want a drink to help cool you down as well.
So we are off the see the animals! I won’t go through a step by step log of each animal we saw, but we did find the variety of animals to be quite impressive. Whenever we head to a zoo, we ALWAYS checkout the herpetarium with our little ones. The wife and I want to see if out lilt one can talk with snakes like Harry Potter. (Sorry, had a bit of a nerdy moment there..) While out oldest like snakes, we used it as a bit of a learning experience as well to talk with him about what to do if he ever sees one at home or out in the wild. I’m also a huge fan of the American Bald Eagle, and was pleased to see that their habitat was an open air habitat, and you could really get fairly close to see them. It’s great to make such a personal connection with such a deeply patriotic animal.
So we stopped by to see all sorts of critters including a playful river otter and even a few rhinos! Along the outskirts of the property, we found a playground sponsored by KaBOOM! which is like a search engine for playgrounds around the country. Our oldest seemed to really enjoy it while tiny and I went to checkout the giraffes. In the somewhat center of the Central Florida Zoo, you’ll find a pretty extensive collection of domesticated animals that the little ones can pet and even feed. I personally can’t recall the cost of the animal food, but it was very reasonable. Somewhere in the $2 or so range.
On the way out, we checked out the Discovery Center which housed a collection of insects. This was a bit ironic as the exhibit is sponsored by Massey Services, a pest control firm. Either way, it was pretty cool and a great way to end our little adventure. After a quick trip on the train, we left the Central Florida Zoo and came home relaxed and didn’t feel like we had taken a he road trip or anything. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and the pricing is reasonable for a family of 4.
Because of the proximity to our home, and the fact that it’s sort of on the way to many of our adventures we decided to pickup a family season pass so we could come back to visit the Central Florida Zoo anytime we want! We also plan to checkout their website in advance next time we go to see the animal feeding schedules so we can time our day appropriately. The Central Florida Zoo had a slight single day ticket increase as of January 1st, 2015, but didn’t seem too bad for what the Central Florida Zoo has to offer. Adults are $16.50 daily with children ages 3-12 being only $11.95. Children under 3 are FREE! A variety of annual pass options are available including single passes, family passes, a single parent pass, and even a grandparents pass. What we find to be unique are their “plus” options. You can get a single pass and then bring a friend! Prices for annual passes are going up as of March 1st to the prices below, but you can save a few dollars off if you purchase your passes before then.
I should also mention that AAA members get 20% off daily admission prices and 10% off an annual pass. US military veterans receive %10 off daily or annual passes as well. With reasonable prices, and lots to do, you’ll want to make the Central Florida Zoo an addition to your annual family fun budget!
Central Florida Zoo Details:
|Date(s):||Closed 12/25 & 11/27||Time(s):||9am to 5pm Daily|
|Address:||3755 NW Highway 17-92 Sanford, Fl|
|Phone:||407 323 4450|
|Estimated Cost For A Family of 4:||$56.90|
|Annual Pass Mentioned Above Is The Family Pass|