I hate zoos.
I blame it on the fact that my mother adores the cheap entertainment that staring at animals provides and insisted on spending most of my childhood wandering from one animal exhibit to another. You can only watch monkeys eat bugs off one another so many times before you start to become apathetic towards the miracles of the Animal Kingdom.
But even I, along with my two kids, enjoy the heck out of The Central Florida Zoo.
Although I’m certain the Brevard Zoo would argue that they have equal claim to the name, The official Central Florida Zoo is located in Sanford, Florida. As Google Maps will tell you, it’s located on Highway 17/92 – but the entrance is easy to miss with the small sign and massive overgrowth of roadside vegetation in the area.
The zoo is small. It doesn’t begin to compare to a larger attraction like the San Diego Zoo. And maybe that’s why my family enjoys it so much.
You may only spend a couple of hours walking along the clearly marked paths, or your kids could spend the entire day participating in hands on demonstrations and petting live animals that the staff bring out.
The zoo is located in Florida, which means the ample shade, air conditioned buildings and water attraction for the kids are especially appreciated in the hot summer months. (Yes, water attraction. Let the little ones wear their suits to the zoo!)
Another added feature exclusive to Florida zoos is the massive alligator and crocodile exhibits. Bring hot dogs! The crocodile displays are equipped with tubes that you can send food shooting through so that you can watch the animals snap at the airborne meat.
The zoo is open year-round, seven days a week (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is $10.95 for adults, $6.95 for kids over 2, and FREE for kids under 2. Which means my family of four can enjoy the Florida weather for less than $30 – including the cups of Cocoa Puffs to feed the lamas in the petting zoo!