Jungle Island in Miami – Much More Than a Zoo – Florida

The main draw that I had for Jungle Island in Miami Florida, while doing searches for what to do with kids in Miami, was their animal interaction tours and shows. Walking past animal enclosures is one thing, but having contact with animals and seeing them in educational shows is what really brings that animal to life for my kids and helps them understand better about who they are.

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Jungle Island, formerly known as Parrot Jungle, is about ten minutes from South Beach Miami, where we were staying.

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What to do and see in Jungle Island in Miami:

1. Holding the Animals – As you enter you are greeted by tons of staff holding different animals for kids (and adults) to be photographed with such as gators, snakes, macaws. The idea is great until you realize you can’t take any photos. They have staff photographers for this and the price is around $20 each.

I have no problem paying for pictures with my kids and animals, but the fact that it’s the first thing you see when you enter, put a bit of a sour start for us.  Without even setting foot into the actual property, you already have almost $100 (if you have one child) of souvenirs you are hoping your kid will forget about so you don’t have to buy it.

TIP: right behind where all this is going on, they have a fun exhibit of Macaws that you can get up close to.

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2. Animals –  Jungle Island has Ligers! That is a tiger and lion mixed together. Ok, this is pretty amazing. I have never ever seen this in my life and it was just incredible to have one right in front of us. And they are sooo huge!

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Plus, another amazing exhibit is the white lions. My kids literally spent over thirty minutes just watching them.  And they knew it, cause they kept on coming up to the windows and rubbing against them.

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There are also tons of birds that are super up close for kids (and husbands) to tease.

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3. Petting zoo – I love petting zoos. Many people think they are over rated, but I have to say that my kids get to touch and see how the animals react. Nothing beats hands on encounters. You can also buy baby bottles to give to the goats.

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By the time you feed them, they are so stuffed since everyone is feeding them, it’s actually hard to find one that will comply and drink from you.

4. More animal interaction – through out the park there are tons of stations where you can touch, feed or even ride an animal. Each one costing between $3 – $5. If you do them all, including the photos, this can cost you well into hundreds of $$$. I found this to be a bit overwhelming.

5. Animal Shows – this is without a doubt the highlight of this park. There are several shows a day. The most popular ones are:

  • Winged Wonders – this is a bird show and truly spectacular
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  • Wild Encounters – showing the big cats and monkeys that are at the park
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  • Dr. Wasabi’s Wild Adventure – this one was the most amusing by far. You can tell that Dr. Wasabi truly TRULY loves animals and his job. His passion ignites the show and is one NOT TO BE MISSED.
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VIP tours - apparently this is a one-of-kind tour. Here you get behind the scenes look at the animals, play with them and other fun things. It was sold out while we were there, so we didn’t get a chance to do it hands on. But I am told that it’s $240 per person. I’m not sure if $800 is worth it for my family.

My Take On It:

The shows are what truly made the day for us. They were fun, full of entertainment and exquisite wildlife up close. The Ligers and white lions also blew us away.

I loved all the animal interactions that are available, but honestly, with each one costing around $5, I had to say a lot of NO’s to my kids which in turn made them all sad and angry that they can’t do it. Instead of it being all happy the kids started to become angry that they can’t enjoy the place. Which they have good reason for. Maybe have less where you need to pay, or make it more affordable.

Gratefully, the shows were so fun, that they stopped their complaining and forgot all about feeding the red kangroos or riding the turtles.

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Important Information for Jungle Island:

Jungle Island
Hours: Monday-Friday: 10am to 5pm / Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 6pm
Address: 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami, Florida 33132
Phone: (305) 400-7000
Cost: Adult: 35.26 / Child: 26.70

I worked with Visit Florida and Miami and Beaches to help me organize this trip and activities for my family. Both were extremely helpful in giving advice and making our trip wonderful!

 

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Article by Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!
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2 Responses to Jungle Island in Miami – Much More Than a Zoo – Florida

  1. Rachel says:

    That sounds fun.. your kids did had a great time didn’t they, though your wallet did cry a lot. I love those shows in the zoo; I once saw a monkey do basketball and skateboarding, that was pretty amazing! It could have been awesome though if they named the ‘ligers’ ‘saberlions’ instead.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: 5 Things to Do in Miami Florida with Kids

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