Few zoos truly can call themselves cage-less. Yet many (too many) pretend to fall into that category. In my opinion, long gone are the days when animals are boxed into small cages where they stress fully pace back and forth from one short end to the other. Miami Metro Zoo can definitely be placed above the rest and put on the same pedestal as San Diego Zoo and Bronx Zoo, to name of few. These Zoo Giants are truly the best there is, and we were lucky enough to go on a family adventure to Miami Metro Zoo, and this is my full experience
My kids have been to so many zoos and animal parks that it takes a lot to really excite us these days. However, aside from the wide open spaces for the animals, I have to say we were thoroughly impressed with the attraction as a whole rather than just another zoo.
Things To Do and See at Miami Metro Zoo:
1. Animals – Before you do anything, get the zoo map. It’s super helpful and can sometimes speed up restless kids to their favorite animals.
2. Feeding the animals – Also, except for some amazing surprises along the way. Find out which animals can be fed by guests on the day of your visit. This can literally be the highlight of your kid’s day. My son was able to feed a rhinoceros! A rhinoceros. This blew me away. He hand-fed it leaves. There are a few stations throughout the zoo. (For each animal feeding there is an extra price from $3 – $5)
3. Children’s zoo – This was super fun for the kids. The animals are so docile and domesticated that they simply hung out, letting everyone brush them. This is a good thing, we didn’t have to worry about them charging or doing anything that can traumatize my baby for life.
4. Exhibits – there are four major exhibits. You can either focus on the favorites first and, if you are up for it, and not too tired hit the ones you wanted to see least towards the end.
How to Get Around Miami Zoo:
1. Walking Path – the main path is about 4.5 miles, covering all of the zoo territory. If you’re up for a good walking day, this is definitely the way to go. We were lucky enough that it was an overcast day and the sun didn’t blaze down our necks. The weather as they say in photograph’s world was perfect for picture taking and weather too!
Paid Modes of Transportation Around the Metro Zoo
2. Monorail – ($3 per person) this is the train system that runs every 30 minutes from the four stations, the four main exhibits. It’s a great idea, however, if you arrive right when it leaves – do you really want to stand around and lose 30 minutes of your day? Needless to say, we missed it each and every time. You can take this as many times as you like during the day without extra payment.
3. Tram – ($4.95 per person) This train-on-wheels tour is NOT a get-on-get-off type of ride. It’s a great way to see all that the zoo has to offer, as a sightseeing tour. But then you will still either walk, take the monorail, or cycle around.
4. Cycle Rentals – ($22 small/ $32 large for 2 hours) In theory, this is a great way to get around. You can fit a family of 4 easily on the small and up to 8 people on the larger one.
However, the huge drawback for me is that the initial price is for two hours only. No one will ever use this for two hours. You need to have it for at least 4-6 hours and then the price becomes really hefty. I found this to be a huge disappointment.
Just going to the children’s zoo, you don’t use it for one hour because the kids play inside and there is a fun playground where they burn off even more energy.
Plus, watching all the people cycling, the ones doing the work, actually seems to exert more energy than walking around the zoo. Granted the kids get to rest, which is a huge deal. But isn’t that what strollers are good for?
My Take On It
We really enjoyed ourselves. The Rhino feeding was by far the best thing to do and also the children’s zoo where they have hands-on interaction with some animals. There are tons of great exhibits that I wouldn’t miss. If you don’t think you can do the whole zoo (it’s quite large) I recommend deciding with your family which exhibits you’d like to see and spend more time around there.
I was quite disappointed about the cycle rental. The price is high enough to make it a one-day rental rather than tack on the hourly fees. But in the end, we were grateful we decided to do the zoo on foot. We took our time, had the kids run around in the play areas which are scattered throughout the zoo.
But best of all, the animals’ cage-less surroundings really made it wonderful to see them relaxed.
Important Information for Miami Metro Zoo:
Miami Metro Zoo Review – What To Do With Kids In Miami