The Palm Beach Zoo: A Tropical Experience
Our Weekly Date Night Adventure
My husband and I choose one day a week to venture out on a date. We enjoy eating at different restaurants and visiting new places. We reflect upon our visit afterwards and give them a rating according to our experience. This week we decided to do a "day date" instead and toured the Palm Beach Zoo. Although it is not as big as other zoos we have visited, the layout and tropical setting are a true delight. It gives you the feeling that you are walking through a jungle as you go through dense foliage and view the animals on display.
The time spent there was very rewarding as we found out going late in the afternoon proved beneficial. At this time the animals are active as they await their dinner, and you can see most of them close up. We enjoyed watching the animals run and jump in anticipation of their meal, and the many different roars, chirping and whistling made by others.
The cafe service and food is excellent and offers a good menu that satisfies most every pallet. If you go, you have to explore the Mercado located in the Amazon Basin area. It has a unique marketplace setting similar to those you would find in any South American village. It is an enjoyable tour and most likely you will see one or two iguanas roaming about as you walk. They are quite big so I would advise steering away from them or allow them room to cross your path.
The Palm Beach Zoo is located in Dreher Park not far from Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach, Florida. It houses 1,400 animals on twenty-three acres of lush tropical habitat. The zoo has an open-air classroom of living creatures to foster awareness, appreciation and respect for the natural world.¹ It has some of the most beautiful displays of tropical foliage and flowers in a setting that simulates a walk through a jungle.
Upon entering the zoo, an interactive fontain welcomes children to play among the sprays of dancing water. Many schools take advantage of the fun activity during summer camp when they visit the zoo. The zoo also has a carousel featuring painted animals common to the tropics. Children love to ride on zebras, gazelles, hummingbirds, dolphins, panthers, bears and other animals native to the area.
It offers a full service restaurant, Tropics Cafe, in an Amazon Basin theme. Families can also dine outdoors almost any day of the year on the wood deck overlooking a beautiful lake. The menu carries a variety of food items from hot dogs to gourmet sandwiches. The attached gift shop is huge and sells animal-themed souvenir items as well as novelty gifts.
The zoo also has daily animal performances featuring birds, tigers, hedgehogs and primates. The talking tiger show is one of the highlights, but the most attended is the alligator demonstration. It is quite fascinating to watch these animals in action.
It is open year round with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The best time of year to go is between late November and end of April. The heat during the summer months can be intense and the animals prefer to stay hidden under trees and in indoor habitats to keep cool; therefore, going early in the morning is recommended.
Highlights From Our VisitClick thumbnail to view full-size
Other Zoo Facts and Interest
The zoo also offers programs attractive to families and educational groups. Many child care centers include the zoo in their summer camp programs. It is quite a trip for these youngsters and the educational experience is well worth the time and expense. If they register beforehand, the children can experience many animals up close through interactive zoo programs. They will encounter common animals as well as exotic, all at a safe distance.
The Palm Beach Zoo also promotes "green" living throughout the zoo grounds. They provide containers for recycling of trash and food items. Additionally they have adapted some of the animal habitats as learning zones for the teaching of positive environmental usage. Key water conservation tips are displayed in certain animal exhibit areas. The zoo is involved in many conservation projects around the world such as the Research and Conservation of Endangered Sea Turtles in Venezuela. All in all, the Palm Beach zoo provides a wonderful afternoon of adventure and first hand learning experience on the life of zoo animals.
¹ Source: palmbeachzoo.org