Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, located in the Jacksonville, Florida area, is a unique animal park overflowing with fun for the entire family. The 65-acre zoo was opened in 1914 with a mere 40 animals and has since grown to become one of the most beloved zoos in the country, housing more than 2,000 animals. As its name implies, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens feature a variety of stunningly beautiful gardens that act as an oasis for visitors and inhabitants alike.

What makes Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens unique?

Commitment to Sustainability and Education

One unique aspect of the zoo is its commitment to sustainability and education. The zoo's operations are powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, making it one of the nation's greenest zoos. Additionally, staff members host educational programs throughout the year that teach visitors about conservation initiatives and life cycles within animal populations so they can be better stewards of nature.

Animals From All Over the World

Another great thing about this zoo is that it houses animals from all over the world. You can observe creatures native to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, and even North America! For those who want an international experience without leaving home, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens offers a perfect way to connect with wildlife from around the planet.

The animals you can see include:

  • Bears
  • Giraffes
  • Monkeys
  • Lions
  • Tigers
  • Rhinos
  • Gorillas
  • Flamingos
  • Jaguars
  • Ocelots
  • Maned wolves

Immersive Experiences

You can also enjoy immersive experiences to make your visit even more memorable. Observe animals up close with the "Behind the Scenes" tour or participate in various interactive activities like feeding some animals! The zoo also has a carousel, petting zoo, train rides, and much more for kids to enjoy.

You can also book a special overnight stay at the zoo. This unique experience allows you to get an up close and personal look at the animals and their habitats and learn more about conservation efforts.

Unique Events

Each year, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens hosts unique events, such as:

  • Music concerts. These include family-friendly music and food experiences during the summer months.
  • Day camps for kids. During select weekdays, children can participate in fun and educational programs that teach them about conservation and animal care.
  • Exhibits. The zoo features various special exhibits, such as its seasonal "Butterflies" exhibit, where visitors can observe these beautiful creatures up close.
  • 5K races. Enjoy the beautiful outdoor setting while running a 5K race, where proceeds benefit the zoo's conservation efforts.
  • Holiday celebrations. Get into the festive spirit with special holiday events like "Boo at the Zoo" on Halloween.


In addition to its vast array of animals and gardens, the zoo offers various amenities, such as:

  • A 4-D Theater Outdoor playgrounds and splash zones for kids to cool off in during warmer months
  • Picnic areas equipped with grills for visitors to enjoy a family cookout
  • A carousel for younger children Gift shops that sell unique souvenirs, books, and toys
  • Themed cafes and snack stands

Conservation Efforts

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens puts a strong emphasis on conservation. Through initiatives such as the Florida Panther Program, the zoo ensures that endangered species are allowed to breed in captivity. You can also enjoy learning about animal welfare through interactive exhibits, exploring the live butterfly garden, and participating in animal-adoption programs.