With the “Big Ones” like Animal Kingdom and Busch Gardens out of the way, you may be searching for a new animal-focused attraction to enjoy with your partner or children. Lucky for you, Central Florida has no shortage of zoos and animal attractions. From afternoon trips to full day excursions, check out these top spots to visit to learn more about the lovely creatures we share this planet with.
Giraffe Ranch is an incredible opportunity to take a tour or pick a custom experience for an eco-adventure that will last a lifetime. The ranch provides five different safari-style experiences which include:
- Wildlife drive-thru safari
- Custom safari vehicle tour
- Segway safari tour
- Camel safari tour
- Llama trek
These are charged by the car or by the person depending on the tour selected and it presents a unique experience.
Giraffe Ranch is home to over 70 different species. While guests may not see every single animal on their tour as the animals are able to roam about, there will be plenty for guests to see. The animals at Giraffe Ranch include zebras, antelope, otters, monkeys, warthogs, giraffes, and more.
In addition to the tours offered, guests can experience the following options add-ons (for an additional cost):
- Otter feeding
- Rhino encounter
- Premium giraffe encounter
- Camel mini-safari
- Premium cheetah encounter
Located in Pasco County, Giraffe Ranch is a working ranch that is licensed by the USDA and FWC that eats up 47 gorgeous acres pressing up against the Green Swamp. Keep in mind, this is not your typical zoo and it’s certainly not a theme park. Giraffe Ranch is a wildlife preserve that aims to properly educate its visitors while allowing the animals to exist in expansive environments.
The experiences at Giraffe Ranch are by reservations only.
Cost: $119 - $239 per person depending on experience
Location: 38650 Mickler Road Dade City, FL 33523
Gatorland with its crocodiles, alligators, and experiences like the gator gauntlet zip line is about as Floridian as you can get. If you didn’t hear the Florida Man call when you crossed state lines you’ll certainly hear it as you enter the giant alligator mouth entrance to this 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve in Orlando. Self-proclaimed “Alligator Capital of the World”, Gatorland has been educating guests about alligators and safety since 1949.
Gatorland is home to various types of gators (obviously), a plethora of birds, a few wild cats, an assortment of crocodiles, and both tortoises and snakes. Most people come to see the crocodiles and alligators. Gatorland is home to Nile, Cuban, Saltwater, and American Crocodiles. The alligators you’ll find at Gatorland include American, Leucistic, and Albino. You’re also likely to see plenty of baby gators too.
Beyond the animal exhibits, Gatorland provides plenty of experiences for guests to partake in. These experiences include:
- Adventure Hour
- Screamin’ Gator Zipline
- Gator Gauntlet
- Gator Night Shine
- Trainer For a Day
- Photographer’s Pass
- Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventures
- Allie’s Barnyard Petting and Feeding
In addition, you’ll also have the opportunity to check out shows like the Gator Jumparoo Show, Alligators: Legends of the Swamp, and Up Close Encounters. During these shows, visitors will learn about snakes and watch as gators leap out of the water up to four feet in the air.
Single-day admission tickets are available if you only want to spend one day in the park. But for those who want to head back again and again, annual passes may be a better option. These aren’t that much more expensive at around $44.99 for an adult with lower prices for children and seniors.
If you’re still not convinced to give this location a try, you should note that they have a homemade fudge kitchen on the premises with flavors from chocolate peanut butter to maple pecan. If that doesn’t convince you to head to Gatorland, nothing will.
Cost: $26.99 per adult and $16.99 per child
Location: 14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail Orlando, FL 32837