Main Camp Safari Lodge
The Zoo’s admission facility is 26,000 square feet; has a replicated African thatched roof; and houses the ticket gates, Guest Relations, Membership Offices, and the Mombasa Import/Export Shop, a 2,500 square foot store that sells animal-themed gifts. The Main Camp Café, a food kiosk that offers a variety of fast foods, is also located here. The Main Camp Safari Lodge offers several spaces available for rent, including the Samburu Room, a 1,900 square foot indoor facility; Shaba Terrace, a 69,000 square foot space that is located upstairs and is a covered, open-air venue used for larger, private or business-related events; and Mt. Kenya Boardroom, used for the Zoo’s Board meetings and is also available for small private or business meetings. Get more information about renting the Zoo.
River Valley Aviary
Home to exotic birds representing many different species, the River Valley Aviary is a two-story enclosure covering 9,000 square feet. It allows birds such as the yellow-billed stork, white-bellied bustard, lesser flamingos and turacos to fly about freely.
Guests can walk along the 1,400-foot long boardwalk and see the animals in their large, open environment called the Plains of East Africa.
The wart hog exhibit is to your right as you enter the loop.
The antelope exhibit is in the center of the loop around the Plains. Home to eastern bongo, impala and southern ground hornbills, the exhibit is spacious and tree-shaded. It is also home to a wild breeding colony of the endangered wood storks.
A pair of our saddle-billed storks is in the area across from the antelope exhibit. This rare stork species is the tallest of the African storks. Wattled cranes, the rarest of the African cranes, also occupy this area.
The cheetah exhibit is a 300-foot long, 50-foot wide area. Cheetahs are capable of running 70 miles per hour, making them the fastest four-legged animals in the world. White rhinoceros, greater kudu, and ostrich inhabit three exhibit areas that encompass a 2.5-acre area, allowing plenty of room for the animals to roam.
An okapi exhibit and a Grevy’s zebra exhibit are further along the boardwalk.
Elephant Plaza offers an intimate view of the elephants and their 275,000-gallon pool. Included in the same area is the African Reptile Building, home of some of the world’s deadliest snakes, such as vipers, cobras and mambas. In the Plaza, there are vultures, bats, klipspringers and other animals.
Mahali Pa Simiba (“Place of the Lion” in Swahili) is the one-acre home to our lions. These lions can be viewed from the overlook on the boardwalk or in a viewing area along the main path.
Angola colobus monkeys live in the area in front of the lions’ area. These monkeys move by leaping from tree to tree, which makes for a very lively exhibit.
Two highly endangered leopards are at the end of the African Loop and can be viewed from the gazebo or along the main path.
Stingray Bay is now a permanent exhibit at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Guests can pet and feed the stingrays in this fun and interactive exhibit. Pricing for this exhibit is available on the Hours & Admissions page.
Wild Florida is 2.5 acres of natural wetlands consisting of native animals and plants and is home to alligators, black bears, red wolves, whooping cranes, bald eagles, bobcats, Florida panthers, white-tailed deer and an owl species.
The Reptile House at Wild Florida is home to more than 25 different species of reptiles and amphibians including the eastern indigo snake, one of several threatened species protected by the State of Florida.
The alligators are located just north of the reptile house and are fed every Saturday at 2:15 p.m. from mid-March through November.
As visitors walk down the River of Color, Savanna Blooms is the first Themed Pocket Garden they will encounter. Savanna Blooms was completed in the Spring of 2005 and is nestled beneath the Giraffe Overlook. This unique 2 acre garden, fashioned after a South African oasis, transitions from soft grasslands and fine textured acacia leaves into a bold contemporary garden at its core. Kopje outcrops erupt from the landscape with a serene pool at its foundation that showcases African water lilies and water edge plants. Visitors rest beneath the curved trellis laden with fragrant flowering vines and view the garden’s splendor from an internal vantage point.
Take a stroll across the elevated viewing platform and get eye-to-eye with a giraffe. The covered boardwalk gives guests a breathtaking view across a replica of the African Savanna. Giraffe and greater kudu walk and graze freely in this 2.5 acre exhibit adjacent to the Savanna Blooms botanical gardens.
Visitors can get an up-close look at all three kinds of primates in the Great Apes exhibit. The three primate groups are apes, monkeys and prosimians. The ape primate group consists of the Western Lowland gorilla, bonobo, and siamangs. The mandrills and colobus monkeys represent the monkey primate group, and the prosimians include the ring-tailed and black-and-white ruffed lemurs.
Range of the Jaguar
The Range of the Jaguar is a two-time national award-winning South American exhibit. At the edge of the rainforest next to the animal exhibits is a village area where you’ll find the Palm Plaza restaurant, a gift shop and restrooms. In addition to enjoying the breathtaking jaguar exhibits, take the time to walk the winding halls of the captivating Lost Temple, a replica of an abandoned Mayan temple, to see bushmaster snakes, poison dart frogs, Amazon tree boa constrictors, anaconda, cotton-topped tamarins, pygmy marmosets and more.
Catch sight of howler monkeys, giant anteaters, capybaras and tapirs coexisting in the River’s Edge exhibit.
As an Inca tern flies overhead in the Emerald Forest Aviary, a pudu, the smallest deer species, might dart across your path. Look for a red-capped cardinal perched above you, a sunbittern sunning itself on a low branch or a macaw that’s close enough to touch. While in the aviary, you’ll have an opportunity to see the largest freshwater fish, the arapaima, which can grow up to 15 feet in length and can weigh up to 400 pounds, and freshwater stingrays.
Rare giant otters will entertain you with their playful antics at the back of the Aviary.
Play Park and Splash Ground
Please Note: Splash Ground will be open from March 17, 2013 through the end of September depending on weather. It will be open daily from 10 a.m. to one hour prior to Zoo closing.
Play Park is a place where children learn about and re-connect with nature while having fun. It occupies 2.5 acres located just past the Range of the Jaguar and the Wildlife Carousel in the center of the ZooLoop path.
Find your way through two mazes and then climb, jump and get wet in the 4,000 square-foot Splash Ground or discover and create in the Discovery Center. Imitate the squirrel monkeys by climbing on vines in front of their exhibit. Climb into a tree house, on the rock wall or dig for artifacts in the Forest Play area. Watch the penguins through a tunnel window as they swim overhead. Groom and pet the pygmy goats in the Animal Care area. And, enjoy kid-friendly food from the Play Park Café. Click here for a list of Splash Ground rules.
Also, don’t miss the penguins of Tuxedo Coast! Located inside Play Park, this penguin exhibit allows children to get up-close to these black-and-white swimmers.
The Gardens at Trout River Plaza
This garden space features a partially-walled botanical garden plaza that serves as a gathering and event space and offers a beautiful view of the Trout River. Central to the plaza is a celebratory fountain, where kids love to play in the water falling from a giant spill bowl. The fountain is topped by a basking anhinga bird sculpture and is surrounded by pebble mosaic paving that features a menagerie of animals of the Trout River. Springing from lush garden beds, 13 Grecian-style “living” columns topped with overflowing flowering urns give the Gardens a classical look. A planted trellis, lush and cool with colorful and fragrant vines, along with a number of large shade trees and themed lights all create a special area that can be enjoyed for private parties after hours.
Save the Frogs!: Amphibian Conservation Center
The greatest mass extinction since the dinosaurs is happening in our time. Faced with a shrinking habitat and the threat of a deadly fungus, frogs and other amphibian species from all over the world – even here in our own backyard – need our help to survive. On February 15, 2007, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens opened Save the Frogs! Amphibian Conservation Center, a sanctuary for amphibians in danger of contracting the deadly fungus. The Center allows visitors to see some of the threatened amphibians, hear the sounds of those that are already extinct, and learn what they can do to help.
Take a walkabout through the Australian Adventure exhibit. Animals in this South Pacific attraction include red kangaroos, wallabies, a cassowary, and the ever-popular and colorful lorikeets that you can feed in a free-flight aviary.
Tranquility abounds in this beautiful garden created in the hopes that it will resonate with people experienced in Asian cultures. A traditional Moon Gate welcomes visitors to the exotic garden that features a Lotus Pool, Moon Bridge, Koi Pond, Orchid Pavilion, and water falls all surrounded by bamboo and other Asian plants. Kids and adults love the Bamboo Mist Forest, home to our bronze Panda sculptures.
The Komodo Dragon exhibit is set in an Indonesian fishing village on the Island of Komodo. There, it appears that the two Komodo dragon residents are wandering the backyards of the village or basking in the sun. Visitors will periodically get an opportunity to see zookeepers train the animals through an interactive panel in public view.
Video Courtesy of John R. Markert of Accel Video Productions, Accelvideo.com