Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens: A-Z Guide for First-Time Visitors

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Handy Information Details
👪 Good For Families, Nature Enthusiasts, Educational Trips
💲 Ticket Price General admission prices start at $24.95 for children ages 3-12. Children under 3 are free
⏰ Opening Time 9:00 AM (subject to seasonal changes)
🕔 Closes At 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:00 PM; subject to seasonal changes)
🌸 Best Time to Visit Spring and Fall for mild weather and active animals; warmer months for Splash Ground and Play Park. Weekdays to avoid crowds.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens offer diverse experiences, from guided tours to travel programs that allow visitors to explore exotic destinations and observe wild creatures in their natural habitats.

The zoo’s award-winning “Range of the Jaguar” exhibit allows guests to view jaguars in a unique setting and is recognized as one of the largest jaguar exhibits in the nation. 

The zoo is laid out in an easy-to-navigate way, with plenty of shade and options to keep everyone entertained, making it an ideal destination for a full-day experience or a shorter visit. 

Visitors can also book group guided tours led by knowledgeable guides, offering an educational experience filled with fun facts and animal stories. 

Whether exploring the zoo’s diverse ecosystems, observing wildlife, or participating in educational tours, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens provide all visitors an enriching and enjoyable experience.

Join us to explore, learn, and create lasting memories at Jacksonville’s premier wildlife sanctuary.

Why Is Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens Worth Visiting?

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is a must-visit destination, blending wildlife education with an immersive experience. 

It’s not just a zoo, but a journey into diverse habitats, hosting over 2,000 animals and 1,000 plants. 

The educational programs are a highlight, offering interactive experiences that extend beyond the zoo’s gates, including virtual sessions. 

These programs cater to various audiences, from school groups to families, making the zoo ideal for learning and entertainment.

History of Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Tracing its roots back over a century, Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens began in Springfield and has become a celebrated conservation and education center. 

The zoo boasts significant attractions like the Range of the Jaguar and the Land of the Tiger, emphasizing immersive animal experiences. 

With a commitment to conservation, the zoo participates in numerous global initiatives and has partnered with Guyana to protect the Iwokrama Forest, demonstrating its role in global ecological stewardship.

Did You Know?

The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, initially located in Springfield, has evolved significantly since its inception, now attracting over one million visitors annually and being recognized for its conservation efforts and innovative exhibits.

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens Tickets

Accessing the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is straightforward, with tickets available online or at the entrance. 

Visitors can choose from general admission to all exhibits or tickets for specific exhibits. 

General admission tickets start at $24.95; discounts are offered to seniors and military personnel. 

A notable aspect is the zoo’s membership program, now priced at $75, offering an affordable way to enjoy the zoo throughout the year. Military families benefit from a 10% discount at the Guest Relations window.

    Ticket prices & discounts:

    • Ages 0 – 2: Free
    • Ages 3 – 12: $24.95
    • Ages 13 – 64: $29.95
    • Ages 65+: $27.95

    Military Discount:

    • Adults (13 to 64): $26.95
    • Children (3 to 12): $22.45

    Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens Exhibits

    Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is a haven for over 2,000 exotic animals and an array of plant species, offering a rich educational experience. 

    Visitors can enjoy up-close interactions with wildlife through engaging keeper chats and animal feedings. 

    Did You Know?

    The Land of the Tiger exhibit at Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens features an innovative walk-through trail system, allowing visitors an immersive experience and a closer view of the tigers, demonstrating the zoo’s commitment to creating engaging, educational animal encounters.

    The zoo’s diverse attractions, such as the Land of the Tiger, Range of the Jaguar, Wildlife Train, and Play Park, ensure a comprehensive and enjoyable visit for all ages. 

    These exhibits, along with interactive offerings like the Wildlife Carousel and 4D Theater, make the zoo not just a place to observe animals, but a dynamic environment for learning and fun.

    Top Highlights of Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

    Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens offers a rich mix of experiences, ranging from close animal encounters to peaceful walks among gardens. 

    This destination caters to a variety of interests and age groups. 

    It’s a place where wildlife, nature, and fun converge to create memorable experiences. Visitors can expect both educational insights and playful adventures.

    1. The Range of Animals

    Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens features award-winning exhibits like the Range of the Jaguar and the innovative Land of the Tiger. 

    Additional exhibits include the Plains of East Africa, the Australian Outback, African Forest, and Wild Florida, each offering a glimpse into unique habitats and fauna.

    2. The Gardens

    The zoo’s gardens merge botanical beauty with animal habitats, creating a diverse and vibrant environment. This harmonious blend offers visitors a chance to experience flora and fauna from across the globe.

    3. Play Park and Splash Ground

    The Play Park and Splash Ground provide interactive and enjoyable spaces for younger visitors. These areas reflect the zoo’s dedication to creating fun and engaging experiences for all guests.

    4. The Wildlife Carousel

    The Wildlife Carousel is a charming zoo feature, offering a fun ride against a backdrop of animal exhibits. It captivates visitors with its design and provides an educational aspect to the zoo experience.

    5. The Train Ride

    The Wildlife Train ride offers a unique perspective of the zoo, showing animal habitats and exhibits from a different vantage point. 

    This ride is more than just transportation; it’s an exploratory adventure, uncovering parts of the zoo not easily seen on foot.

    Best Time To Visit Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

    Early mornings, when the zoo opens at 9 am, are ideal for visiting Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. 

    This is when the animals are most active and visible. As the day warms up, many animals retreat to shaded areas, making them harder to spot. 

    Starting early allows visitors to cover a significant portion of the zoo before lunch. 

    However, weekends and public holidays typically see higher visitor numbers, so planning your visit on a weekday could be more peaceful.

    Getting There

    Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is conveniently located just off Highway 17 in Jacksonville, Florida.

     It’s an easy drive from nearby Florida and Valdosta, Georgia areas. The zoo offers free parking and is easily accessible from the parking lot, making it a hassle-free visit for those driving.

    Insider Tips for Visiting Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

    A trip to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens can vary from a full-day adventure to a shorter visit, depending on your interests. 

    You can either immerse yourself in exhibits, interactive activities and play areas or opt for a quicker tour by skipping certain sections. On average, spending 4 to 6 hours at the zoo is sufficient to enjoy all the highlights without feeling rushed.

    Interesting Facts about Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

    Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens offers a range of interactive experiences like giraffe feedings and behind-the-scenes tours, deepening visitor engagement with the animals. 

    The zoo’s commitment to conservation is evident in its participation in over 50 conservation initiatives and 95 Species Survival Plans. 

    Since 1999, the zoo has been home to a breeding colony of wild wood storks, a rare bird in North America, showcasing the zoo’s unique wildlife offerings.

    Dining Options at Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

    While the zoo has no dedicated dining area, it features various food vendors and concessions throughout the premises. 

    Visitors also have the option to bring their own food and drinks, as long as they are in sealed containers, allowing for a more personalized dining experience within the zoo.

    Other Attractions Nearby Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

    Several attractions are worth exploring in the vicinity of Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. 

    The Jacksonville Landing offers a beautiful waterfront park and marina experience, while the nearby Jacksonville Landing Maritime Museum provides an engaging educational experience. 

    For families with children, the First Coast Children’s Museum is a great nearby destination with interactive exhibits for kids of all ages.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens: A-Z Guide for First-Time Visitors

    Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens has over 2,000 exotic animals, including tigers, jaguars, elephants, and many birds and reptiles. The zoo also features a significant number of rare and endangered species.

    The zoo’s special exhibits include the Range of the Jaguar, the award-winning Land of the Tiger, the Plains of East Africa, the Australian Outback, the African Forest, and Wild Florida, each showcasing unique animals and habitats.

    Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is located in Jacksonville, Florida, easily accessible off Highway 17. It’s a short drive from both Valdosta, Georgia, and surrounding areas in Florida, with free parking available near the zoo entrance.

    The zoo typically opens at 9 am, and closing times can vary, so it’s best to check the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens’ official website for the most current opening hours, especially as they can change seasonally or for special events.

    There is no formal dress code for Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, but visitors are encouraged to dress comfortably and weather-appropriately. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended due to the size of the zoo.

    There is no formal dress code for Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, but visitors are encouraged to dress comfortably and weather-appropriately. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended due to the size of the zoo.

    Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens offers various guided tours, including behind-the-scenes experiences and educational tours. These can be booked in advance and provide an in-depth look at the zoo’s operations and animal care.

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