A Day at Zoo Miami: What to Know Before You Go

Girls at zoo miami
My kids, Grace and Gianna, enjoying Zoo Miami

Our family loves spending the day at Zoo Miami. We’ve had an annual pass for a couple of years now, and every time we visit, we discover something new. It’s such a great way to spend an entire day, or just a couple of hours.

Fun For All at Zoo Miami

Some days we’ll pack up our stuff and head to the zoo for an entire day. We’ll look for animals, learn about their habitats, let the kids run free in the playground area, stop for lunch and end the day by going to the water splash pad, where our girls can get soaked and cool off after an active, fun-filled day.

Some of our favorite things to do at the zoo include feeding the giraffes, going on a camel ride, riding the wildlife carousel, interacting with and feeding the birds, watching the jaguars in the Amazon & Beyond exbibit, and learning all about the zoo’s conservation efforts and the many animals that reside there while listening to zookeeper presentations.

For lunch, we usually stop and grab a burger or chicken tenders at Oasis Grill, located near the splash pad and playground. On our last visit, we tried the trendy new indoor Nourish 305 restaurant. You’ll find salads, sandwiches and flatbreads on the menu. I ordered a chicken flatbread warmed up with pesto and mushrooms and it was really tasty.

Spend an Afternoon

If we only have a couple of hours, we head to the zoo and just hang out in the playground, pack some sandwiches and drinks, and just enjoy the great outdoors and the many features found in the Florida: Mission Everglades exhibit. This is a great place to go if you don’t have much time. Here, you can crawl through a tube in the crocodile habitat to get a close-up look, slide down the river otter exhibit, walk across a floating rope bridge above an alligator pit, play in the new Cypress Landing Playground, see a variety of animals, such as black bears, the Florida panther and a bald eagle, or just sit back and relax while you enjoy a river boat ride.

Zoo Miami
Entrance to the zoo

What to Know Before You Go

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you pack up the kids and head to the zoo. 

  • Pack sunscreen: Even when it’s cool outside, the sun can still affect you, so it’s a good idea to apply some sunscreen on the kids and adults, too.
  • Stay hydrated: Be sure to drink plenty of water. I know a few moms who freeze water bottles and take them to the zoo. And here’s an insider tip: If you save your zoo cups, you can get $1 refills.
  • Plan for a few extra charges: Some activities will cost a little extra, so take some money just in case, The Lostman’s River Ride, for instance, is $5 per person. The giraffe feeding, which I highly recommend, is $5 per feed or $12 for an entire basket (which is perfect for the whole family).
  • Take a stroller: It’s a lot of walking, so be prepared and take a stroller if you have a toddler that isn’t too keen on walking far. We’re already way past the stroller stage in our house, but I recommend it for the little ones.
  • Pack a change of clothes: If you plan on spending the day at the zoo, take a change of clothes for the splash pad. Trust me, once they see all the kids having fun, they’ll want to join in, too!

Most importantly, have fun! We’ve really enjoyed having an annual pass and we try to go to the zoo a few times a year. It’s totally worth it!