Children under 3 enter free.
The Garden and Zoo have extended hours on weekends through Labor Day.
The train runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Satuday and Sunday. Train admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 3 to 12; under 3 free. Wildlife Carousel $2.
Every year the Jacksonville Zoo gets better and better.
Have you ever fed a giraffe? You can do this at the Jacksonville Zoo! For only a couple of dollars, you can feed the giraffes!!
With the new Tiger exhibit now completely open and active, you're sure to see a few big cats roaming around or laying under a waterfall.
Don't want to walk the zoo? Ride the train! There's also a whole new transportation experience for 2015-- Airboats!
On a super hot day, you MUST have a SnoCone. They are SO yummy!!!
If you live in the Jacksonville are, I highly recommend the Annual Pass. Depending on the size of your family, it pays for itself in only a couple of visits. I have a family of seven, we can go twice in one year to pay for the annual pass.
There's something for EVERYONE at the Jacksonville Zoo!
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida is amazing. The Jacksonville Zoo is unique in that it not only provides a home for animals but it is also listed as a Botanical Garden.
The Botanical Gardens is intertwined throughout the zoo so you are able to enjoy its beauty from almost anywhere inside the zoo. There are Pocket Gardens located throughout several exhibits in the zoo and then the Main Path, The River of Color, begins at the zoo entrance and flows throughout the zoo. Garden tours are available during certain times of the year so check their website and plan your visit accordingly.
There are several wonderful Animal Areas/Exhibits. A few of them include, the Giraffe Overlook, The Land of the Tiger, Save The Frogs, Great Apes and the Range of the Jaguar.
Our absolute favorite exhibit was the zoo's newest exhibit The Land of the Tiger. The tigers were able to roam so close to the glass enclosure that it felt like you were right next to them. We visited in the morning and the tigers were very active. They were walking around and interacting with each other. It is such an experience. There is a "catwalk" that allows the tigers to roam around the exhibit, including above your head. Very unique!
Surprisingly, I think our next favorite exhibit was the Save the Frogs exhibit. We visited during feeding time so my boys, ages 8, 8 and 6, had a blast experiencing how a frog captures and enjoys its food. I have to admit that I was amazed as well.
Our third favorite was probably the apes. They are amazing creatures but my boys loved watching them interact with each other and one of them clapped at us. Well, it may not have been at us but it clapped and they got a huge kick out of it.
The zoo also had a great splash pad/water area for the kids and playground areas. They also offer several tours and walks that you will want to enjoy.
Again, this is an amazing zoo. You really do get two attractions in one when you visit the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. You do not want to miss out on this fabulous experience with your family during your visit to Jacksonville.
Check the zoo website before visiting so that you can plan your day.
Call the zoo before visiting as it gets pretty packed during their special discount days. Especially during their $2 and $3 days. If you choose to take advantage of the discount plan on getting in line prior to the zoo opening to ensure that you can get in.
Disclosure: This review is my own and based on a complimentary visit to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Visit Jacksonville nor the park required that I express a particular point of view.
We have been here many, many times and love it. The zoo is large compared to others that I have been to. The whole zoo is very well maintained with a lot of beautiful plants that are labeled. It is great for amateur nature photographers. The animal enclosures are large, clean, and well kept. There are large viewing areas so you aren't crowding to get a view of the animals.
The Jacksonville Zoo is a great place to take your children or grandchildren. In addition to all of the animals and beautiful gardens, you will find a train ride, a splash area, and a carousel to ride. The zoo nights around Halloween are so much fun to attend. They also do a New Years Eve during the day for the kids to enjoy. The price structure offers varied prices from individual tickets to family admissions.
When I visit a zoo, I am typically looking for happy, well-cared for animals in open, natural enclosures. I'm not as interested in the extras like Merry Go Rounds, Choo choo trains, etc. But on our recent trip to the Jacksonville Zoo, I must admit that I was very thankful for all those extras. In particular, I was thrilled by the dinosaur exhibit.
The Jacksonville zoo is lovely. Though we did not visit every single animal exhibit, as my son was a bit grumpy on a hot-hot day, those we did visit were nice. The animals seemed to have good, natural space, similar to what we see at the North Carolina Zoo. A trip on the train allowed us to see some of the animals' enclosures at night and I was impressed to see enrichment activities even in their evening enclosures. The enrichment activities included tunnels to climb through and high perches for elevated status for the large cats, though there were others that I can't remember.
Since it was a hot day and my son was Captain Grumpy Pants, I was oh-so-relieved to ride the Merry Go Around a few times and then head over to the Dinosaur exhibit. This path winds through a plethora of dinos - herbivores and a few scary carnivores. Be warned that a young child might be afraid of the sounds made by the T-Rex and even some of the smaller meat eaters. But rest assured, at the end of the dino trek is an archeological "dig" that allows young paleontologists to explore the sand and find dino "fossils". There are also a few mechanical dinos that the kids can move with handles and gears. It was a great exhibit, especially for children who have been to multiple zoos multiple times and are FAR more interested in prehistoric animals than lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Last but not least, on this 90 degree day, was a trip to the SPLASH PAD! Again, I'm usually looking for education, happy animals, and a natural day, not bells and whistles. But I must say I was super relieved to let the kids splash in the water climbing on statues of various marine life, while the adults kicked back in the shade. We even enjoyed some shaved ice and then we were on our way home for naps. It was hot, exhausting, and absolutely fabulous!
I would definitely give this zoo 4.5 stars if I could. It's well worth a visit!
The gardens were absolutely beautiful! I found myself wanting to pose our family in front of so many places for a perfect family picture!
There was a variety of animals and they all had more room to roam then I have ever seen in a zoo environment before.
Of course the train was a huge hit for my train loving boys! I really liked that you can buy the train bracelet and ride unlimited.
We really enjoyed our trip to the Jacksonville Zoo!
My 1-year-old daughter loves the zoo. I especially like to take her in the mornings when the crowds have not yet arrived, and the animals are more active. My husband and I also enjoy the zoo. It is not as big as those major zoos in DC, Atlanta, and San Diego, but this zoo is a nice size for kids. We go at least once a month.
We LOVE the Jacksonville Zoo. I can not say enough good about it. I have a 22 mth. old and we have been taking him to this zoo since he was born. It has been fun to see him interacting with his surroundings more and more as he gets older. The train offers a wonderful, cool ride around the zoo and I highly recommend it. Our favorites exhibit is the giraffes. You get close up and personal with them. You can even feed them! I think my son would sit for hours watching them (and he rarely sits for anything!). It gets busier on weekends and when school is off but if you can go during the week, it is a typically very quiet and relaxing.
The Jacksonville Zoo is a great place to spend time with your family. It is very well maintained. The animals are always lively! My family loves to spend time there! There is a fabulous playground for the kids to play on and in the summer there is a water park. They have a penguins exhibit and also an area where you can feed the giraffes. My kids absolutely love that!!
We live about 30 miles north of this zoo and we have a season pass. We love this zoo! It's great for kids and my family enjoys going every time they visit. There is a water park that is open in the summer months that the kids thoroughly enjoy. There is also a kids play area and a petting zoo. Overall it's great fun as a family.
I bought a membership for my son and I a few months back, and it has already paid for itself. I love that the habitats are more natural than what it was when I was a kid. We are a little disappointed at some of the animals missing from the zoo (no tigers or hippos) but they are always acquiring new animals, so maybe one day...
My son's favorite exhibit is the new Penguin exhibit. The penguins are really cute, although the glass is already getting dirty, making it hard to see them. The giraffes are my favorite. There always seem to be babies and they are too cute. You can feed the giraffes for a couple of dollars, and I think they are the best photo op in the park. You can also feed stingrays (for another couple of bucks), but note that the food includes shrimp, so if allergies are an issue you might want to pass. (It seemed obvious to me, but I once heard a mother complaining that no one told her about the shrimp, and her kid was allergic.. )
There are a few restaurants on-site, as well as carts throughout the park. Nothing gourmet, but the food is good and the drinks are cold. The prices are not too bad either.
There is a slash park open from (approx) March to September. It is a blessed escape from the summer heat. Just remember to bring swim diapers for your little ones who are not potty trained.
The zoo train is a perfect way to end the day and get closer to the front gate while resting your tired feet. It too costs a little extra, but is well worth it to me.
ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFFFFFFFIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCC...My Kids loved the zoo, especially Michael JAcksons Relieved Elephant.............
We LOVE the Jacksonville Zoo. We found that even just going a few times a year the membership was more economical than paying each visit, and with the membership we don't feel bad going for just a couple of hours at a time. The splash pad is great for cooling off in the summer heat, and the shaved ice is a necesity in the summer heat too :)
THe zoo is always clean and the animals appear to be happy and well cared for.
Our favorites are the elephants, giraffes, and gorilla...and of course the train and carousel (both cost a littles extra). We never see the whole zoo at one time, but our limit with 2 3 year olds and an infant is about 4-5 hours, so I'm sure with older kids and a longer attention span you could make a whole day of it.
There is a picnic area in the parking lot with a playground and if we bring our lunch we sometimes eat there, but the bathrooms in htat area leave a lot to be desired. Otherwise the food inside the zoo is pretty good...chicken nuggets, burgers, and fries or wraps, nachos, and salads.
Parking gets full early sometimes when the weather is niceon the weekends, so plan on parking in the dirt lot and hiking to the gate.
The zoo is wonderful. They keep improving it each year by adding new things. The water play area is great in the hot summer for a break for the kids. The new penguin exhibit is terrific and unusual especially here in Florida. Family membership is the way to go to save money. It also gives you discounts and free admissions to zoos all over the country.
It was a fun place and they have added a couple new things since we were last there. They have a beautiful Asian Garden now that has a huge koi pond and friendly fish. And the komodo dragons were nice to see. The second exhibit was the Penguin one, and the line was too long for us (aka our 3 year) to wait in so we did not see that... Otherwise, a typical zoo.
We have a season pass and love going to the zoo. The volunteers are very knowledgeable and if you manage to go on a weekday, take some time to ask them some questions. They are always updating and adding to the zoo so we look forward to each visit. We find it's best to go early in the week, as field trips tend to be scheduled for Thursdays & Fridays from what we've seen. They offer classes for kids for an additional fee.
There's a picnic area in the parking lot if you want to bring your lunch with you. They also sell lunches at various places throughout the park. I've also never had a problem bringing in food for my little one and drinks for us both.
The train ride is great especially when your legs get tired (as little legs often do!) It's the best way to view the cheetahs and other African animals. It does cost extra for the train, to feed the giraffes, the carousel, and to go into Stingray Bay. They do offer discounts to members for most things.
In the playpark you'll find the splash park (open during the hot summer months), a pygmy goat petting area, a playground, spider monkeys with "vines" for the kids to pretend, and a few other areas for them to use their imaginations. There's also a Discovery center in there but my 2 year old seems too young to appreciate it - mom can appreciate the air conditioning though!
When the weather's nice we try to go at least twice a month. 3-4 hours seems to be as long as we can last and we never see the entire zoo in one trip. They have a variety of membership levels and are completely worth the money!
We went here when our son was about 7 months old and he had a blast! We loved waking around to all the exhibits! It is a very big zoo, so we definitely need to make it back there one day to see all that we missed! The train ride was a lot of fun! It took us "behind the scenes" at the zoo. Be prepared to keep hydrated, especially in the summer, it was HOT!
Jacksonville has seen some improvements and additions to the zoo over the last few years. While there are still the holiday events (including those for Halloween and Christmas), "Stingray Bay" and an Asian exhibit (complete with komodo dragons) have also been added.
During the summer months, we take advantage of the children's water play area... set up to look like a whole bunch of sea animals spraying water out of their blow holes!
I'll second purchasing an annual pass for your family, because it is well worth the expense (and pays for itself in two to three visits).
More than 800 mammals, birds and reptiles call the Jacksonville Zoo home. A petting zoo, an aviary, a walking trail and other features can be enjoyed. Pack your own lunch or sit down in one of the restaurants or cafes. Don't miss the Great Ape exhibit, our families favorite. Mid-summer may not be the best time to visit, since the animals will be rather immobile from the heat, or gone retreating somewhere out of view. The trolley/train is a little pricey if you have a big family, it's fun for the kids though.
My children love it here. We have an annual membership which is incredibly reasonable and we have definitely used this membership to the max. My son loves to feed the giraffes every time we go and my daughter loves the petting zoo. This is a great place to go to excerpt some excess energy or a place to go to just have a relaxing day; you can pick the pace.
The train rides, animal interaction, zoo programs, petting zoo, splash pad, play area, children's maze, the carousel and the beautiful scenery has so much to offer people of all ages. They have food there but are not opposed to you bringing your own which is also nice although they do ask that you leave your disposable straws at the gate.
This is one of my family and my own favorite places to go in the Jacksonville area. I hope every one else enjoys it as much as we do.