While in Orlando your children may want to visit a zoo. You can always stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge but if you’d like a bit more “up close and personal” time with a greater array of animals, The Central Florida Zoo is a great inexpensive bet for some family entertainment.
The Central Florida Zoo is located in Sanford, FL, about 35 minutes away from the theme park attractions. It boasts more than 400 animals and includes a children’s petting zoo, a Herpetarium (reptiles and amphibians), and the Tropical Splash Ground to cool off at the end of a long day. Offering free parking and an entrance ticket of only $11.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 2 and over, the zoo provides a fun-packed day.
Like at every zoo, you are welcome to simply stroll through the park and see monkeys, alligators, endangered species such as cheetahs and pumas, and even meet the Asian elephant Maude. If you are up for a meet and greet you should check out the Animal Adventure Children’s Zoo. Here you will have the chance to come face to face with goats, sheep, llamas and many more animals so that you can pet them and take pictures.
Next stop is the Herpetarium. Not only will you love the chance to step into some air conditioning but you will also get to learn all about the reptiles and amphibians awaiting your visit inside. If someone in your group has a fear of snakes yet wants to take a walk on the wild side -- this is the place to go! Safely behind the glass you’ll meet the Southeast's largest collection of venomous and non-venomous reptiles. Some of these scaly beauties, like the Aruba Island Rattlesnake, are endangered, ensuring that this is the only time you’ll get so close!
At the end of the day when you’ve seen all the Central Florida Zoo has to offer you’ll run head on into the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground. This is the best part of the experience for kids and a chance for parents to sit back and relax as well. The splash park has numerous fun water attractions, like a bucket dump and raining trees. They can also climb on a safe play version of an alligator, frog, and a hippo to help them run off that energy. Deep Adirondack chairs are available so mom and dad can watch while the kids get soaking wet and have a ton of fun.
There is a lot more the Central Florida Zoo has to offer -- these are only a few suggestions. It is sure to be a full day of fun that does not put a dent in your wallet. You can also bring your own food and drink to lighten the load even more considerably.
The Central Florida Zoo is located at 3755 NW Hwy 17-92 Sanford, FL which is about 40 minutes away from the theme park attractions. You can call them at 407.323.4450 or find them online at http://www.centralfloridazoo.org.
--Lee Allport of MySentimentExactLee
Photo Credits: Top photo courtesty of Central Park Zoo. Bottom photo credit Bohemianism/Flickr