1. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is hard to beat. They have exhibits ranging from Land of the Tiger to Wild Florida. There are so many species, from small frogs and butterflies to tall giraffes and active monkeys. The number of exhibits to see is almost overwhelming, but it can be done in a day. Do a loop through Asia and see the beautiful Bamboo Garden, wave at the giant komodo dragons and step into the Land of the Tiger. Back up on the main path, you travel to Australia next to see lorikeets and kangaroos. You’ll get to spend some time at the Play Park if you’ve got little ones (don’t miss the penguins!), then it’s on to South America, where one of the Zoo’s icons resides--the Range of the Jaguar. Here, jaguars prowl in caged walkways above the main path, and in the Palm Plaza Cafe, only a piece of glass separates you, and your lunch, from the jaguars. Then, it’s onto Africa to feed giraffes at the Giraffe Overlook. Don’t miss the African Forest on the other side of the main path. They love to put on a show. Then, there’s a walk through Wild Florida, where you can see alligators, black bears and turtles up close. Last but not least, the Plains of East Africa, which houses rhinos, ostriches, and of course, elephants.