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You can spot dolphins, manatees and hundreds of wild bird species as you explore the outdoors in Jacksonville, but if keeping a safe distance from the local wildlife is more of your speed then Jax is also home to some one-of-a-kind animal attractions that will keep the whole family entertained!
Interactive and educational exhibits keep you engaged in learning about the more than 2,000 exotic animals and 1,000 plants in the Zoo’s collection. Don’t miss the award-winning Range of the Jaguar exhibit, The Land of the Tiger, and the Giraffe Overlook, where you can hand-feed giraffes! The newest exhibit, The African Forest, features a 40-foot tropical tree for amazing views of the beautiful apes that call this exhibit home.
The Zoo also offers a 4,000 square foot Splash Ground area and adjacent Discovery Center, which features mazes, a tree house, a penguin tunnel, and a ton of interactive activities for the little ones. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has seasonal events including ZOOLights during the Holidays, Spooktacular during Halloween and Night at the Zoo events in the summer.
More info: www.jacksonvillezoo.org.
This local Wildlife Sanctuary provides a forever home to endangered big cats like lions, tigers, cougars, and leopards. Some of these beautiful cats are rescued from circuses, private homes and are getting a second chance at a comfortable life. The ranch also provides hours of educational entertainment to families. Try a nighttime feeding tour, when these mostly nocturnal animals are out and about and roaring!
More info: http://cattyshack.org.
The Museum of Science and History offers interactive animal encounters at their Florida Naturalist’s Center. They have local wildlife like snakes, turtles, opossums, owls and many other surprising animals in this unique space.
More info: http://themosh.org.
With 50+ acres of natural Florida right in the heart of Jacksonville, Tree Hill offers visitors the chance to connect with the local wildlife. They offer nature walks, guided trail tours, a natural history museum, live animal displays, a butterfly house and animal encounters programs.
More info: www.treehill.org.
This local sanctuary rescues farm animals in need in the area, rehabilitates them, and provides a loving temporary home for them before adopting them out into forever homes. To support its efforts, the farm offers tours and animal encounters where the whole family can learn about farming, animal care and gardening. Celestial Farms also has monthly events that are open to the public where you can interact with their animals.
More info: www.celestialfarms.org.
This local, family owned horse and cattle ranch offers guided horseback trail rides. They also have a petting zoo and ponies. You can enjoy 1 hour, half day or 2 days trail rides for individuals and groups.
More info: www.diamonddranchinc.com.
For more attractions to explore while in Jacksonville visit our Things To Do Section.