SPEND A DAY AT THE NAPLES ZOO AT CARIBBEAN ZOOS
Fun for the All at a Nationally Accredited Zoo
Looking for things to do in southwest Florida with your family during your stay at the Naples Grande? Consider the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.
Located within a beautiful and historic botanical garden, the Naples Zoo boasts popular and exotic animals from anteaters to zebras, all housed in enclosures that give the animals space to roam while also allowing visitors to see them up close.
The only thing better? The zoo’s fun shows and boat tours, which are entertaining as they are informative, making for a day that the whole family will enjoy.
The Kapnick Caribbean Gardens
provide a beautiful backdrop for the zoo. First planted in 1919, the gardens are now fully mature and feature towering coconut palms and a diverse collection of plants from across the Caribbean. It’s a lush and beautiful setting for a zoo and its trees provide welcome shade to visitors as they walk from exhibit to exhibit in the zoo’s 1-mile loop. For those interested in plants, the gardens offer daily tours.
The Naples Zoo is home to about 70 animal species, including favorites like African lions, Malayan tigers and giraffes; rare and endangered animals from Africa like honey badgers and fossas; and Florida natives like alligators and Florida panthers. Whether you’re viewing bears from behind glass, apes from a pontoon boat or a two-toed sloth from the audience during a zookeeper-led show, you’ll get a chance to connect with nature up close.
Primate Exhibition Cruise
The popular Primate Exhibition Cruise brings visitors on a boat tour of the zoo’s Lake Victoria, where primates live free in their natural habitat on the lake’s islands. You’ll see ring-tailed lemurs, spider monkeys and buff-cheeked gibbons swing from the trees and jump and leap about as you skirt each island. During the ride, a knowledgeable captain will explain the animals and answer questions. (The cruise is included in the price of admission.)
Meet the Keeper
The Naples Zoo understands that some animals are best met with an introduction. So instead of displaying these animals in regular exhibits, the zoo introduces them to visitors during its Meet the Keeper program. This gives visitors the opportunity to view animals like pythons and honey badgers up close as zookeepers display these unique animals and explain what makes them unique.
Uno, the zoo’s endangered Florida panther, lived in the nearby wetlands when he was found dying of shotgun wounds. After being nursed back to health, he was brought to the zoo, where he lives in his natural habitat and helps educate the public about his species.
The zoo’s giraffes are one of its most popular attractions, and for good reason. While you can watch the zookeepers feed other animals during Meet the Keeper demonstrations, everyone is allowed to hand feed these gentle giants lettuce for a small fee.
In Alligator Bay, giant reptiles glide along the water and bask in the sun on the shores of the bay’s islands. But the real fun starts at mealtime. Visitors can watch as zookeepers hand feed the alligators and listen as the experts separate myths about these Florida icons from the facts.
Honey badgers might be all over the internet these days, but these entertaining creatures are only found in four zoos in the country, including the Naples Zoo. See these amazing animals for yourself during one of the zoo’s Meet the Keeper sessions.
The Naples Zoo is home to a pair of rare juvenile clouded leopards named Masala and Tikka. This couple is not only beautiful, it is also contributing to a conservation project to create a sustainable population of clouded leopards.
The zoo’s giant anteater is another animal that keeps visitors to the zoo entertained, especially at mealtimes, when you can see the surprisingly large animal snort food right in front of you.
The zoo’s lion exhibit features a glass-paneled enclosure that allows you to get as close to a lion as you’re ever going to get. Experience the thrill of being face to face with a big cat as the zoo’s male and female lions come forward to greet their guests.
A highlight of the Primate Exhibition Cruise, the zoo’s buff-cheeked gibbons continually win crowds over with their swinging skills. Have your cameras ready as the boat tour passes by their island.
Behind the scenes, the Naples Zoo works with partners in Florida and around the world on important conservation projects. Endangered species that zoo is helping support include the Florida panther, the African lion and the clouded leopard. In fact, a portion of every ticket sold and every item bought from the zoo’s gift shop supports this project.
Special Events and Exhibits
The Naples Zoo has a regular calendar of special events and exhibits. Past events have included everything from animal-themed Halloween parties to appearances by Dora the Explorer. The zoo’s current temporary exhibit is Penguins in Paradise, a touring exhibit of African penguins that will be open through April 15, 2018.
Need to Know
Off Goodlette-Frank Road near Coastland Center
Hours of Operation
Open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Adults (13- 64): $22.95, Seniors (65 and up) $21.95, Children (3 - 12): $14.95, Children 2 and under: Free