Traditional zoos have largely been replaced by wildlife theme parks in Florida. Probably the earliest was Silver Springs where the first glass bottomed boats were built to view the crystal clear waters of the Silver River where you can see alligators, turtles and bass. In recent years, Silver Springs was turned into a State Park and no longer exhibits animals.
Busch Gardens Africa near Tampa has been built in the style of an African safari park with both animals and thrill rides.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom follows this theme but with a bit of the Disney magic thrown in for good measure.
SeaWorld Orlando is one of the largest marine wildlife parks in the world. As well as the entertainment there is also a serious side in the conservation of native species such as the endangered manatee.
Discovery Cove takes it a step further with interaction with tropical reef fish and the chance to swim with a dolphin.
Cypress Gardens was originally a botanical garden, small zoo and ski-show but included a number of rides and a water park. However it closed and was subsequently re-opened in 2011 as Legoland Florida but minus the animals.
There is also Gatorland where over 5000 alligators are housed, some are for show but others are actually farmed for their meat and skin; a bit of a strange combination !!
One of the newest wildlife parks is GatorWorld Parks of Florida with a drive through experience and petting zoo.
Instead of just showing animals in cages, the new theme parks try to combine education with entertainment by means of shows, interactions and good old fashion thrills such as water splashes and white knuckle roller coasters.
Some of the other parks are more natural, such as the Homosassa Springs State Park where you can see rescued and recuperating manatees in their natural environment.
Today there are a number of wildlife parks in Florida. For more information, click on the related links in the sidebar (top right of page).
See also:- Buying Theme Park Tickets