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Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Rating: 4.89 stars   63 reviews 995

Nonprofit Issues:

Animals

Address:

PO Box 470309 Lake Monroe FL 32747 USA

Mission:

The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and to engaging and educating our guests by sharing knowledge and celebrating our natural world.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

Title One school students through grants, conservation of animals through multiple projects and fundraisers, local businesses through economic impact.

Geographic areas served:

Central Florida

Programs:

Education classes for elementary school kids that incorporate hands-on learning tasks that target benchmarks in the Florida Sunshine State Standards. We have a variety of programs to encourage young minds to be aware and involved in the natural sciences and conservation.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

407.323.4450
http://www.centralfloridazoo.org

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Reviews for Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Next month I will celebrate my first year anniversary as a volunteer at the Central Florida Zoo, yet it seems like I just started yesterday! It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I look forward to it every week. First & foremost, I love the animals - but I also love educating the public about them, seeing and feeling their excitement, and knowing that I have made a difference. It is heartwarming to hear so many positive comments from guests, many of them who have found us for the first time...and they literally come from all over the world! They are quite impressed with the natural beauty and serenity of our grounds, the variety of things to do while at the zoo, and the opportunities for interaction with our animals, keepers, and volunteers. There is nothing like a day at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens! Come and visit us!

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I just recently became a volunteer at the zoo and it is one of the best things I have ever done (wish I had started years ago)! The "zoo team" is passionate about all of our animals and loves sharing their knowledge and excitement. There are family-oriented special events year round, as well as countless programs just for kids (and some for adults, too). Everyone affiliated with the zoo is totally committed to its residents and its mission. Each time I walk into the zoo, I am immediately transported to "another world", one that is natural, beautiful and serene. It instantly lifts my spirits and makes my heart happy :-)
Don't miss this precious gem right here in Central Florida!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been doing special programs with the Central Florida Zoo for over 20 yrs. As a health educator and nurse, I worked with Zoo Walkers and mini health fairs and other such activities . As a lover of animals and a cheerleader for how great this little zoo is, I have gone out over the last 8 years and helped with the big events for children like Hip-pity Hop-pity and Zoo Boo nights . Children combine the fun of the holidays with learning about animals and nature. One of the most fun adult events is Zoo Brews Festival. Some years I've been a patroon other years a volunteer. No matter what role I am in, it is fun. It is one of the biggest evening events that really gets folks socializing around the conversations of animals, habitats, environmental efforts, and just staying aware of survival. They stay so active with all parts of the surrounding community. I have plenty of young scout friends that have camped out at the zoo or done night tours. We are so fortunate to have such a well run and forward thinking zoo.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I love to watch the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens grow, and live up to its name. As a volunteer for over 18 years, I have seen the animal enclosures change so much, with the animals given the kinds of homes they are comfortable in, and which resemble their native habitats. For people that are disappointed in not seeing an animal, our keepers provide our animals access to dens if the animals show signs of stress. This is very important for their overall health. It is probably also one of the reasons the Central Florida Zoo has been successful in breeding some species where other zoos have not.
I have watched the boardwalks and concrete paths make moving through the zoo much easier - and I use a walker, so I know what that means to our guests with strollers and wheelchairs. The shady paths also have benches for those needing to take a break. And small children can usually see the animals without having to be lifted up to see over solid fences, as I have seen in other zoos. The gardens are changing and expanding all the time; there is always something new to see.
I visited the zoo before moving to Florida, and did not think I would ever return. We walked "in the wetlands", literally, on bark/mulch paths that were wet, and saw animal enclosures that needed to be replaced. But after moving to Florida, one day as a substitute teacher, I came on a field trip to the Central Florida Zoo. I heard that Jack Hanna had started his zoo experience as a director here. After having experienced 12 years as a docent at the Columbus Zoo, and knowing Jack, I knew what he had done there, and saw the possibilities for this small zoo. Everything I wanted to see happen, and more, has been accomplished, and more expansion and renovations are in the works. I can't wait!
I love the stress on conservation education that the staff teaches us to pass on to the guests. And the friendliness of the keepers is one thing I cherish. It is one thing I watch for, as we use our annual membership at other reciprocal zoos and wildlife parks. If I have a question and there is not a docent available, I try to ask a keeper. If they do not respond, I am disappointed, as I have never had a keeper refuse to answer my questions at the Central Florida Zoo. The lessons taught at the Herpetarium in the outdoor enclosure are wonderful examples.
My favorite thing to do as a docent is the Night Hikes for members, and the Wild Night camp-overs for scouts. Either giving a tour, or educating with an animal, in the zoo in the dark, is something I never got to do before. The responses from guests are wonderful!
I also love bringing friends and family, as they love our zoo, too. Our granddaughter especially likes the Splash play area, and the otters. It seems there is always something new to do at the Zoo!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

As a volunteer for the Central Florida Zoo for the past 8 years, I have been afforded the opportunity to get to know and learn from the caring and knowledgeable staff, assist in educating the public on environmental issues and the wonderful animals that are members of the zoo family. The guests of the zoo have the opportunity to talk with the zoo keepers and docents and gain new insights on the plight of endangered species and how each person can participate in making our planet a safer place for not only our animal friends but for humans as well. Every species that is allow to go extinct, has a detrimental effect on the planet as a whole. We can all do our part and the zoo helps to make that happen!

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been a docent at this zoo for 7 years and it has been an awesome experience. Working with the caring staff and interacting with the education animals has been rewarding and educational. The zoo has been evolving and growing with new experiences each time you are in the park!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I volunteer pretty much every week with the giraffes and I love it! I enjoy spending time with them and talking about them with visitors. It's fun to watch children's faces as they feed a giraffe for the first time, and I enjoy visitors who ask a lot of questions and tell me about their own experiences with giraffes at their own hometown zoo.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Each passing week I am more impressed with the Central Florida Zoo. As a child I visited the zoo and have watched it grow. I love the kindness of the staff and volunteers and love watching them interact with guests. They have a wide variety of programs for children, programs for adults and teens, and special events for the public. It warms my heart when various friends tell me all the wonderful experiences they have when visiting. Makes me proud to be there.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been going to the CFZ for the past 25 years and have watched it grow from a small zoo, which a lot of people did not know existed back then, into the beautiful expanding zoo it is today. Visitors truly feel in touch with nature and they can see first-hand how much the zoo keepers truly care for the animals. As a giraffe ambassador, it is so rewarding when the guests thank me for talking with them, answering their questions while at the same time educating them about the giraffes as well as providing them with some fun facts. It’s great watching the little ones with huge smiles on their faces and hearing their giggles as they feed the giraffes. Our international guests are amazed with the beauty of the zoo and the opportunity afforded to them to interact with so many of the animals. When the guests have this personal, up close encounter, my hope is that they all will – in their own way – work to help preserve all species of animals. Being a giraffe ambassador is a truly rewarding experience, one which I will always treasure.


 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been a docent at the zoo since 2008. Each year I have donated between 800 and 1200 hours of volunteer time trying to educate people about wild animals. The time I have donated is the best time I have ever spent doing something I love. Working with the animals and talking about them to kids and adults re-energizes me about wild animals. It is one of the most self rewarding experiences I have ever had. If you love animals come join our group and help educate others on how important the animals are to our environment.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a Docent at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden for over 8 years. I'm sorry that at least one person on this site has shown their ignorance of what zoos are all about. The CFZ is one of the best run and best kept zoos I have ever seen. They do NOT force their animals to be on exhibit just to please the human race. The CFZ specializes in caring for endangered and threatened species. They are classified as that because of ignorant and non-caring humans. Everybody at the zoo cares deeply for the animals and they all work very hard to make sure the animals get the best of care. They don't work hard because the pay is great. It isn't. Every aspect of the animals care, whether it is their surroundings, comfort, environment, food, health, or mental state, is taken into consideration. The least important job of the zoo is entertaining people. While we try to do that in order to raise money to care and feed the animals our job is to protect the different species under our care and when possible to breed species that are threatened or endangered so the world will always be able to see and enjoy them. We also try to educate the general population about the animals through our education department which does a splendid job in doing just that. We travel to school, libraries, retirement centers, churches, summer camps and other events in trying to educate the general population. These same organizations also send groups to the zoo for educational purposes. The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden is the best.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

My son was selected for the Teen Team Program at Central Florida Zoo in 2015 and has found the experience rewarding, educational and inspirational. The Staff at the Central Florida Zoo are outstanding ! My teenage son is not a morning person but waking up to go and volunteer at the Zoo is never a challenge! He has learned so much about conservation, zoology, customer service and compassion and now is committed to studying zoology at University ! The Zoo is well maintained and the inhabitants are well cared for – my son gave us a private tour this weekend and he was smiling from ear to ear the entire time, even in the rain!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been a volunteer at Central Florida Zoo for almost a year and it has been the most amazing and rewarding experience. We strive to give guests a positive experience and interaction with the animals as well as providing education about them and the struggles they are facing in the wild. The day to day conservation efforts are incredible and being able to share this and my knowledge to others is truly rewarding. I love my job of being a giraffe ambassador and watching families light up with the interaction and learn new facts about the giraffes they can then go on and share to others. The zoo continues to grow week by week and when you step inside it brings you to a whole new world, a natural world full of joy and life.

 
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