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Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Zoos & Aquariums

Mission: A conservation resource providing experiences that excite and inspire children and adults to learn and act on behalf of wildlife.

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.

Community Stories

77 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Central Florida Zoo is an AMAZING place! They help lots of animals, and they teach people the importance of conservation. I am in awe, they have really done a really good job preserving wildlife and allowing people to encounter wildlife that they might have never been able to see otherwise. This is the best place to go with your children (or just by yourself) for a nice day of learning and fun!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A hidden gem in an area filled that's filled with theme parks. The Zoo takes you back to Florida's beautiful scenery and let's you escape with some family fun that everyone will enjoy. My personal favorite was having the opportunity to hand feed giraffes!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

If you are in Orlando, you HAVE to go to Central Florida Zoo! They offer something for all ages, not to mention you get the opportunity to feed the tallest land animal in the world! So many animals to see and my nephew absolutely loved the splash pad to cool off after the hot summer day. Definitely a must-go!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I visited the zoo, and we had a fantastic time! The staff was friendly, the grounds were clean and well kept and there was so much to see. We cannot wait to go back, and all who are in the central Florida area, or come hear to visit I make sure they know to visit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Central Florida's best kept secret. Talk about value for your money. So many fun interactive activities to do. I can't wait to take my grandbaby when she visits.

Larry61

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An amazing zoo. A lot of people don't realize that this in Orlando, but when we found it, we spent the whole day there exploring - our kids love it! Really cool butterfly area and you get to see a large variety of animals up close and personal - we'll be back for sure!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Adorable space and a great value for a peaceful, enjoyable day.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Absolutely LOVE the Zoo! It's the perfect destination and day out for any family. There are so many animals to see and interact with, plus there's a splash pad for the little ones to cool off on a hot Florida day. I was recently given a tour and it's inspiring how passionate the zoo team is. Their knowledge and excitement is contagious. I highly recommend a visit as there is always something new to do at the Zoo.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Central Florida Zoo is a great place for a nice afternoon. There are a lot of animals to see and a lot of animals to interact with (some for an extra fee) such as giraffe feeding and petting zoo animals. The zoo also does a lot to help with breeding endangered animals. They just had an endangered lemur born.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love the zoo!
Family of 12 (going on 14 ~ with two more grandchildren due this year!)
The animals are well cared for and the grounds are well kept. The staff are friendly and always willing to share their knowledge and passion for the animals. The different events hosted at the zoo are fun and educational. Our grandchildren love the splash area. We never miss a train ride and a spin on the carousel. Great place to take out of town visitors!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to this zoo just for a day visit and ended up upgrading to an annual pass when I left. The zoo is very interactive and the staff is very friendly and knowledgable. I have yet to go to a zoo where you can interact with Indian rinos.

Andy41

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Perfect place to take the family. We love the splash pad, children's garden, and of course all the animals!

Joe_81

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Upon a recent trip to the Central Florida Zoo I was pleasantly surprised with all of the changes that have been made. The keepers and volunteers at the giraffe feeding were knowledgable and very helpful. They went out of their way to make sure that I had a great experience while still making the animals the priority. Because of this experience I also purchased the rhino encounter and was equally impressed with the knowledge and personality of the keepers.
Everyone that worked there was friendly and very attentive. There were also quite a few educators around the herpetarium offering activities for younger visitors and some personal encounters.
I will definitely be back and I've encouraged my friends to visit as well.

Kay_33

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a military family, we have moved quite a bit, one constant no matter where we are, is finding the local zoo and getting our yearly family membership. It helps our children now 5 and 4 have something to look forward to weekly as we settle in. Thank you Central Florida Zoo for helping make this area "home" to our family!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.