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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.


2 Al__6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3 Luke32127

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at CFZ since February 2014. It has been one of the best experiences of my life. It is so rewarding to experience the care, concern and efforts toward conservation that every member of the zoo exhibits in everything that they do. To see the smiles on the families faces, and to be able to educate is really a gift!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been coming to this zoo since my children were young (over 20 years). It's amazing to me how much it has grown and progressed into the place it is today. My daughter was chosen to be on the Teen Volunteer Team and has flourished and loved every second of her time there. We will continue to visit and enjoy this constantly growing facility.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been coming to this zoo for many years. It started out small and as the years have gone by it has expanded a great deal. In my opinion it is now up to par with the bigger zoo's around. The addition of many animals throughout the years have made this zoo a great zoo to come to. Keep up the good work.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In March I became a volunteer at the zoo to help visitors feed giraffes and educate visitors about the giraffes. I love it! It's fun to meet new people and to see their reactions to the giraffes and hear their giraffe-related stories. And it's wonderful to watch the giraffes and get to know their individual personalities. Seeing them makes my day!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5


Such a great place. It's clean and the folks that work and volunteer there are amazingly knowledgeable. It's a great place for families, my kids & I have enjoyed it so much. It is nice to see the animals are clean & being cared for properly.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love this zoo. It is in a lovely natural setting. Lots of giant oak trees - the real Florida. Such a welcome change from theme parks. The staff are amazing. A volunteer had an opossum out in the park for show and tell. Later we saw two zookeepers working with a baby porcupine. We were allowed to get real close and ask lots of questions and took some great pictures. I have been to zoos all over the country including the San Diego zoo. The Central Florida Zoo is a smallish zoo but full of experiences I've not had before. Also has a great petting zoo and a splash zone to play in the water to cool down.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is one of the best zoos we have ever visited. There was such a variety of animals & activities which makes this the perfect destination for any member of the family. It was also very clean and well organized.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have to say, visiting Florida for the first time was an absolute joy but my experience to the Zoo was the BEST! Everything from the exotic animals to the helpful service made it such an amazing adventure. One person in particular needs to be mentioned. Jennifer Brightman was excellent customer service at its best. She was not only helpful but naturally sweet with her approach and answered all of my questions. Coming from Texas, I was super excited to see the marine life but only saw Otters, which is my favorite animal. Even though there weren't any at the Zoo Jennifer was so knowledgable in the dolphins it blew my mind! Long story short, I would return to the Central Florida Zoo in a heartbeat. What a great time I had and all thanks to the staff and cute animals, kudos! Especially Jennifer.

2 Brittany25

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have visited this zoo with my family and had a blast. It's one of my all time favorite zoos. My favorite part was being able to feed the giraffes and learning intricate details of the creatures through a volunteer Jennifer. I tell all my friends about this place and can't wait to visit again !

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am volunteering at the zoo at the present time but in the past I had the opportunity to bring my students on field trips to the Central Florida Zoo. These field trips were wonderful educational excursions that were very beneficial for my students. The children learned while enjoying hands on activities presented by the enthusiastic, knowledgeable docents.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love going to the Central Florida Zoo. It has plenty of trees which provide much needed shade during the hot months. The Splash Zone keeps the children happy and cool! I can walk around the zoo at a leisurely pace without feeling rushed to see everything. I really enjoy the night tours that are offered twice a year. It's amazing to watch the nocturnal animals moving about and to occasionally listen to the sounds they make. Did you know that a cougar doesn't roar? (I love hearing Boone!) The zoo is a local attraction that my whole family can enjoy!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a former volunteer and staff member at this Zoo, and being a part of this organization was one of the best experiences of my life. Everyone there is very dedicated to caring for the animals and doing the best they can to educate the public about them. This zoo might not be as large or have all the resources of those in some major urban areas, but there is a high degree of professionalism on the part of staff and volunteers, and the education programs are top notch.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a docent for ten years and it has been the best experience of my life. Everyone has the same mission of education and preservation!

2 Brandi14

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Such a great place. It's clean and the folks that work and volunteer there are amazingly knowledgeable. It's a great place for families or even just on your own.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer both as a docent and as an intern at the zoo. I enjoy working with the visitors, the people who work there, and, of course, the animals who reside there. The zoo holds true to their mission to educate and to participate in breeding programs for endangered animals. I am proud to be part of this organization.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering here because I loved the idea of working with animals. What I didn't realize until later was the impact I had on children when I taught them some of the things that I have learned. An organization like this makes kids eager to learn more and to care about the welfare and preservation of endangered animals.

1 Harry8

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family visited here because of a volunteer we knew worked here. We were surprised how clean and friendly the staff was. It's not the biggest zoo, but they have some great animals and facilities. We had a great time and the staff was eager to show us the innards of what zoos add really like. It's worth the visit!!!!