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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

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently visited Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens and will never forget my fabulous experience. The volunteers, docents, and keepers were very informative providing me with knowledge of all animals that I never knew before visiting the zoo. I had a breathtaking time being able to take part in the Giraffe feeding encounter getting up close to these amazing animals, along with the White Rhino encounter. Strolling through the botanical gardens with luscious flowers and Florida nature, I learned about all the native plants and flowers to Florida, with seeing butterflies happily enjoying their botanical garden. Although the zoo is smaller than some I’ve been to, it was filled with great knowledge in addition to exciting adventures such as the Zip-line in the trees I experienced. Being an annual pass holder, I am able to enjoy the zoo as much as possible and informed of all exciting events to come. I’m very excited to go to the Zoo Boo Bash this weekend, just right before Halloween to see all the costumes, and enjoying the activities that come along with it. I recommend you check this place out

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I really enjoyed my visit to this zoo. I was recommended by a helpful volunteer, Jennifer, and would pass the recommendation along to anybody interested in visiting a smaller, but intimate environment for the animals. All the volunteers and staff were extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and I was pleased to not have to deal with massive crowds like I have with other zoo experiences. And I can't get enough of that giraffe exhibit.

1 Jennifer407

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Been going to the zoo for years for special events. Am now a family pass holder and visit with the kids. It is always clean and the staff friendly.
You can easily see the dedication of the staff and docents with general upkeep and animal interactions. Will be renewing pass on another month.

Maureen40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This zoo is getting some A-list animals! It is not a super-zoo, size wise, but I observe a fun day for families and animal lovers alike! I never visited before becoming a volunteer. I have 12 years of theme park experience, so I know that razzle-dazzle and hours in line makes for a stressful outing. Come, chill with our (okay, I am possessive!)

1 Jennifer406

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a Volunteer at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, I am able to work and promote the education of all our animals throughout the zoo. It's so amazing to educate the young and old about the amazing animals our Zoo has to offer. Having people come from all over the world and expressing their amazing time at Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens versus the major Orlando theme parks in regards to our great animal encounters and education we have to offer is beyond astonishing. Not only can you enjoy the love for animals you can also experience the beautiful Botanical Gardens we have on site that are filled with joyous butterflies, bumblebees and many other amazing natural creatures. Our Zoo is constantly growing and expanding with lovely new animals and great fun for everyone. I definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone for a much lower price than our local competitors. You can experience many other thrilling adventures such as ZOOMAIR Adventure Park featuring an amazing ZipLine route, the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground, Barnyard Buddies Children's Zoo, Little Florida Coastline Train and Carousel Ride, among many other fun opportunities! Don't forget to stop by the amazing gift shop that is very reasonable and filled with amazing books, toys, stuffed animals, among many other great items, along with food you can purchase for our barnyard friends! You should definitely check this zoo out, it is always a wonderful time that you'll create an everlasting encounter and desire to return!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We were extremely impressed with the Central Florida Zoo. It was very clean. We have a friend that volunteers there and we got some inside peeks. How some of the animals are fed, etc. We were treated to up close experiences we might not have otherwise got to see. Everyone was so friendly and we will go many more times. It is very peaceful. Love all the trees. My son and grandchildren loved the new addition of the zip line.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Docent at the Central Florida Zoo for 23 years. This is the best zoo I have been too. I have had numerous visitors come up and exclaim how wonderful it is. They tell me that they would rather come to the Central Florida Zoo than go to the busy hectic theme parks. We are located in Lake Monroe Florida, and is very close to the Sanford Orlando International airport. Many people come here while waiting to fly out to other destinations. Since we are so close to the airport, people said that they came because it was so close to the airport and they didn't have time to go anywhere else. But, they said that once they got here they were very impressed and glad that they came. They say that the zoo is so quiet and peaceful with all of the surrounding trees and quiet atmosphere, and just watching the wonderful animals seemed to calm them down from a very exhausting trip that they were on. I have had people from all over the world come up and tell me how wonderful the zoo is. So, if you have the time, come and visit with us, you won't regret it. The price is right, you don't have to spend a fortune like you do at the theme parks. Hope to see you at the zoo.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Docent at the Central Florida Zoo for 22 years. I have watched this zoo grow from a tiny zoo to a magnificent zoo. The animals are so well cared for by the keepers. They care so much for the animals, and we are all greatly saddened when an animal dies. This is a very caring zoo. The drive into the zoo is so beautiful, all the trees and greenery. The zoo itself is surrounded by Florida vegetation and not all of the concrete that you see in other zoos. It is a natural habitat for the animals. It is a small zoo, but I would rather come to this zoo than a huge zoo. Everybody is very friendly, especially the keepers and the Docents. The education staff is very helpful and friendly. The education program at the zoo is top rate. The special events are top rate also. The zoo is expanding and getting new animals all the time. A lot of people that I have talked to said that they would rather come to this beautiful, peaceful zoo than to go to the big theme parks in the area. The zoo has a zip line, a splash pool, and a petting area. They have night hikes, special events like for Halloween, Easter, and many others. I would recommend this zoo to everyone.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Loved visiting I started volunteering at this zoo. It is really beautiful, relaxing environment. Getting a yearly pass is a great value, and there are many activities all year long.

Pat D.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This zoo is an awesome place to visit! The layout is great & the staff is very friendly. This zoo has events all of the time & they are always fun. My favorite thing to do at the Central Florida Zoo is feed the giraffes! There is also a zip line course & carousel at the front of the zoo. I highly recommend making a trip!

Kayla15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited this zoo many times before I became a volunteer. It's a wonderful zoo with a lot of animals you don't often see in other zoos. The staff is super knowledgable and its a great place for kids.

Carol171

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Have been bringing my grandson Griffin to the Central Florida Zoo since he was just under 2. He's 6 now and just loves it. From feeding the animals to learning about them from dosans it is his favorite place to hang out and learn. Even took him to the one in Jacksonville and he said "Mimi I like our zoo better". Friendly faces and great spaces make this a regular for us.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is our second year having a membership at the Central Florida Zoo. It has been a pleasure watching it grow. We have a preschooler and toddler and while the zoo is not the biggest zoo in the state it fits so perfectly into our community and provides a great experience for the kids to explore without it being an overwhelming long day. We go bi-weekly and I never have a problem making sure the kids learn one new thing every visit thanks to the amazing staff willing to answer questions. Great place to visit!

1 Deanna16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

From 1998 until 2002 I worked at the Central Florida Zoo. The only reason I left was due to moving with family to Alabama. I frequently tell people that the zoo is the only thing I miss about Central Florida. I can remember going to the zoo back in the 60's when it was still in downtown Sanford, along the waterfront. It has come a long ways since then. Although I have not been back to visit I keep up with the changes and updates via Facebook and Website. I still believe it is one of the best small zoos I have ever seen. As a former employee I can tell you, without hesitation, that the staff truly cares about the animals.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This should not even be called a zoo it was awful most of the animals was not on site and those who were was in hiding ....Whats the point the kids were not impressed at all. D NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY

Comments ( 1 )

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christinac 01/21/2014

Thank you for visiting the Zoo. It seems we did not exceed your expectations during your visit, which is always our goal. You should know that weather affects the animals just like it does us humans. We have been experiencing a rather cold January and some of the animals chose to stay in their dens when the weather turns cold, and we allow them to do that as we want our animals to be happy and comfortable. Others however, like the Amura leopards, become more frisky and active in the cooler weather. We do indeed have hundreds of animals here at the Zoo and we encourage you to return when the weather is more mild.

1 Jim_75

Donor

Rating: 4

As a member of the Seminole Harley Owners Group (SCHOG) we have proudly held a fundraiser for over 20 years to raise funds to help support the eagle exhibit at the zoo. It is a great zoo that benefits all of Central Florida in a way that theme park zoos cannot. We will continue our annual support.

1 Carol110

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have a grand parents pass that we use on a regular basis. My grandkids love the zip lining for even the smaller ones and the splash pad as well as the animals. I got one for my daughter so that she could take the kids during the summer and on weekends and they never get tired of going. It has grown so much over the years and I am proud of being a member.

1 Jeri E.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have been visiting the Central Florida Zoo for over 30 years and I have loved watching it grow and change, always for the better! I have 2 Autistic sons and this is one of the places that we go to on a regular basis. We love taking our lunch to picnic before we go in, or as a special treat the boys enjoy buying lunch at the concession stand during our visit. The petting zoo is always a hit !
The zoo is one place that I can take my boys, my grown children and my grandchildren and know that they all will enjoy their visit!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We are annual members of this zoo, and take our 15 month old daugter almost every week. They have very friendly staff and volunteers who take their time explaining things to the children, a great petting zoo area, storytime every week, and night hikes for the older kids. There is also seasonal holiday activities, a carousel and train our daughter loves, and a nice splash pad. This zoo is an integral part of my daughter's childhood experience, and we are so fortunate it is near us and so pleasant to visit. We plan on being members for many more years to come!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love zoos, especially large ones in big cities. But this smaller zoo is a real gem that we visit several times each year. There's always something new since the dynamic staff and large group of volunteers are quite innovative. Spooky Halloween theme is coming up next. You can see large and small animals, including some beautiful big cats and Gus the giraffe. Many babies in the Nursery. I think there are two baby hippos now. This is a great zoo to bring the young ones with many activities for just about any age. There are many hands-on activities presented by very knowledgeable and dedicated people who also do structured programs. I've learned to like to touch snakes and talk to birds that talk back. There's a very good splash park and some zip line adventures; adult type and one designed for young children (our 5-year old had a great time. I can highly recommend this zoo and the wonderful "family" that are your hosts.

1 Samantha31

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff are wonderful and really informative about explaining the animals and their habits. My family loves coming to this Zoo and we have been for over 8 years now. They are always doing different things to keep it new and inviting and the Zoo is always clean and tidy and the animals all look happy and well taken care of!