Calling all animal lovers! If you and your kids love animals and are looking for some fun places to go to see them, look no further. Whether land or sea mammals are your fave, this list will have something for everyone. Though Central Florida is best known for its many theme parks, there are also many places around town to see wildlife in its natural habitat. Besides the obvious places to see animals like Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Sea World, which are both great options, here are some other amazing places to see animals in Orlando that you may not have immediately thought of.
Amazing Animals Inc.
Amazing Animals Inc. is a unique up-close encounter unlike most animal adventures you will find around town. Meet the animal ambassadors of the park featuring a Burmese python, savannah monitor, capybara and sloth to name a few. Tours last about an hour and a half and feature lots of photo opportunities. Definitely a unique and exciting animal encounter like no other to look into! Make sure to book ahead.
Pricing: $40 per person
Location: 4235 Rambler Ave, St Cloud, FL 34772
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Did you know you can visit Animal Kingdom Lodge at the Walt Disney World Resort and see animals for free? Step into the African hotel and wander out back to the savannah to see some of the animals roaming about. For an extra special encounter, book a room to stay the night to discover some of the 30 species of African Wildlife living there. What better way to wake up and go to sleep than to see the animals out your window! Do have your license out at the guard gate when pulling into the resort and let them know you want to visit the animals! There are also some amazing restaurants and a quick service spot if you want to get a treat or something to eat. Restaurant reservations strongly recommended for dining.
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Pricing: Free! Unless you plan on booking a room.
Location: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
Back To Nature Wildlife Preserve
Visit animals being nursed back to life at this Sanctuary. The goal of Back To Nature Wildlife Preserve “is to rescue, raise, rehabilitate and release injured or orphaned Florida native species” as well as providing a home for those animals that are non-releasable. Included in your donation is the Wildlife Walk where you and your kids can see the work that they are doing up close. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the Pavilion and you have yourself a great day out!
Hours: 9 am to 4 pm daily, closed Mondays
Pricing: $5 donation per person, Kids 3 and under free. Guided tours available for additional fee.
Location: 10525 Clapp Simms Duda Rd, Orlando, FL 32832
Central Florida Zoo
If you have not been to the Central Florida Zoo, what are you waiting for? Its local, fun and full of animals. From the Children’s Zoo, Giraffe Exhibit, Elephant Encounter, unique bird spotting, rhinos and Petting Zoo, a day here is sure to please kids of all ages. This short list doesn’t begin to touch on the animal variety here but it gives you a good idea of just some of the animals you will find there. You could easily spend a day!
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
Pricing: Kids under 2 free! | Kids ages 3-12 $13.75 | Adults $19.50
Location: 3755 W. Seminole Blvd, Sanford, Florida 32771
Do your kids love the water and are 6 years of age or older? Though there are age requirements, Discovery Cove is an amazing place to take your kids for up close animal encounters like no other. Imagine the excitement your children will have swimming with dolphins and frolicking with fish?! Enjoy a day feeling as if your off on a far away vacation rather than a few miles from home. Definitely a place to take your kids who love to be close to the feeling of the sea and the creatures that live in them.
Hours: 8 am to 5:30 daily
Pricing: Starting at $184 depending on package purchased
Location: 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 3282
Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park
Have you taken your child on an airboat tour? Explore the Everglades Eco System and travel into the swamps for an up-close glimpse of some of Florida’s local animals in their natural habitat. The airboat tour alone is super fun, let alone looking for animals. Wild Florida also has a Gator Park should you need to see more alligators or want to skip the airboat tour. Inside the alligator park, you’ll find more than 200 exotic and native animals. There are also up-close encounters for those a bit more daring! End your day with a drive through their 85-acre Safari Park. There are over 100 native and exotic animals roaming about so you never know what you will see!
Hours: Monday through Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, Closed Sundays
Pricing: Starting at $20 and up, depending on tour/encounter
Location: 3301 Lake Cypress Rd, Kenansville, FL 34739
Are your kids really into Secrets of the Zoo on the Nat Geo Wild Channel? My daughter loves that show. Did you know that its filmed at the Tampa Lowry Zoo? Though it is a little bit of a drive to get there, depending where in Orlando you are coming from, it definitely makes for a nice day trip. We like to go first thing in the morning around opening before the crowds start to build. You can pack a lunch, some snacks, or grab something to eat there while taking in the animal tv stars.
Hours: 9:30 am to 5 pm daily
Pricing: Starting at $26.95 for kids 3 years old and up, adults $36.95, or upgrade to pay for a day and come back all year for a few dollars more.
Location: 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
Which of these places to see animals in Orlando are you most interested in?
Written by Megan Daniels