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Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Sanford

3.2
#1 of 12 in Things to do in Sanford
Zoo / Aquarium Nature / Park
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens houses a small zoo in a tropical tree-filled setting that also features a tree-to-tree aerial course, water playground, miniature railway, and carousel. Visit the zoo and feed the giraffes, wander through the herpertarium to see reptiles and amphibians, and see the fossa, the largest predatory animal of Madagascar. In the adventure park, a zipline course runs through the tree canopy, allowing you to view the world as tree-dwelling animals do. Bring your swimsuit and cool off in the Wharton-Smith tropical splash ground. A little train takes you along a 1.6 km (1 mi) track through wetlands, woods, and a long tunnel. Take a look at our Sanford vacation planner to schedule your visit to Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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563 reviews
Google
3.9
  • We went to this zoo back in the early 1990s and it is not much better today than it was then. Enclosures are way too small for the animal or number of animals they have. Walkway does not have a logica...  more »
  • Great for families especially with little ones. My godchildren were in town to visit and I insisted on a quiet day away from the big parks in Orlando. Mostly because I believed the little ones would e...  more »
  • This is a small zoo with not as many attractions as other zoos in Central Florida. They could make the attractions more interesting, have more for visitors to do, and have more to look at within the p...  more »
Google
  • Good place to be with the kids. My kid enjoyed the kids water play zone more than the zoo. There is a small train joy ride at the entrance. Adults and kids both can enjoy the same. But this is outside the Zoo and not inside. A similar tram/train ride for moving inside the zoo would have been a really nice thing.
  • This Zoo has it all including delicious shaved ice. We were able to see all the animals from a safe distance. Even though it was a little warm outside when we visited, this Zoo had lots of trees that create lots of shade along the paths. I can't wait till they open the bear exhibit! The entire staff is friendly and very informative about the animals and displays. We will be returning!
  • Such a waste of money! We decided to visit a zoo while visiting Orlando and I could've honestly seen more animals at the local pet store. This place has the nerve to say they have over 400 species of animals but failed to mention they were not live. Listen, the struggle has to be real if you think you can fool people with cardboard animals. Come on now, really? I wish I could give this place 0 stars because they really need to get it together but I guess this one star will go towards the lovely giraffes that were actually real. I want my money back. You have to do better Orlando!
  • This is a small but attractive zoo. It's easily walkable in just an hour or so. Exhibits are nice and we'll maintained. There is a mini train and a carousel at the entrance. There's also a nice picnic area right outside the zoo itself, perfect for bringing lunch. Since the zoo itself won't allow outside food, the picnic area is ideal for grabbing a cooler from the car and saving a few bucks. There is also an over head obstacle course with zip lines located on the outside, it looks fairly large and fun but I didn't get to try it out on my visit. Inside the zoo there are a good variety of exhibits for its size. Giraffes, rhinos and the variety of big cats where the stand outs here. No Zebras, only a couple of small monkeys and no elephants are disappointing. There is also a lizard and snake house and, being Florida, loads for gators. There are lots of opportunities for interaction. A petting zoo will loaded with farm animals will provide you with food to feed the animals for$1.50, the giraffe exhibit nearby provides a chance to get close and feed a giraffe for $5. A little pricey but especially worth it for young kids. I do have to mention the size of many enclosures was very small for the animals housed. This is particularly true of all the big cats. They have very little room to move and it's quite frankly a little sad. The other big negative is the price of food and drink. For a zoo as small as this one the prices were ridiculous. Expect to spend around $12-$15 per person if you eat a meal here. Finally the zoo features a fantastic splash pad. It's a great way for the kids to cool off after exploring and they love it. It's bright and fun with ample shaded seating for parents. Overall very impressive for a small zoo and worth the price of admission. If your local it's worth a visit for a great family outing. For tourists, while it's a bit further then most attractions it's also a lot more affordable. Don't expect it to compare to a big city zoo, but your kids will probably still love it.
  • Its a nice park to stroll through and the ropes course and train are nice attraction for the kids. The zoo is small and focused more on birds than other animals. The giraffes and big cats (leopard, jaguars and cheetahs) are definitely worth the $20 admission.