Unlock the Thrills and Beauty of Jungle Island Miami

Estimated read time 10 min read

Unlock the Thrills and Beauty of Jungle Island Miami

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Miami, there is a hidden gem that promises to transport you to a lush tropical paradise, where you can encounter some of the world’s most exotic and rare animals. – Welcome to Jungle Island.

If you are looking for a safari in Miami, this is pretty close to it, or at least as close as it gets. 

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Jungle Island Miami is on Watson Island, which is immediately east of downtown Miami. The island is located in the midst of Biscayne Bay, via the MacArthur Causeway, giving you spectacular waterfront views and a lush, tropical environment to explore. It’s easy to reach by vehicle, taxi, or public transit, and there is plenty of parking. When you arrive, you’ll feel transported to a secluded forest far from the noise and bustle of the city.

Jungle Island Miami Entrance Fee

Garden Admission $19.99 (ages 10+), $14.99 (ages 3 – 9)

During limited times, you may find promo access to the gardens for FREE.  

At regular rates, the following are included:

  • Treewalk Village
  • Walk through the Everglades Habitat
  • Spider Web climb and more at the playground

Additional Activities at Jungle Island

You can upgrade your experience to include more personal, up close encounters with the animals and different levels of zip-lining and ropes courses.

VIP Tours 

Indulge in an unforgettable adventure where you can experience special stops at the Kangaroo Walkabout and lemur enclosure before mingling with the flamboyance of Jungle Island flamingos! With the VIP tour, you can also choose to have an up-close encounter with exotic parrots, reptiles, or giant tortoises – an interaction with each! (ages 6+) $299

Animal Encounters

Lemurs – personally interact with the lovable and rambunctious lemurs! This hands-on encounter offers a rare opportunity to play with these endangered mammals and learn fun facts from the educational guides. You’ll even get to feed the lemurs their favorite veggies right from the palm of your hand! (ages 6+) $65 and $10 for accompanying observers

Sloths – get up close and personal with the slow-moving, nocturnal mammals. (ages 12+) $65 and $10 for accompanying observers

Flamingos – Don’t miss your chance to feed and interact with these beautiful birds during this one-of-a-kind encounter. (ages 10+)  $65 and $10 for accompanying observers

Treetop Trekking

Discovery Courses, 3 – 7 ft off the ground (ages 5+) $44.99 

Explorer Trek, 20 – 25 ft in the air (ages 9+) $54.99

Thrill-Seeker Trek, about 55 ft above ( ages 9+) $74.99

Petting Zoo

The Jungle Island petting zoo is popular with younger guests and is included in your admission cost. Children can engage with farm animals such as goats, sheep, and bunnies here. It’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to learn about animals in a hands-on setting.

Recommendations:

  • Plan your day in advance: Check the show and encounter schedules and organize your day accordingly. Jungle Island hosts various shows throughout the day featuring different animals. These shows are both entertaining and educational.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes because you will be walking a lot. Remember to bring a hat and sunscreen for sun protection.
  • Stay Hydrated: Miami may be extremely hot, especially during the summer. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Take your time: The beauty of Jungle Island is in its details. Take your time to enjoy the lush landscapes, observe the animals, and learn about them.
  • Respect the animals and their environments. Follow all staff members’ directions to guarantee a safe and pleasurable experience for everyone.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed something that shouldn’t happen as a devoted watcher of both human and animal behavior. While visiting Jungle Island, I noticed a man playing with one of the parrots. To put it plainly, he was cuddling it. He also discovered the hard way that wildlife bites. Yes, I contemplated filming before the bite, but I absolutely oppose arbitrarily filming someone without their consent, even if they are doing something egregiously wrong. 

And he got his just desserts; therefore, everything is fine in the world.  Furthermore, they offer you such close access that I’m positive there are cameras everywhere. He was directly in front of a sign that said, “Do not touch the animals”. Don’t be that guy. Remember that animals bite.  They may not even be trying to harm you; many of them bite as part of their play with each other.

The Animals of Jungle Island

As you tour the gardens of Jungle Island Miami, you’ll be able to see birds, mammals, primates, reptiles, and fish.  Here’s a glimpse of who you might encounter:

Black Palm Cockatoos

Visit the Black Palm Cockatoos, who are distinguished by their distinctive beaks and brilliant red and black tongues. Bird enthusiasts adore these very intelligent and affectionate birds, who have a talent for reproducing noises, even human speech.

Blue & Gold Macaw

Enter the world of the Blue & Gold Macaw, with its captivating blue feathers and golden-yellow highlights. These amazing birds are not only visually stunning, but they can also mimic human speech, making them ideal companions for anyone looking for a talkative pet.

American Flamingo

Discover the exquisite beauty of the American Flamingo, the only flamingo species found in North America. Admire their brilliant pink feathers, which are a result of their shrimp-rich diet, and observe their unique eating approach, which involves using their beaks and tongues to filter food from the water.

Yellow-naped Amazons

Discover the world of Yellow-naped Amazons, masters of mimicry and communication. These talkative parrots form lifelong monogamous bonds, showcasing their intelligence and commitment to their mates. They serve an important role in preserving the diversity of their Central American ecosystem as seed dispersers.

Red Kangaroo

Be enchanted by the grace and power of the Red Kangaroo, the largest marsupial in the world. Witness their incredible speed, reaching up to 40 miles per hour when hopping, as they navigate the arid landscapes of Australia with ease.

Capybara

Dive into the world of the Capybara, the gentle giants of the rodent kingdom. These social animals live in close-knit groups, showcasing their excellent swimming skills and their ability to stay submerged for impressive durations.

White-handed Gibbon

Experience the agility and vocal prowess of the White-handed Gibbon, swinging through trees at astonishing speeds. Marvel at their monogamous bonds and distinctive vocalizations that resonate for miles, creating a symphony in the jungle.

White-faced Capuchins

Join the White-faced Capuchins on their adventures, as they showcase their intelligence by using tools and demonstrate their strong social structure within their lively groups. Witness their varied diet and their playful antics as they navigate their habitat.

The Landscapes of Jungle Island

As you enter Jungle Island, you start a circular uphill walk past some of the mammals and then downhill into the lush jungles. Towering trees, lush foliage, and colorful flowers surround you.

Winding rivers flow through the park, offering a serene setting to relax and take in the scenery. A delightful array of vibrant plants and flowers are showcased in the gardens, with striking colors and unique textures that capture the eye. 

Jungle Island is home to a wide range of plants and trees, many of which are indigenous to the area. The gigantic bamboo plant is the largest member of the grass family and may grow up to 100 feet tall, among other intriguing facts about the plant. The Kapok tree, which grows in the jungle, is famous for its fluffy white cotton-like seeds, which were originally used to stuff mattresses. The Carambola tree, often known as the Star Fruit Tree, is famous for its wonderful, juicy, star-shaped fruit. These are just a few of the many unique plants and trees found on Jungle Island.

macaw

The History of Jungle Island

Jungle Island, originally known as Parrot Jungle, has a rich history dating back to 1936. Franz and Louise Scherr, who migrated to Miami from New York, founded it. Franz Scherr was a feed and supply store owner who became interested in parrots when customers started asking for bird food. Seeing an opportunity, he rented 20 acres of hammock property for $25 per month and transformed it into a tropical paradise with free-flying birds.

The park officially opened on December 20, 1936, with 25 cents as the admission fee. The initial attraction was the beauty of the site’s lush landscape and the chance to wander among and interact with free-flying parrots and other birds.

Parrot Jungle was one of the first tourist attractions established in Miami, and it quickly gained popularity. Winston Churchill visited the park in 1946, and his signed guestbook entry is one of the park’s treasured artifacts. In the 1950s and 1960s, the park expanded to include additional exotic animals and started hosting animal shows.

In 2003, the park was moved to its present location on Watson Island and renamed Jungle Island. The new location allowed the park to expand its offerings and include more exhibits and animals, including mammals and reptiles.

One notable resident was “The Flamingo That Lived Forever.” This refers to a Chilean flamingo named Pinky, who lived in the park for nearly 80 years, making it one of the longest-living flamingos on record.

Several motion pictures have been filmed here, including Police Academy, and the park’s flamingos were featured in the opening credits of Miami Vice.

Jungle Island has evolved significantly since its opening in 1936. It has grown from a parrot sanctuary into a vibrant zoological park, showcasing a wide variety of animals and providing interactive and educational experiences for visitors of all ages. However, its core values have remained the same, emphasizing respect for nature and promoting conservation efforts.

Final Thoughts

It is a rare occasion that you get to enjoy a bit of history and charm that is also still a hidden gem.  Jungle Island, nestled quietly in the heart of Miami, is just that gem. It’s perfect for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, as well as a fun family day out.

You have the opportunity to get up close with parrots, the true stars of the place. But for your own safety and theirs, be respectful and follow the rules.

So, what are you waiting for? Make plans to visit Jungle Island right away. Set off on an incredible adventure where you can encounter extraordinary animals, participate in adventurous activities, and be immersed in nature’s splendor. At Jungle Island, there’s an entire universe waiting for you to discover, and it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Happy Wandering!

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