This is number 14 in my series of articles about where you and your children can go in Naples, Florida when you’re parenting alone. Whether you’re divorced, separated or just have the kids for the day I hope these articles serve as a nice list for you to select from as you organize your day with your kids. I’m also a dad along with being a lawyer.
Right by Goodlette-Frank Road and Golden Gate Parkway is the Naples Zoo. Originally, the Naples Zoo was a botanist’s gardens but became retooled as a Zoo in 1969. You can still see the lush foliage as you visit each animal exhibit.
Admission to the zoo is $ 21.95 for an adult and $ 12.95 for a child age 3 through 12. Children under 3 are free. If you have more than one kid and plan to go to the Naples Zoo more than once a year, you should buy a membership. If you’re a Collier County or even a Florida resident a membership costs $ 99 a year and lets two adults and unlimited children who live with the adults into the zoo any time.
For a smaller city like Naples, Florida this zoo is really impressive with lots of animal exhibits.
No zoo in Florida is complete without an alligator exhibit and the Naples Zoo is no exception. Of course, these scary fellows have a scheduled feeding time.
An African oasis features all of the herbivore animals of Africa like zebu, impalas, leopard tortoises and gazelles.
The Giraffe exhibit lets you feed the giraffes lettuce leaves by hand for just a few dollars a leaf.
Every zoo has a lion’s den and Naples makes sure to include all the big cats. Lions are fenced in. Tigers have their own bamboo forest. There are both spotted and black leopards living together separated from you by just a think pane of glass.
A Zoo should always focus on the native animals of the area. The Naples Zoo has a black bear exhibit (there are black bears everywhere in Florida). Of special focus to South Florida is the Florida panther exhibit where the endangered “species” the Florida panther is on full display. The Florida panther is a great subject to bring up with kids because you can discuss whether the Florida panther really is a species at all or whether it’s just a branch of the North American Lion family like Pumas and Cougars (who are the same thing). These are the kind of debates a lawyer likes to have with children.
There are no monkeys in cages at the Naples Zoo because the monkeys are kept on islands in a lake (monkeys can’t swim). You take a regularly scheduled boat ride to view the various monkey islands. The monkeys are always active in the trees.
There are daily events at the Naples Zoo where a zookeeper will showcase a particular animal with a lecture, demonstration and question and answer session.
After the Naples zoo you can go across the street to the indoor mall, the Coastland Center for some food and shopping.
The Naples Zoo is just six miles from my Naples, Florida law office. Directions below: