Spring Break 2013 has come and gone in South Florida, but not without one absolutely fantastic day hanging out with all sorts of amazing birds and wild animals at Jungle Island, located on Watson Island in Miami.
Jungle Island was first opened as Parrot Jungle in 1936. Back then, it was an attraction with free flying birds and a cockatoo named Pinky who could ride a bicycle. Today, Jungle Island is home to orangutans, a liger, a white lion, kangaroos, lemurs and fish, snakes and other reptiles, as well as over three hundred different birds.
We opted to hit several shows during our visit. The first was Dr. Wasabi’s Wild Adventures. We arrived about 15 minutes before the show and got fantastic seats. There was an enclosed area where penguins were playing, so the kids were entertained. The show takes you on a safari through different animal kingdoms where the audience has the chance to meet a baby alpaca, a massive porcupine, huge alligator snapping turtle, a lemur leaping through the audience, and several other fantastic animals. It was fun, and fast paced, but we still had time to break out the cameras!
The second show we went to was Winged Wonders. The stars soared through the stadium, sang for us, rode a bicycle, just like the original Pinky did back in the Parrot Jungle days and we were amazed to see so many birds hamming it up for the audience. The one bird that stole the show for us was a six foot tall Cassowary, which is found New Guinea, nearby islands and north-eastern Australia. The cassowary at Jungle Island is the only trained one in the world. Seriously, this bird was HUGE and had a vertical leap that was ridiculous. That, plus the fact that it ate a whole apple in one bite, were unbelievable! Another totally awesome part was when Ellie was chosen from the audience to be a part of the show – her 15 seconds of fame!!!
Jungle Island offers several opportunities to interact with animals, ranging from a quarters to feed fish and goats, to $5 to go into a kangaroo pen and feed them, to $240 per person private tours. We enjoyed feeding the kangaroos, although the day had started to warm up and I think it was siesta time. We also had the great fortune of taking part in the Lemur Encounter. We followed our guide to a special lemur room located right off the courtyard and gift shop, with people watching through large windows. We had to put everything but our cameras into cabinets, and given a few ground rules. The only one I can remember is don’t stand up or they’ll poop on you. I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget that rule if I’m ever in a room full of lemurs again! Now, for the lemurs – yes, they jump, they’re actually amazing at it. From the ground, or your back, or the top of your head, they just fly through the air. They were much softer than I thought they’d be, like a very fluffy outdoor cat. They were playful, and friendly, and the girls really wanted to take one home. I can’t blame them, but think two tweens is enough for me. The cost of the Lemur Encounter is $80/adults and $72/kids 6-10. Kids under 6 are not permitted, and being in there for almost 30 minutes, I can honestly say, I think it might be a little intense for younger kids. Annual pass holders get a discounted rate on all animal encounters.
The grounds are truly lovely, and we were there on a day with perfect weather. When friends and family come to visit, and I try to think of places that they might like to visit, I’ll definitely be adding Jungle Island to my rotation. It’s a fantastic place for all ages, and really easy to get to if you head down off peak rush hour times.
Jungle Island offers one day admissions for $35/adults, $33 seniors, $27 kids 6-10, kids under 2 are free. Annual passes are only $10 more, so I’d definitely drop a few extra dollars knowing we could return any time. An added bonus is that teachers are given a free annual pass, so don’t forget your ID if you head to Jungle Island! You can check their website for more info about birthday parties, slumber parties, private events, where annual pass holders get additional discounts, and pretty much everything you’d like to find out about Jungle Island.
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. Erin received complementary tickets for Jungle Island and the Lemur Encounter. This in no way sways our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.