Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
Full zoo tour highlighting native gardens
Leaders: Zoo Staff
Start Time at Site: 10:00 AM
End Time at Site: 1:00 AM
Lunch Included? Yes
Handicap Access: Yes
Cost: $35 onsite
The Jacksonville Zoo opened on May 12, 1914 with the donation of one red deer fawn. A major redevelopment plan began in the 1990’s, and in 2005, the Jacksonville Zoo became officially known as the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and began a first-of-its-kind integration of botanical gardens among the animal exhibits. Presently, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has several Primary and Themed Gardens, each averaging over two acres in size. All of the Gardens, as well as the animal exhibits, are linked by extensively landscaped pathways known as the River of Color. Interesting plants and landscaping await the visitor around every turn as well as throughout the facility.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens makes extensive use of native plants throughout the Gardens. Your field trip will include a guided tour of the native plant areas led by members of the Zoo’s horticultural staff, who are all extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the extensive plant collection they maintain. You will learn about selecting and maintaining native plants in your own gardens and yards.
After the tour, you will enjoy domestic and imported cheeses with seasonal fruit and crackers while a member of the zoo's horticultural staff will make a presentation about the zoo's involvement in preservation of rare plant species, such as the Chapman's fringed orchid.
Your admission for the field trip includes access to all the animal exhibits, displays and gardens at the Zoo. Upon completion of the guided tour you will be free to explore the Zoo on your own for the rest of the afternoon. You will find other unique and interesting gardens include the Asian Bamboo Garden, Savannah Blooms, Trout River Plaza Garden and the Rivers of Color Gardens which line the pathways connecting the many exhibits at the Zoo. A number of food options are available throughout the Zoo as well as gift shops and other seasonal special exhibits. Added fee attractions include the new Stingray Bay and 4-D Theatre attractions as well as the Zoo Train; riding the train has been an ejoyable tradition for area families for decades.