Guide to Naples Zoo and Meet Athena, the Florida Panther and Her Friends!

Guide to Naples Zoo and Meet Athena, the Florida Panther and Her Friends!
Naples Zoo - Photo by
SHARE - Naples Zoo also is known as Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, spread over 43 acres of land in Naples, Florida, United States. The Naples Zoo is home to about 70 species. The zoo was nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and become a member of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK). 

You need to plan your visit to Naples Zoo so you will be able to enjoy every exhibit as a whole, especially if you bring your kids. Here is the guide that you need to read before you explore the zoo.

Let's check them out!

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

Naples Zoo - Photo by

In 1919, a botanist and ornithologist, Dr. Henry Nehrling did the first plantings in Naples Zoo. The land was originally owned privately by him to protect his plant collection.

Sadly, the zoo was abandoned after Nehrling's death in 1929. But, in the 1950s, Julius Fleischmann "rebuild" the Naples Zoo by adding new plantings, created new lakes and a pathway. Precisely in 1954, he also introduced parrots and waterfowl and opened as Caribbean Gardens.

Nowadays, under the leadership of President and CEO jack Mulvena, the Naples Zoo supports conservation efforts to raise the growing number of critically endangered species in the wild and successfully attract over 350,000 visitors every year.

As the home for more than 70 species, the Naples Zoo has some exhibits that you cannot miss to explore. Here are the exhibits:

1. Alligator Bay

Providing a natural habitat for the American Alligators, Naples Zoo always giving his best to preserve this large crocodilian reptile which becomes the native in the Southeastern United States.

2. South American Exhibits

In this exhibit, you can meet the red-rumped agoutis, cotton-top tamarins,red-footed tortoises, and giant anteater in their habitat-like to learn about how they live in nature.

3. African Antelope

As the home for a breeding pair of mountain bongo, this exhibit is located on the south side of the path opposite the Alligator Bay. The critically endangered antelope is preserved from the Mount Kenya area which only remains about 80 in the wild. Besides, there are also slander-horned gazelles that come from northern Africa and only remain about 340 in the wild.

4. Clouded Leopards

This glass viewing cage is home for the breeding pair of clouded leopards. In this exhibit, you can gather information about how you purchase the snacks, cosmetics, and any other household which can rising the risk of hurting the clouded leopards, orangutans, tigers, and any endangered animals. Such a nice place to educate your kids, right?

5. Lake Victoria

Has some islands in the exhibit, the Lake Victoria is home to the primates in the Naples Zoo. You can see these mammals from a close distance.

6. Expedition Cruise

This expedition will make you possible to have a tour in the lake around the zoo's catamarans to explore the majority of the species on the island which are endangered in the wild.

7. Lagoon Loop

In this exhibit, you will be able to meet the king of the jungle, the lion. As the supports of the Ruaha Carnivore Project through the African Wildlife Foundation. Besides, you can also find zebras in this exhibit.

8. Giraffes

An exhibit in the Naples Zoo that makes you possible to feeding the reticulated giraffes or also known as Somali Giraffe.

9. Fosas of Madagascar

Is home for rare carnivore mammal which endemic to Madagascar which physically likes a cat.

10. Black Bear Hammock

This exhibit will show you two separate habitats, one that stimulates a natural environment and one that stimulates a back yard. You will be able to see the black bears which native to North America from behind the glass. This exhibit is also considered the largest black bear exhibit in accredited zoo east of the Mississippi River.

11. Tiger Forest

By providing a naturalistic bamboo forest habitat for the Malaysian tigers, this exhibit will show you how the zoo participating in the conservation program.

12. Backyard Habitat

This garden is home to the underwater species in Naples Zoo which live in a pool. The Backyard Habitat is certified by the National Wildlife Federation to join the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program.

13. Panther Exhibit

As the home for the Athena, a Florida Panther which found in Big Cypress National Preserve after being abandoned by her mother. At that time she was only less than a month old whereas she needs to spend at least six months with her mother to learn how to survive in nature. So, after the rescue, she cannot return to the wildlife and become a permanent resident in the Naples Zoo.

Naples Zoo Hours

Naples Zoo - Photo by

The Naples Zoo will be giving you a full outdoor experience (including outdoor entry and exit) if you visit the zoo start from 8.30 AM to 4 PM, with the last entry at 2 PM, every day along the year. 

Naples Zoo Prices

Naples Zoo - Photo by

You need to prepare some bucks before visiting Naples Zoo to enjoy all of the amenities and also to supports their effort to preserve the wildlife both in the zoo and in the wild. Here are the admission prices:

  • Adults (ages 13 and up): $22.95
  • Children (ages 3 - 12): $14.95
  • Children ages 2 and under: Free
  • Naples Zoo Members: Free
  • Military Adults (w/ valid military ID): $17.95
  • Parking: Free


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