Jungle Island - Miami
The Jungle Island zoo has been a family favorite for over 75 years, with free-flying birds of prey, and trick-performing macaws and cockatoos. It has survived the ravages of tropical hurricanes, and has grown from an avian paradise into a real jungle zoo.
In 1936, Franz Scherr set out to create a large outdoor aviary where birds could freely fly around in a natural setting. They called it Parrot Jungle. The attraction continued to expand with native flora and fauna and nature trails and soon became a Miami icon. Winston Churchill deposited his two turkeys from Texas here during his 1946 visit and the park featured in several motion pictures. You may recognize Flamingo Lake from the opening credits of the television series Miami Vice. Parrot Jungle relocated in 2003 to Biscayne Bay, where a jungle-like landscape was created. Soon after, the park adopted the name Jungle Island to mark its evolution from an aviary into a tropical paradise.
Bring out your inner explorer on the VIP Safari Tour, or interact with the wildlife during the Lemur Experience and Jungle Encounter. Keep an eye out for the various animal shows throughout the day. Don’t miss Pinky the cockatoo riding a high-wire bicycle, or the cassowary — a long-necked flightless bird — who can swallow apples whole. Interact with cougars and cuddly tiger cubs as part of the endangered animal education program. Meet the special orangutan twins Peanut & Pumpkin and the rest of the primates, and visit the barn to get a photo of Otis the llama.
La Playa, at the far side of the park, is a popular beach area to take children on a hot day, or treat the family to an ice cream at the Lakeside Café near the entrance.
Jungle Island is in Watson Island, just three miles (five kilometers) from downtown Miami. The attraction is open every day and has a free shuttle service to South Beach. There are also several public transport options with Miami-Dade Transit.