About the Central Florida Zoo
Enter the enchanted, tropical world of the Central Florida Zoo, a relaxing, entertaining and educational experience for the entire family. Discover a world of animals from around the world within this intimate park nestled in the heart of Florida. Stroll along shaded, winding boardwalks and paths as you see towering elephants, appreciate the beauty of the hyacinth macaw and listen to the song of the kookaburra. Or dare to meet some of the world’s most venomous reptiles and non-venomous snakes, lizards and frogs in the Herpetarium.
See animals like the Puerto Rican Coqui, endangered Amur leopards, venomous king cobra and playful spider monkeys. The recently transformed Butterfly Sensory Garden incorporates touch, look, listen and smell stations, contrasting human and insect senses.
Discovering animals is just the beginning. Over 75,000 school children participate in formal education programs every year, fostering an appreciation for animals and the importance of biodiversity. Programs like Two-to-the-Zoo for second graders and Curric-ZOO-lum for third grade students, integrate mathematics, language arts, geography and social science into a fun day of learning. Create Your Own ZOOVenture programs are customized to meet the needs of teachers. Whatever the program, they are all designed to meet Florida Sunshine State Standards requirements.
Conservation of animals is paramount; many endangered species entrusted to our care may soon be extinct in the wild. Captive breeding programs may be their only hope for survival. Species Survival Plans, coordinated through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, are attempting to maintain genetic diversity to ensure healthy, vigorous animals to reproduce now and in the future. Beyond this, SSPs participate in a variety of other cooperative conservation activities such as research, public education, reintroduction and field projects. The Central Florida Zoo participates in 12 SSP programs.
Mission of the Central Florida Zoo:
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is dedicated to preserving the beauty and wonder of animals and their habitats. We are committed to sharing our knowledge, engaging visitors, and celebrating our natural world.
History of the Central Florida Zoo:
First established as the Sanford Zoo in 1923 with a collection of donated animals held by the Sanford Fire Department. In 1941, the zoo was relocated to new facilities in downtown Sanford, on the site of the present City Hall. The Zoo of today, opened its doors at its present site on July 4, 1975 and it continues to grow as Seminole County's premier recreational and educational attraction.
Directions & Map to the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford
3755 N.W. Highway 17-92 at I-4 (Exit 104)
Click here for Map and Directions
On I-4, travel east to Exit 104 (Highway 17-92). Take a left off of exit ramp onto 17-92. The Zoo is 1/8 mile on the right on Highway 17-92.
On the Central Florida Greenway (417), travel north until it ends in Sanford at I-4. Head east on I-4 to Exit 104 (Highway 17-92). Take a left off the exit ramp onto 17-92. The Zoo is 1/8 mile on the right on Highway 17-92.
On I-4, travel west to Exit 104. Exit right off the ramp onto Highway 17-92. The Zoo is 1/4 mile on the right. On Highway 17-92, travel south through Volusia County toward Sanford. The Zoo is on the right side, just past the St. Johns River bridge.
Take Interstate 95 to State Road 46, Exit 81 (Sanford/Mims). Travel west to Sanford. Turn right on Highway 17-92 and follow through Sanford and around the lake front. The Zoo is two miles past the hospital on the left.
Take Highway 441 south to State Road 46. Go east on 46 to Interstate 4. Take I-4 east one exit. Exit at #104. Follow the signs to the Zoo.
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