Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with Kids - Visiting Jacksonville Florida with Families

We Love the Jacksonville Zoo

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo. How about you, you, you? The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is one of our favorite places for an impromptu visit.  It’s such an easy way to spend a beautiful day outside. If you invest in an annual pass, you can hang out for a few hours or all day.  Here are some reasons we love our zoo, A LOT.

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is equally as fun for toddlers and big kids. All the exhibits are very accessible to strollers and wheelchairs alike. The exhibits are kid friendly and the animals are also very easy for little ones to see.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Kid Zone - Visiting Jacksonville, Florida with kids!

Kids can play all day at the Play Park! While the entire zoo is, of course, tailored toward children, this area is especially fun. It includes a hedge maze, unique play ground area (younger children will need parental assistance climbing steps and going down the large slides), carousel and petting zoo. In March, the splash pad opens! There are plenty of shaded seats for tired parents to sit back and keep an eye on their little ones.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with kids!

The zoo is so much fun that you kind of forget you are learning and getting some great exercise. We love that exhibits are organized by continent and that an entire area is dedicated to Wild Florida.

Jacksonville Zoo and Garden Carousel

The Jacksonville Zoo is dedicated to conservation. Not only does the price of your ticket (or annual pass) go towards caring for their animals, but a portion also goes toward the Zoo’s conservation mission. The Jacksonville Zoo built Northeast Florida’s first Manatee Critical Care Center. Their objective is to care for sick or injured manatees and then release them back into the wild.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with Kids

You can ride that train All. Day. Long. If you purchase a wristband, it’s good for unlimited rides. (At many other zoos, a ticket is only good for one short ride). This is such a fun way to see zoo operations behind the scenes, from nighttime habitats, to gardens that feed the animals, to veterinary facilities.  You can also take your stroller on the train!

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Giraffe Feeding

At the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens you can feed the giraffes any time! Typically other zoos have designated times for these activities and lines get very long. It’s so cool to come so close to these beauties (and wish your eyelashes were as glamorous as theirs). If it turns out the giraffes aren’t hungry, just hang on to your receipt for next time!

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Splash Pad

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has a splash pad! The water feature opens annually in March and it’s free with your zoo membership. Be sure to pack a bathing suit (and swim diaper) if you’re visiting in the hot summer months so the kids can cool off after walking around.

ZooLights at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Finally, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has tons of special events throughout the year. From kid friendly ZooLights and Boo at the Zoo to adult only events such as Brew at the Zoo, it seems like there’s always something special going on at the zoo. The Jacksonville Zoo also offers field trips, summer camp and sleepovers!

What’s your favorite thing to do at the Jacksonville Zoo?


Mattie Shepherd moved to Jax Beach from Cincinnati about 3 years ago. She was a school psychologist for 9 years and enjoys using behaviorism on her husband and 2 daughters (JK, kind of). Mattie co-leads a Daisy Troop, is very proud to be on PTA board and cheers LOUDLY watching her daughter play ALL the sports. Mattie loves exploring Jax, especially in search of parks, coffee, cocktails and delish food. At home, she likes baking with her girls, dreaming of buying a fixer upper and covering it with #shiplap, and cropping messes out of her Instagram shots.

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida

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