Have you ever been to the zoo and wished to pet the animals, but you couldn’t? Well, at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF) Miami Zoo situated in Miami, South Florida, you can get to experience that and beyond.
The ZWF Miami Zoo offers an experience of an intimate once-in-a-lifetime encounter with wild animals, an experience you will not get anywhere else in Florida. ZWF Miami Zoo is a small, intimate zoo that aims to educate the public of rare and endangered animals both in the wild and in captivity. They believe that educating the public on these endangered animals will help preserve them for a long time and decrease their disappearance daily.
A Little About The Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF) Miami Zoo
ZWF is one of its kind in South Florida to allow an encounter with the animals. It is a five-acre zoo that houses over 40 rare animal species at their location, with plenty of these available for interaction with tourists. The animals that are available range from domestic animals and primates to big predatory birds and mammals.
Among the animals available for interaction are:
- Gibbon Apes
- Tiger Cubs
- Lions Club
- Capuchin monkeys
The ZWF allows tourists and guests intimate tours and interaction with their exotic animals by appointment. It is recommended to contact them and schedule an appointment for the best experience; it will most probably be one of the best experiences you will ever have with animals.
Where Do The Tiger Cubs Come From?
You may be wondering where did all these animals come from? The tiger cubs used in the zoo would have been rejected at ‘normal’ zoos; they would have been euthanized if it weren’t for projects like the ZWF. At ZWF Miami Zoo, they house matured tigers together, occasionally mate, although not encouraged, and therefore have cubs born.
If this is the case, the cubs are taken in and raised from the first day they are born if the birth mother abandons the cubs or refuses to raise them by herself. So if you were wondering where the parents of these cubs are; they are there, but mostly the cubs are born under captivity, and the parents are instinctively not interested in taking care of their cubs which is where ZWF steps in to take over from the beginning.
Where Do The Adult Rescues Come From?
The animals are usually rescue animals from different locations, taken under different situations. So,e of these animals was kept illegally and taken and brought to the ZWF program, while others are from facilities such as ZWF.
In contrast, others are taken from rehab/rescue centers. Sometimes ZWF may have a few animals which are shipped right to their program to propagate.
Booking A Tour To ZWF Miami
Tours are conducted daily at the zoo between 9 a.m and 6 p.m (only by reservation), and the office is open between 8 a.m and 6 p.m. to book online, telephonically, or in person.
One may choose from multiple packages depending on the type of experience they may wish to have. For example, a tourist may choose to book the overall experience ZWF VIP Jungle Experience package, which allows them a 5-hour uninterrupted guide experience that includes:
- The overall wildlife experience
- Presentations of the animals
- Encounter with the owl
- Interactions with feline
- Experience with primates
- Encounter with the sloth
- Interaction with tamandua
- Lunch catered for (1 hour)
- Special appearance from Limbani, the world-famous chimpanzee
This awesome package is priced as:
- $4000.00 for any two adults (18+) and $1000.00 for each additional adult
- $1200.00 for any two children aged between 4-17, and $500 for each additional child
There are several other affordable packages such as the ‘General Wildlife Experience’ package. In this package, the tourist still gets to have an intimate experience with the habitant animals and has the opportunity to tour the multi-acre park. It is a 1 hour guided tour that also allows hands-on interactions with the several wildlife animals of your choosing. All this experience comes at the affordable price of:
- $95.00 per adult over 18 years
- $60.00 per child between 4 and 17 years
Please note that the prices exclude tax and any donations; additionally, no interaction with any wildlife over 40 lbs will be allowed, as stated by the law of Florida.
What You Need To Know Before The Visit
On the day of the visit, you will get a tour guide who is just as passionate about animals and has extensive knowledge about them. Each tour guide is equipped to answer any question that visitors may have, from broad topics to more specific questions. That is because, at ZWF, they personalize individual encounters on every tour according to the guest to ensure they get the most experience out of their time with them.
Booking an intimate tour with ZWF will feel like going to an old friend’s house who owns a private zoo in their backyard, right in Miami. Each visit with every animal is booked in advance to make it intimate, educational, and unique for the tourist without the usual overcrowding found in any typical zoo in Miami. Their only advice to the tourist is ‘to be sure that they charged their camera on the day of the tour because they will want to remember the exciting encounters they will have with animals.’