Naples Zoo: Explore the Animal Kingdom in Paradise

By Jennifer Adams

Ever fed a giraffe? Or gotten face to face with an endangered Florida panther? You’ll find these uncommon experiences and more at Naples Zoo.

Giraffes at the Naples Zoo.

Situated on 43 acres in the heart of Naples, the nationally accredited Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is home to an astonishing array of species – from apex predators like lions and bears to colorful rare birds – as well as scores of lush tropical gardens. Here are some of the wonders you’ll find at this Paradise Coast gem.

Panther at the Naples Zoo
From Anteater to Zebra: Get Up Close with Animals

From a herd of grazing African plains zebras to cheetahs, giraffes, pythons and more, Naples Zoo offers plentiful opportunities to see spectacular exotic (and native) animals. Stroll along the zoo’s paved, tree-lined paths and see playful black bears, sleek clouded leopards, and meet Athena, a rescued Florida panther. Along Alligator Bay, glimpse American alligators sunning on the banks and gliding through the swampy wetlands. Then, hop on a 20-minute Primate Expedition Cruise across Lake Victoria to the primates’ island habitat, where you’ll see monkeys, lemurs and apes swinging through the trees and socializing.

Don’t forget your camera during your visit; you’ll find plenty of picturesque spots for capturing special memories and funny animal antics. There are also professional photographers throughout the zoo who will take photos for your group during your visit. You can purchase your images at the gift shop that day or online after your visit.

Explore the Naples Zoo
Explore the Caribbean Gardens

Animals aren’t the only interesting inhabitants at Naples Zoo. You’ll also see the mature trees and exotic plants of a historic subtropical garden founded by early conservationist and botanist Dr. Henry Nerhling in 1919 50 years before animals were brought to the zoo. (In fact, the animals’ habitats were built around the existing trees and plants!) Dr. Nehrling welcomed several renowned visitors to his gardens over the years, including President Theodore Roosevelt, famed inventor Thomas Edison and nature writer John Burroughs. Guests of Caribbean Gardens today see some of the same varieties of flora that were planted here a century ago.

Join one of Naples Zoo’s Education Programs or Camps

Education is at the heart of zoo’s mission. Sign up for Safari Squad, an educational adventure for children ages one to four and a parent, featuring an animal encounter, storybook reading, arts-and-crafts projects and other themed activities. Older kids (ages five to 12) will love Camp WILD, a daily or weekly camp with games, behind-the-scenes zoo tours and immersive animal encounters.

Grab a Snack or Meal at Locations Throughout the Zoo

All that exploring is bound to make you hungry! You’ll find two great locations within the Zoo, Café Roar and the Lakeside Café. The menus range from delicious salads, classic sandwiches, pizza, snacks, and more! Don’t miss a special treat at Dippin Dots. Guests are also welcome to bring a cooler or picnic lunch, but keep in mind that alcoholic beverages and plastic lids and straws may not be brought into the Zoo. 

Tickets can be purchased online directly from the zoo’s website. 

Explore 360° Views of the Naples Zoo Below