Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Family fun in Pensacola: The Gulf Breeze Zoo!

The Gulf Breeze Zoo
50+ Acres in Gulf Breeze- great entertainment for the children!
I recently visited the Gulf Breeze Zoo with my niece for the dayso I wanted to offer some information for those new to the Pensacola area on the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

My niece had a great time at the zoo. We went around 9 am (which is right when they open)because I was told this was the best time to go~ This is true for a few reasons. This is feed time, and the animals are playful and aware. It only took us two hours to tour the entire zoo. The cost was $13.95 for myself, but my niece (who is under 2) was free. Children 2-12 are $9.95 and there is a senior discount of $12.95
The Zoo is open daily at 9 and closes between 4pm and 8pm depending on time of the year. They stay open later for Boo at the Zoo and Zoo lights. It is located at 5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy across from the Gulf Breeze Flea Market. For more information including directions, visit their website.

Here is our experience including a list of attractions at the zoo!
Free Flight Budgiery- Birds
 The free flight budgiery was one of the busiest places in the zoo. There were at least five other families in the bird budgiery at the time we were there, but there were plenty of birds to go around. Beautiful birds of every color- most were parakeets. This was definitely one of my (and Lily's) favorite attractions at the zoo.

We purchased the budgie treat stick (a mix of bird seed and honey on a stick- see in photo below) for a $1. Instantly a beautiful parakeet flew on our budgie stick. It took him about 3 minutes to eat ate all the bird seed before flying away! 
Just make sure you close the first set of doors before walking through the second- I saw a bird almost fly out when some kids were exiting!
The Safari Line Train
I didn't take a ride on the train this time, but have many times before. For an additional $3 per person, you should definitely take this 15 minute locomotive ride as you are able to see (surprisingly close up) animals as the train runs through the safari free range area. See how close that ostrich is to the train in the picture below? Good thing the train goes slow! The train promises close up glimpses of rhinos, gorillas, chimpanzees, deer, antelope, and zebras!
Lily's Favorite: The Giraffes
We saw two adults and a younger giraffe at the zoo. We purchased $3 feed cups and fed the majority of the feed to this giraffe here. As soon as we were out of feed, he left us! He did give us a quick show- licking his face- before the left.

There used to be a platform at the GB Zoo where you could be level with the giraffe's neck but that was changed this time. I still think you get close enough to the giraffe's and I'm sure this is safer!
The Petting Zoo
The petting zoo is near the entrance of the zoo. It was the second busiest attraction at the zoo when we visited. Kids can feed ($3 a cup) the goats, sheep, llamas, rabbits, a pink pig, and guinea pigs. The animals all seem to be friendly but only when you have a feed cup in your hands!

The Gorillas & The Boardwalk
This is by far one of my favorite attractions at the zoo. There's a long wooden boardwalk that sits above the free-range safari area. At the end of the boardwalk is a large river and a two large gorillas on an island. One of the zookeepers told my friend the one in the front's name is Zachary, which he responds to well. Zachary is able to blow a kiss, tell the time (well- he points to his wrist like he knows how to), jump up and down, and play peek-a-boo. That's just what we were able to prompt him to do. Make sure you try- it's too much fun! On the right is peek-a-boo and below is a short video of Zachary jumping for us. Excuse my friend who is overly excited that she got Zachary to jump up and down!

Where are the?
Elephants! A camel? that would be cool. Those were the only animals that don't live at the zoo that upset me. I don't believe the Gulf Breeze Zoo has elephants anymore. I'm sure there are a few more but I can't recall really missing anything else.

Special events at Gulf Breeze Zoo
The most popular events at the zoo are usually Boo at the Zoo for Halloween and Zoo Lights during December. The zoo also holds camps for children during summer!
You can even hold your child's birthday party at the zoo! The zoo gets used for special occasions all the time, including birthday parties, weddings, bridal parties, baby showers, and more. Contact the zoo with your next special occasion.
Gulf Breeze Zoo Online Ratings
4 out 5 stars on google
4.5 out of 5 stars on bing
3 out of 5 stars on trip advisor
Other Gulf Coast Zoos
This is definitely the only zoo in Northwest Florida. I know of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, LA (about a four hour drive) as well as an aquarium and insectarium. Adult tickets are $16 and the "Audubon Experience" for all three parks. I've been to the New Orleans Zoo and it was pretty great, definitely bigger than the Gulf Breeze Zoo. There's the Gulfarium in Fort Walton Beach and the newer Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach that feature marine animals including dolphins, sea lions, otters, tropical penguins and birds, reptiles, sea turtles and more! Otherwise, you'll have to head to Jacksonville, Birmingham, Atlanta, or South Florida!
We are definitely thankful to have the Gulf Breeze Zoo and all the cheer and education it brings to all the residents of the Gulf Coast! Please feel free to leave your experiences at the zoo below.

Until next time!
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL

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