5 Sep 2018
You may be asking yourself why travel off island to go to the Naples Zoo, when there is so much wildlife on Sanibel?
Certainly no one can contest the fact that an Island that is largely a nature preserve does not offer ample sightings of birds and other creatures.
But, we do love the Naples Zoo for its wonderful work in helping to preserve species from around the world without taking them out of their natural habitat. The Zoo only takes in animals that other zoos and wild life refuges cannot care for. The Zoo is dedicated to educating its human guests and treating its non-human guests with great dignity.
Only a 50 minute drive from Sanibel, the Zoo really does provide an atmosphere reminiscent of Tarzan movies. It is not a large zoo, but is beautifully landscaped complete with towering tropical flora and charming koi ponds that are crossed with wooden bridges. The feeling evoked is lush and a bit wild.
As one walks through the Zoo, the calls of the big cats and black bears can be heard echoing through the "wilderness". It is always a treat to see the activity at feeding time and a delight when new babies join the adults. Such is the case with the lovely fossas, a rare cat-like predator from Madagascar who now have some adorable and playful cubs. It is amazing to watch them scamper through the trees and leap with the greatest of ease. The Naples Zoo is the only zoo in Florida where you can have the opportunity to view Fossas!
Of course we love the big cats (lions, tigers, panthers and leopards alike), we greatly enjoyed watching the chimpanzees play on their own island. Boats navigate a small lake that passes by the chimp island and the viewing is greatly entertaining.
I must confess to a keen infatuation with a silent large animal that graces the Naples Zoo, the gentle and bashful giraffe. These long-lashed beauties are so gentle, you can truly view them up close and personal. You can hand-feed the herd of seven reticulated giraffe at Naples Zoo. You get an incredible view as the world’s tallest animals lean down to nibble fresh veggies out of your hand. For a $5 fee, you'll receive a serving of tasty giraffe treats from Wynn's Market. It's an experience you won't forget.
In fact, when you get right down to it, the Naples Zoo in its entirety is an experience you won't forget!