In the world of zoos, the Brevard Zoo is a superstar.
It's the only zoo in the nation that offers onsite kayaking tours. It boasts impressive community support, with the vast majority of funding coming from admissions. It’s also known for housing many threatened and endangered species from around the world, such as Grévy's zebras.
And a year-round lineup of special events at this Space Coast zoo makes it that much more exciting.
Visitors feed a giraffe at Brevard Zoo — Photo courtesy of Rain 0975
The Brevard Zoo – home to 880 different animals – has been a zoo leader ever since a small grassroots group of people decided they wanted to open a zoo more than 21 years ago. Opened to the public in 1994, it now attracts more than 400,000 guests a year, many who are visitors from outside Brevard County.
Throughout the day, visitors can experience special events, like the daily afternoon Rhino Encounter, featuring a white rhino. Head to the aviary to feed cockatiels and lorikeets. Or cool off in the Paws on Play lagoon. Here, visitors can check out the aquarium, build fords and even touch animals in the special petting zone.
Then, stroll down the boardwalk, or experience firsthand what it might feel like to be a bee flying through a hive at one of the interactive, educational exhibits.
For a unique experience, take a private group hike or safari through the zoo . . . at night. The experience is complete with snacks, drinks and games.
Animal highlights include the classics – like giraffes, apes and birds – as well as a unique black jaguar, a massive anteater and two Baird’s tapirs.
A visitor takes a photo of an underwater exhibit — Photo courtesy of donielle
The Brevard Zoo also features special events throughout the year. This summer, Tuesdays are Arctic Blast Tuesdays. Starting at 11:30 a.m., staff will dump massive ice cubes into the water play areas to help visitors cool off from the Florida heat.
Until early August, guests can witness the free, daily Butterfly Kingdom, a magical scene filled with bearded dragons and hundreds of fluttering butterflies of more than 10 different local species. If you’re there around lunchtime, you may get to help feed the dragons.
Another summer highlight is Summer Saturday nights, running 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays through the end of July. Admission is discounted, and the temperatures are typically down, too.
During these limited-time late nights, visitors can see most exhibits until dusk (except birds, butterflies and rhinos, which need their rest), with a special feature at 7 p.m. and live music, too.
While you’re there, hop on the train, go kayaking or slip a giraffe a late-night snack.
Macaws at the Brevard Zoo — Photo courtesy of Lauren Mitchell
The zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last admission at 4:15 p.m., except for special events. Other events throughout the year include the following:
- Free Science Cafes in June, where you can discuss scientific issues
- A Youth Environmental Summit in August
- Cold Blooded Weekends over Labor Day, celebrating cold-blooded animals
- Boo at the Zoo in October, in time for Halloween
- Jazzoo in November, featuring live music, alcohol and food from more than 30 local restaurants
- Washed Ashore in November, when you can meet a 10-foot shark and nine-foot octopus
- Bonsai Weekend in November, when you can learn about the art of bonsai
- And Holiday Happenings throughout December
A jaguar at the Brevard Zoo — Photo courtesy of ~Ealasaid~