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Ever wanted to mingle with flamingos? Here are 10 ways to do it

  • Flamingos typically fly in a flock known as a "flamboyance," fitting for their showy colors.

    Seeing and interacting with flamingos

    Nothing compares to spotting flamingos in the wild, whether they're flying in a flock (or flamboyance, as it's known in nature), or feeding ankle deep in wetlands. They live wild and breed on several Caribbean islands, but often are isolated and shy, the quest of serious birders. For the rest of us, recreated natural habitats afford more up-close and personal encounters in captivity. 

    Photo courtesy of Visit Turks and Caicos Islands

  • Scarlett and Rhett interact with Flamingle program guests

    Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy | Florida

    Thank you to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy for the term "flamingle" and for the closest encounter of the pink kind you will find. The conservatory started its after-hours Flamingle program in 2018.  

    Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

  • The two flamingos are intrigued by human hair and baseball caps

    Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy | Florida

    Up to six guests share a gazebo with the flamingo pair following an educational orientation. They are not allowed to touch the birds, but the flamingos named Scarlett and Rhett will often bow to, brush up against and even "groom" guests. 

    Photo courtesy of Key West & the Florida Keys

  • Great Inagua estimates a breeding colony of 60,000

    Inagua National Park | Bahamas

    The island of Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas boasts probably the world’s largest breeding colonies of flamingos, estimated at 60,000. Guides take avid birders to their nesting site by four-wheel drive vehicles to see the birds, which are easily spooked here in their isolated salt ponds deep into Inagua National Park.

    Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

  • Flamingos on Provo, Turks & Caicos

    Turks and Caicos Islands

    The Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands chain estimates its flamingo flock at 3,000 to 8,000. The best places to spot them are Flamingo Pond and Pumpkin Bluff Pond on North Caicos, Haulover Pond on Middle Caicos, Pigeon Pond on Providenciales, Lake Catherine on West Caicos, and the salt ponds on South Caicos, which are the easiest to access.

    Photo courtesy of Visit Turks and Caicos Islands

  • "Baby James" shortly after his birth in 2018

    Flamingo Gardens | Davie, Fla.

    In a rare turn of events, Flamingo Gardens saw a hatchling born in August 2018 – the first time since the gardens introduced the flock in 1940. Among other permanent injured or rescued wildlife, it hosts 15 American (a.k.a Caribbean) flamingos, 4 greater flamingos and one Chilean flamingo.

    Photo courtesy of Flamingo Gardens

  • The salt ponds of Bonaire in the southern Caribbean attract flamingos.

    Bonaire

    The Caribbean island of Bonaire estimates a flamingo population between 15,000 and 20,000, with 3,000 breeding pairs. The number one spot for finding the island’s national bird, Goto Lake lies within Washington Slagbaai National Park. Officials request that visitors keep their distance and observe signs to avoid stressing the birds.

    Photo courtesy of BONHATA

  • Guests at Sarasota Jungle Gardens can hand feed the flamingos.

    Sarasota Jungle Gardens | Florida

    Kids especially love hand feeding the flamingos that rove Sarasota Jungle Gardens freely, one of the few zoos in the United States that allow it. Pellets cost just 25 cents for a handful or $3.25 for a bag.

    Photo courtesy of Sarasota Jungle Gardens

  • Sarasota Jungle Gardens' flock is free roaming.

    Sarasota Jungle Gardens | Florida

    With 25 flamingos on the grounds, Sarasota Jungle Gardens boasts one of the largest flamingo flocks in captivity. Flocks of 20 or more do often breed, and the attraction occasionally sees successful hatchings. 

    Photo courtesy of Sarasota Jungle Gardens

  • Flamingos in drill formation at Ardastra

    Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre | Nassau, Bahamas

    In Nassau, capital of the Bahamas, flamingos are known as "drill birds" by dint of the famous military-like marching formations they perform at Ardastra Gardens. Following the shows, which are presented three times daily, visitors can have their pictures taken with the birds.

    Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

  • Flamingos are among the most photogenic birds, often seeming to pose as they do here.

    Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre | Nassau, Bahamas

    The national bird of the Bahamas, the flamingo breeds in the islands, and Ardastra harbors a breeding flock. When the birds are not performing, they walk freely and unabashedly around the grounds among guests.

    Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

  • Hand feed the flamingos at Everglades Wonder Gardens or schedule yoga in their midst.

    Everglades Wonder Gardens | Bonita Springs, Fla.

    At Everglades Wonder Gardens, flamingos are more than a sideshow; they’re the main attraction. Besides feeding and photographing them, visitors can do Yoga with the Flamingos from November through April. The gardens are in the throes of expanding its six-bird "flamboyance" with festivities in 2019 and 2020.

    Photo courtesy of Everglades Wonder Gardens

  • Flamingos inspire romance and, at Renaissance Aruba, add exotic flair to wedding photos.

    Renaissance Aruba Resort | Aruba

    Adult overnight and day-pass guests of the Renaissance Aruba Resort can consort with the resort’s five flamingos on Renaissance Island. Kids are allowed on Flamingo Beach for picture-taking daily, 9 a.m. through 10 a.m. The flock is also available for weddings on the private island.

    Photo courtesy of Renaissance Aruba Resort

  • The flamingo habitat is one of San Antonio Zoo's most popular.

    San Antonio Zoo | Texas

    Perhaps the ultimate flamingle, you can "adopt" a flamingo at San Antonio Zoo. Mango is one of the more popular in the zoo’s Adopt-an-Animal program. For a $50 contribution, donors receive an adoption certificate, color photo of and bio about Mango, and a plush flamingo toy.

    Photo courtesy of San Antonio Zoo

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