About a half hour west of Fort Walton Beach on US 98, you’ll find the Gulf Breeze Zoo. Formerly known as The Zoo Northwest Florida, the current facility reopened in 2010. The prices aren’t bad, with the adult Adventure Pass (includes unlimited rides on the Safari Train) at $19.95, seniors (65+) at $18.95 and kids 2-12 at $15.95. You can also purchase seed sticks to feed the Budgies and food buckets for $3.50 to feed other animals. There are also animal food coin machines throughout the park.
We started with the train, to give us a chance to get familiar with the park. We’re both a bit on the fence of seeing the animals in cages, but knowing these animals are being well treated and safe from poachers, helps a bit.
Animals like the rhinos, who are endangered, get to bask in the Florida sunshine. Gnus also hang out in the shade in this pen.
A parent Rhea and lots of little baby Rheas. Those are pine cones they’re wandering through.
These guys stopped what they were doing to watch the train go by. It was a question of who was viewing who?
Once we got off the train, we decided to wander around to view the rest of the exhibits.
From there, we found the Budgie aviary. Mom went in first.
Three for one deal! Mom looks a little surprise to find herself holding three birds. But it looked so fun, I got into the action and handed my camera over to Mom for a few minutes.
It wasn’t a complete love fest. While these guys were distracting me, two of their fellow accomplices were attempting to steal my shoes.
Rude! So, we left the feathered felons behind to go find the birthday boy. Today was their male giraffe’s first birthday.
Got distracted along the way. Those are not plastic lawn ornaments. They’re the real thing. Couldn’t resist getting a picture of flamingos in Florida.
Yes, I got distracted once again. There are roaming chickens throughout the park.
But finally, we made it to the giraffe feeding area. And who do we see, but the birthday boy himself, Gibson.
Once again, I turned my camera over to Mom because this Gibson simply had to feed the other Gibson on his birthday. I mean, look at this face.
After leaving Gibson, we wandered back towards the front of the park, moving us past the big cats. The lions were sleeping, draped in shadows, but their neighbor was out in full color.
I admit I’m a dog person, but you can’t help but be impressed by the sheer size and strength of this pretty kitty.
Finally we made our way back to the gift shop/exit. We had a lovely time, but due to the Florida summer weather, I feel this place would be better viewed during a Florida winter. It is definitely a family place, especially for little ones, though we saw pre-teens and teens ooohing and awwing over the various species on display. I would recommend the Gulf Breeze Zoo for those with a love of animals and families.