Palm Beach Zoo
© Courtesy of Palm Beach Zoo

Spanning 23 acres in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society is a popular attraction in the South Florida area. What began as a small petting zoo now houses over 700 animals, representing a wide variety of species.

Fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the zoo also houses a 10,000 square foot animal care facility, which is the center of the zoo’s conservation efforts. Visitors can learn about the animals of the zoo, not only from the exhibits and care facility, but also through interactive shows and events held throughout the park.

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» History


The Zoo’s origins date back to the 1950s, when Parks Director Paul Dreher opened a botanical garden. Then known as Bacon Park, the attraction included a small petting zoo with a few farm animals. Over the years, the petting zoo became popular, and as it did, the Park began acquiring more animals. By 1970, the Zoo, as it became known, began charging admission, and expanded to its current 23 acre space. In the early 1980s, the Zoo ventured into the education arena, establishing programs, field-trips, classes and workshops for students, children and animal enthusiasts.

Now comprised of more than 2,400 programs, the education division helps the Zoo to fulfill its mission to inspire others to protect the natural world. Following a $30 million gift from board members Harriett and George Cornell, one of the largest single contributions to a Zoo in America, the Palm Beach Zoo began an ambitious expansion and renovation program. The development included significant habitat expansion and creation for a number of the Zoo’s most popular animals. This massive project has created significant improvements which are now enjoyed by the more than 300,000 visitors the Zoo receives each year.

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» Animals


The Palm Beach Zoo boasts many animal habitats, enclosures and exhibits for visitors to explore. Some of the highlights of its extensive animal roster include capybaras, monkeys, bats, anteaters and tropical birds. The jaguar exhibit, created during the 2003 redevelopment, is renowned as one of the best in the country. Interactive exhibits with the Zoo’s avian life showcase tropical, migratory and other birds, both large and small, in the show Wings over Water.

Other daily shows include the Wild Things Show, during which keepers and trainers educate audiences about various animals, in the Wildlife Theater. In addition to these shows, Daily Animal Enrichments, which take place throughout the park, feature keeper talks with a variety of animals, from tigers, to alligators to various primates. With furry friends to scaly scoundrels and winged wonders, the Palm Beach Zoo has many animals to educated, enlighten, and entertain.

Programs and Events

For children and families, the Zoo offers full day and part day camps for several weeks in the summer, available to children aged five to fourteen. These courses include crafts, games, rides, animal encounters, conservation activities and behind-the-scenes tours. Other special programs include family overnights, including snacks and activities, as well as Children’s Workshops.

Crafts and activities undertaken at the workshops target children aged two to four and are designed to peak interest in animals. The Zoo also offers a variety of events throughout the year. These can include Story Time for the kids, Food Truck Safaris or Roar & Pour for the adults, and Safari Nights for the whole family, with food, music, entertainment, and themed activities and education.


Featuring a robust array of educational programs and opportunities, the Zoo works to ensure its facilities not only provide ample amusement but also knowledge for all who visit. Offering a wide variety of educational opportunities, from classes and guided tours to distance learning and the Wildlife Conservation Academy, there is much to choose from in the educational arena.

Teachers and schools can take advantage of zoo visits, class overnights, and zoo school, an innovative learning experience for third to fifth graders in an outdoor classroom. Scouts and community groups take advantage of similar educational offerings. It’s not all for kids, though, with opportunities for teenagers and adults as well. The Wildlife Conservation Academy specifically targets learning, and hands on career informing activities for students aged 15-17, creating a memorable experience for participants.

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» Conservation


Sponsoring projects all over the world, The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society is working to live up to its name. These include conservation of the Greater Madidi Tambopata Landscape in Boliva, one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, and Tiger Conservation in the Endau-Rompin Landscape in Malaysia.

Their projects closer to home include research on the Palm Beach County Reef, an artificial reef program providing many benefits to the marine life in the area; the reintroduction program of the Perdido Key beach Mouse; as well as the Florida Wildlife Corridor, bringing awareness and funding to this special project protecting in the natural habitats of the Florida wetlands. On site programs at the Zoo include the Native Wildlife Rehabilitation Program, Nutritional Studies in Multiple Species, Avian Influenza Testing and Surveillance, and Goeldi’s Monkey Contraception Study. In addition, the Palm Beach Zoo is also engaged in the creation of Species Survival Plans for dozens of animals.

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» Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit  

With shops, restaurants, interactive adventures, a carousel and even a large fountain to play in on hot Florida afternoons, the Palm Beach Zoo provides a full day of activities. As the zoo also offers periodic animal experiences, daily shows and special events, visitors are advised to check the Zoo’s website for times prior to planning a trip. Easily accessible from major freeways and located in the downtown area, the Zoo is easily incorporated into a Palm Beach vacation.

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1301 Summit Boulevard, West Palm Beach, Florida 33405-3035, Phone: 561-547-9453

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Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach, Florida