Who Wants To Feed A Giraffe? Exploring The Naples Zoo At Caribbean Gardens

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It is a zoo in here! Of course, I am saying this from inside the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida. Fifty-two acres of exotic plants and animals just a short drive from the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast. What began in 1919 as a tropical garden by Dr Henry Nehrling was enhanced in 1969 by the famed Tetzlaff’s with the addition of their exotic animals and the opening of the Naples Zoo. Today, it is a great way to spend a day exploring and adventuring. If you time it right you may just get to feed a Giraffe.

Giraffe feeding time at the Naples Zoo

Getting to the Naples Zoo is fairly easy. It is located at 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road and there is plenty of parking.

Naples Zoo

Map layout of Naples Zoo

Once you’ve paid your admission, grab a map and check out the daily event schedule. This will help you plan out your exploration route. You would hate to miss something just because you went the wrong way.

Schedule of daily events at the Naples Zoo

The only exhibit I really wanted to see that I couldn’t was the Primate Excursion Cruise. Due to high winds, it was closed for the day, but there is still plenty for me to see. Like the long-nosed Anteater. My guess is this is a favourite for young kids, especially if they catch the 10:00 am feeding.

Up close & personal with an Anteater at Naples Zoo

Even though the cruise isn’t running I still take a walk over to the lake. Here I am followed by a flock of American White Ibis. They must think I have some food for them to snack on. There is a bird feeder nearby that you can buy a handful of with your loose change. These guys also love to photobomb a selfie so make sure to take one.

These little fellas follow you everywhere

Photo bombed by a bird

It is time for me to catch the Giraffe feeding so I make a quick detour to their compound. There is quite a crowd assembled for the keeper’s talk. One Giraffe wasn’t too excited until the bananas came out. He thought it was nap time.

Giraffe feeding time at the Naples Zoo

A little relaxing for this tired Giraffe

A couple of them were feeling a bit playful so we got a good show of Giraffes at play.

Now I can wander the rest of the Naples Zoo and catch some of the other sights. There is a small little beach that is home to a bunch of Alligators. Here they are catching some sunshine to warm up their bodies.

Alligators getting some sun at the Naples Zoo

I was able to see a couple of the big cats as well. Normally I am in a zoo at the wrong time and they are always sleeping. This time I was able to see a Leopard and a Tiger.

Leopard at rest at the Naples Zoo

Zoo keeper feeds a Tiger

Close as I can get to a Tiger at the Naples Zoo

Love it! Next time I come back I am making sure the Primate Excursion Cruise is in operation.

 

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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Visit Florida, Paradise Coast Tourism and the Naples Zoo for hosting me and making this travel series possible. My views and opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a single, 45-year-old, gay urbanite, living in high-rise heaven in Vancouver’s chic Yaletown neighbourhood. After a ten-year career as one of Vancouver’s pre-eminent event planners, he decided it was time for a change and posted on his Facebook page “I am ready for a change. What shall I do with my life?” 30 Day Adventures was born from that status update.

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