WATSON ISLAND (CBSMiami) – One of Miami’s longest running attractions is celebrating its 75th birthday.
Jungle Island, home to some of the world’s rarest animals, is commemorating the momentous occasion on Tuesday with a day-long birthday party. Jeff Shimonski, an employee of Jungle Island, said he loves the park because he can see exotic animals without leaving Miami.
“You’re in the middle of the City of Miami, you’re in the middle of concrete buildings and then you come into the park,” said Shimonski, “You’re in the jungle, you could be anywhere in the tropics or sub-tropics.”
Jungle Island began as Parrot Jungle back in 1936 and became known for its colorful array of exotic birds. In those days, the attraction was located Pinecrest. After the move, the park was renamed in 2007.
Over the years the park has grown and changed with an ever increasing collection of rare animals.
“We have everything from a kangaroo in a pouch to a tiger to a monkey to my favorite, Ray the warthog,” said Jungle Island Employee Jason Chatfield.
In addition to the shows and attractions, guests will be treated to live and giveaways. No birthday is complete without a cake! South Florida’s own Edda’s Cake Designs will unveil their custom cake creation specially made for the occasion.
“It’s just a place you can come relax in and have a fun, have a great day while you interact with the animals,” said Jungle Island Employee Ruby Seyas, “It’s just a fun day.”
Park goers are invited to participate in their interactive Facebook contest. Guests can share photos of themselves visiting the park whether new or old. The lucky winner with the most “likes” on their photo will receive a family four-pack of Annual Passes, a private tour with Jungle Island’s general curator and lunch overlooking Flamingo Lake.
For those jungle lovers, if you purchase one general admission ticket between now and the first part of January you’ll receive a free annual passport to the park for the full year.