Summer time is almost here and it’s a great time to check out some of the zoos and aquariums in South Florida. Whether you love land animals or sea creatures, South Florida has it all! These top five exhibits are ones to not miss this summer. Many are also very interactive, making them a hit with adults and children alike.

(Source: zoomiami.org)

Amazing Animals: Built To Survive
Zoo Miami
12400 S.W. 152nd St.
Miami, FL 33177
(305) 251-0400
zoomiami.org

Dates: Exhibit lasts until August 28, 2016 and runs daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This educational exhibit teaches children and adults some of the amazing natural techniques and features of animals that help them survive. Whether about the giraffe’s long neck or a cheetah’s fast speeds, anyone who participates in this exhibit is sure to learn some cool and interesting animal facts. The exhibit is located in Dr. Wilde’s World at Zoo Miami.

(Source: jungleisland.com)

Parrot Cove
Jungle Island
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, FL 33132
(305) 400-7000
www.jungleisland.com

Dates: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Not only does Jungle Island have tons of animals and plants to see, but the location is also home to Miami’s only private beach. Parrot Cove is the ultimate tropical beach playground with phenomenal views of both Biscayne Bay and the downtown Miami skyline. The cost to visit Parrot Cove is included in Jungle Island admission; however, an all-day pass to use Rainforest Riptide is $15 per person. Rainforest Riptide is a huge water playground with tons of fun for the entire family.

(Source: floridakeysaquariumencounters.com)

The Hungry Tarpon
Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
11710 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050
(305) 407-3262
www.floridakeysaquariumencounters.com

Dates: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Located halfway down the Keys, this aquarium is worth making a day trip. Unlike many other aquariums or zoos, the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters actually compliments the natural coastal features of its location by letting the canal area directly connect to the fresh and natural waters of Vaca Cut. This canal area is home to the Hungry Tarpon exhibit where visitors can participate in live tarpon feedings. Tarpon fish can grow to over 300 pounds as adults. This event is not scheduled, occurring throughout the day, but the best feedings happen in the late afternoon closer to closing time.

Related: Best Outdoor Amusement Venues In South Florida

(Source: monkeyjungle.com)

Rainforest Adventure Tour
Monkey Jungle
14805 S.W. 216th St.
Miami, FL 33170
(305) 235-1611
www.monkeyjungle.com

Date: Tours daily at 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Explore the “rainforest” without leaving South Florida at Monkey Jungle’s Rainforest Adventure Tour. This tour allows participants to get up close and personal with monkeys in their natural habitat. The tour even offers an opportunity to feed the monkeys. The tour cost of $89.95 per participant includes zoo admission, monkey food and continuous shows. This unique wildlife park has been open since 1935 and boasts being a place “where humans are caged, and monkeys run wild!”

(Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Butterfly Island
Secret Woods Nature Center
2701 W. State Road
Dania Beach, FL 33312
(954) 357-8884
www.broward.org

Date: Open daily (except Day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This nature center allows people to immerse themselves in nature and experience a one of a kind Butterfly Island. The ‘island’ is really a walk through butterfly garden that is home to numerous butterflies, from monarchs to giant swallowtails, and even cloudless sulphur. Be sure to also check out the Monarch Interpretive Center where you can see a working beehive up close. The nature center also has a reptile habitat. Many other wildlife can also be seen on-site at the Secret Woods Nature Center.

Related: Best Places To Get In Touch With Nature

Suzy Fielders is a working mom of a spirited 9 year old daughter. She has an MA in Communication Studies and BA in Psychology and Communications. She works in marketing/public relations, is a freelance writer and is very involved in the Winston-Salem community and arts & films scene.