Sarasota's Favorite Family Attraction!

Established in 1939

Animals

We have over 200 animals throughout the park

  • Parrots, Macaws, Cockatoos, Conures, etc.
  • Primates (Ring-tailed Lemurs)
  • Amphibian (Pac Man Frog)
  • Tortoises (Aldabra, Sulcata, Gopher)
  • Birds (Parrot, Cockatoo, Conure, Macaw, Hawk, Flamingo, Owl, Turaco, Kookaburra)
  • Petting Zoo (Mini Pigs, Turkeys, Chickens, Goats, Emu)
  • Reptiles (Crocodiles, Alligators, Snakes, Lizards)
  • Small Mammals (Rabbit, Prairie Dog, Skunk, Porcupine, Coatimundi)

Our Birds of Prey are Fine Feathered Friends

All of the Gardens’ Birds of Prey have been injured at one point in their lives and cannot be returned to the wild. Most recently, the Gardens acquired “Who” the Barred Owl. “Who” was given to Sarasota Jungle Gardens by a local wildlife rescue organization. “Who”, who cannot be returned to the wild has torn ligaments in its wing and can no longer fly.

Another of our long time residents, Cheyenne, a Red Shouldered Hawk, was found in the wild with injuries and was given to Sarasota Jungle Gardens by the State of Florida, Freshwater Fish and Game Commission. After an extensive examination by an avian veterinarian, Cheyenne was diagnosed with a severe metabolism deficiency, which, if left untreated, would have eventually killed her. Now happy and healthy, Cheyenne can be seen in our Birds of Prey show, presented twice daily.

Squint, the one-eyed Screech Owl, is another feathered friend that came to the Gardens as a rescue bird, and is featured in the Gardens’ Birds of Prey presentation, which focuses largely on native Florida species.

Alligators, Crocodiles and Snakes Alive!

Sarasota Jungle Gardens presents two exciting, educational reptile shows daily. No alligator wrestling here, just the facts about Florida’s native dinosaurs! Plus, a gopher tortoise and a pair of Aldabra tortoises named Roscoe and Bertha.

Recent additions include two bearded dragons, a skink, a creamsicle snake and other slithering critters you won’t want to miss.

All of the Crocodilians that you see at Sarasota Jungle Gardens are either on loan from various reptile farms throughout the state or have been given to the Gardens by the State of Florida, Freshwater Fish and Game Commission to be used for educational purposes.

Prairie Dogs Make Their Home at Sarasota Jungle Gardens

They’re cute. They’re cuddly. And they can now be found at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

We’re talking, of course, about Prairie Dogs. Lovable but rather destructive little creatures who exist on a diet of grass, rodent chow and the occasional toasted oat cereal or sweet potato treat. Their destructive nature lies in their ability to burrow with the best of burrowers but thanks to a special habitat at Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the only holes they are digging now are within their own four walls.

A friendly critter by the name of “Putter” joined our family after being relocated from Sarasota’s municipal golf course, the Bobby Jones Golf Club, where he drew national attention for his odd facial expressions and overtly friendly nature. While certainly a favorite among members, his golf course antics weren’t helping lower anyone’s handicap and thus his new home at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Our Flamingos are Very Pretty in Pink

Sarasota Jungle Gardens has a large number of American Flamingos and is one of the few zoos in the United States that allows their flock of flamingos to roam freely. Did you know that flamingos derive their pink color from their diet of shrimp and other crustaceans?

American Flamingos are native to the Caribbean and small pockets in Central and South America. A small colony migrates to South Florida during the spring of each year to breed and nest. Sarasota Jungle Gardens has been granted special permits by the Federal and State governments to collect the eggs each year until the flock peaks at 50 birds. When the eggs are collected (10 at a time) they are incubated here at the Gardens, hatched and hand-raised by the Gardens’ zookeepers until they are old enough to join their adult cousins in the Open Gardens.

Many of the exotic birds that call Sarasota Jungle Gardens “home” have come here via pet owners who can no longer care for their birds. And, many of these birds have out-lived their owners as the average life span of a Macaw in captivity can range from 40 to 100 years. If you are thinking about owning an exotic species of bird, like a Macaw or Cockatoo or any large parrot, make sure you are prepared to keep the animal for many years (which may include putting it in your will). Patience is required to manage these birds, which are similar to two-year-old children or young puppies.

Our Family Continues to Grow

Over the years, the Gardens’ mammal population has grown to include monkeys, prairie dogs, and lemurs, many of them donations or rescue animals.

Approximately 85% of the animals at Sarasota Jungle Gardens have been rescued by state and federal organizations from abusive homes or places with inhumane conditions. Many were sick or injured and some simply out-grew or out-lived their owners. Within our sanctuary, these animals will likely remain here for the rest of their lives.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens has designed some of their exhibits, shows and off-site presentations in order to help educate the public on exotic pet ownership. In Florida, exotic pet ownership has become rampant due to our sub-tropical weather and leniency toward the importation of various species of reptiles, insects, birds and mammals. Despite the fact that it is illegal to do so, many irresponsible pet owners release these exotics into the Everglades, local lakes and ponds, as well as populated neighborhoods. Most of the animals have not only survived but have actually thrived, reproducing in numbers that are literally taking over some areas of the State.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens receives hundreds of phone calls each year from exotic pet owners offering to donate their beloved exotic pets to us. What most do not realize is that the “free” pet that has been offered, is not without cost to Sarasota Jungle Gardens as most exotics need some sort of medical attention, must be quarantined for up to six weeks, must be inoculated for various diseases and put on special diets. This, plus the cost of the special habitats, ongoing food, and daily care required, can become quite expensive.

The Gardens is not a large facility so we cannot accommodate all of the animals that are offered to us, but we can give the gift of education to those who are considering purchasing or adopting an exotic pet.