This is the 5th part of our holiday in Florida, and covers a trip to the Miami Metro Zoo. If you would like to read about our trip from the beginning, you can start HERE.
A Day At Miami Metro Zoo
Although I had lived in South Florida for 4 years before returning to the UK, I had never been to Miami Metro Zoo, and despite living in Hollywood all their lives, neither had my daughters, so this seemed to be a good choice of location for a day out as a treat for their upcoming birthdays.
Much of southern Miami Dade County has been rebuilt since Hurricane Andrew hit the area in August 1992, the zoo being just one of the locations that suffered enormous damage.
Miami Metro Zoo lies well south and west of downtown Miami, over 40 miles from Hollywood, and if driving by car you do need to be aware that the toll sections of the Florida Turnpike in South Florida no longer accept cash, so you either have to have a Sunpass transponder, or face hefty fines. We opted to take the old road, US1 from where I95 ends just south of downtown, and despite having to go through a number of red light intersections, the journey wasn’t too bad.
The first thing that is noticeable about the zoo is the sheer space that it occupies and the open layout. The parking lot is enormous, and we were thankful that on the day we went there were few other visitors, since trying to walk around the zoo on a hot sticky day with 20,000 others is not my idea of a fun day out.
The other thing is that all the pathways and trails through the zoo are very wide, allowing for lots of visitors on foot, as well as for the 4-wheeled cycles that you can rent, albeit at a hefty price. As well as walking around the zoo, you can take the road train, or the air-conditioned monorail.
On arriving at the zoo we could already see the dark storm clouds looming in the distance, and we knew that the storms had arrived early that day, and soon after going into the zoo we were almost certainly going to have to find shelter.
We were not wrong, as within 15 minutes of beginning out walk around the zoo, the rain began to fall, and it came down in torrents for a good hour, during which we sheltered at an excellent exhibit hall, which had a lot of hands-on items, as well as a children’s library that my youngest daughter took an interest in, reading several books while we waited in there for over an hour for the rain to stop.
Well the rain kept on coming down in torrents, and fortunately there was enough in the building to keep the girls occupied, my eldest spending time doing some puzzles, while my youngest sat and read, and Debbie sat and waited.
Finally the rain slowed to a light drizzle, and we decided to venture forth into the outside, which by this time was very wet, but we managed ok, being optimistic and upbeat, while the drizzle just continued.
By the time we got around what I estimate to be about 1/3 of the zoo, we decided that it would be a good idea to try and find somewhere to eat lunch, since we were now soaked through, having neither rain wear or an umbrella with us. However, the main restaurant was closed for remodelling, a second grill was not cooking anything because the grill was in the open and therefore exposed to the rain. There was a third facility by the children’s zoo, which just sold well overpriced burgers, so we decided to make the best of it, to wander around what we could, and then made our way back to the car.
It must have rained for most of the 4 ½ hours that we were there at the zoo, and looking at the guide just now there is a lot that we missed, so maybe next time we are in Florida we will return to Miami Metro Zoo.
It would have been nice to just have a rain shower, since it kept many of the visitors away, and it was actually nice not being surrounded by hordes of screaming kids, however not being able to see everything and with so many sections closed, it was a bad choice for us to go there on the day that we did.
The zoo is highly rated though, and with the animals having for the most part a lot of space and no cages, it would make a good family day out provided that the weather co-operated. In the event that it’s extremely hot, the zoo does have places where you can get misted with a fine spray of water, which does help to cool you down. Nobody seems to mind getting wet on a hot day in Florida, however there are limits, and walking around the zoo in a downpour is never any fun.
CLICK HERE for the Sixth and final part of our trip to Florida.