Laurie took this picture of Dawn and I at the entrance to Jungle Island, a 18 acre interactive zoological park on Watson Island off of the MacArthur Causeway in Biscayne Bay. The causeway links Miami with Miami Beach’s Southbeach.
Jungle Island was originally founded on the mainland back in 1936 and it’s one of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions. It was originally named Parrot Jungle…then, under new ownership, Pinecrest Gardens. Renamed Parrot Jungle once again, it was moved to Watson Island in 2003. In 2007 the name was changed to Jungle Island. Famous visitors over the years have included Winston Churchill, Jimmy Carter and Steven Spielberg.
True to it’s original name, there are many very colorful parrots on display in the park. For the most part, they are on roosts where visitors can feed them. This Scarlett Macaw is giving Laurie the wary eye… These very personable parrots can grow up to 38” in length.
Other parrots and related birds on Jungle Island include Blue and Gold Macaws, Black Palm Cockatoos, Eclectus Parrots, Hyacinth Macaws, Yellow-naped Amazons (plus a rare blue version of this Amazon) and a plethora of Lories. There are 56 different species of Lories in the world. Unlike the seed and fruit eaters, the Lories thrive on nectar and pollen from flowers.
Jungle Island has Tigers! Lots of tigers… Twice a day trainers show off the tigers and other animals at the Jungle Theater. While the animals are on a ‘leash’ or secured to the table used for their display, there is no fence between the audience and the keepers with their charges.
Tigers are rapidly going extinct in the wild. Large male tigers can measure 6’ long, (12’ with their tail), and they can weigh up to 660 lbs. All this young tiger wanted was his bottle!
This is one of Jungle Island’s white tigers. White tigers are a recessive mutant version of Bengal tigers. They tend to be larger both at birth and as an adult. They are also prone to being cross-eyed. Truly dark striped white tigers are known as Royal Bengals. For more on white tigers, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_tiger.
Another attraction at the Tale of the Tiger show was this young wolf...that was also into his bottle. There is no doubt that the crowd, especially the youngsters, really enjoyed seeing these animals up close and personal…
In our mind, this young bobcat was one of the prettiest animals shown at the Tale of the Tiger show. I’m not sure what a wolf and a bobcat, both North American species, had to do with a ‘tiger’ show…but we appreciated the fact that we had a chance to see them. Nice kitty…!
Oooo! Ahhh! The trainer told the crowd that this young white tiger and the baby gibbon are buddies…and they did seem to enjoy each other’s company.
We also attended the ‘Winged Wonder’ show at the Parrot Bowl. It was impossible to take quality photos with the birds flying quickly by. However, the highlights of this show were Mama Cass, the only known Cassowary to be trained and in a show anywhere in the world, and; a rare Andean condor. With a wingspan of 10.5’, when it sailed right over our heads, it got our attention!
Wandering around the zoo, we encountered many other animals including this tortoise. These Aldabra tortoises typically live to be 150 years old but they can live as long as 200 years. These tortoises are from the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean where over 100,000 of them live in a protected environment. A male Aldabra tortoise in the Ft. Worth Texas Zoological Park weighs over 794 lbs!
Considering the size of the facility, Jungle Island has a lot of tigers. This pretty boy’s markings were very distinct.
We couldn’t get a good photo of the park’s ‘Liger’, the accidental offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. His name is Vulcan. As per the Guinness Book of World Records, Vulcan is the largest cat on earth. He is 11’ tall/long and he weighs an astounding 900 lbs.
In this closing photo I managed to snap a photo of Laurie feeding one of Jungle Island’s Blue and Gold Macaws. Other birds in the park include African penguins, flamingos, emu, great horned owls and saurus cranes.
By zoological standards, Jungle Island is a small operation and it is a relatively expensive place to visit. Other animals include leopards, monkeys, orangutans, baboons, lemurs, alligators, iguanas and kangaroos. There is one other show as well…Dr. Wasabi’s Wild Adventures, which is held at the Serpentarium. Perhaps the costs are high due to the location… Admission was $32.95 for visitors between 11 and 64; $30.95 for Seniors and; $24.95 for children between 3 and 10 years of age. (Discounts are available for emergency response personnel and members of the military) Parking is another $8.00. A family of 4, with one child under 10 years of age would spend $131.80 just to get into the park!
We did enjoy ourselves… The location is certainly convenient to Miami Beach and downtown Miami. We took our time and didn’t leave the park until after it had actually closed. I did note that 24% of the 170 reviews of Jungle Island on Trip Advisor ranked it as ‘Terrible’ or ‘Poor’. To check out the reviews, as well as some great photos of special animal encounters that are available at Jungle Island, go to http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34438-d262784-Reviews-Jungle_Island-Miami_Florida.html. Many of the negative reviews focused on the relative cost/value relationship.
We enjoyed the shows, thought that the zoo itself was pretty average…and the experience was a bit expensive. For more information on Jungle Island, its animals, shows, special events and the special tours that are available, go to www.jungleisland.com. Phone: 305-400-7000.
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for the tour!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave