The Best Things to Do at the Central Florida Zoo

There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than by visiting the Central Florida Zoo. Just a 40-minute drive from New Smyrna Beach, the zoo is located at 3755 NW Hwy. 17-92 in Sanford, Florida.  During your stay on the Intracoastal Waterway, plan a day trip with the family to explore the animal exhibits, water park, and botanical gardens! Whether you’re an animal lover or just want to spend your day learning about something new, a visit to this zoo is a must.

While planning your trip to New Smyrna Beach, download our complimentary Central Florida Vacation Guide! It’s filled with recommendations on restaurants, attractions, and museums near the Central Florida Zoo. Plus, it provides great information on The Night Swan Intracoastal Bed and Breakfast’s rooms and accommodations. Get your copy today!

Top Attractions at the Central Florida Zoo

It’s best to buy your tickets to the zoo ahead of time and avoid the lines. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the facility offers free parking, group rates and discounts, and complimentary admission to the water park with the purchase of a regular ticket. This organization is a nonprofit zoo, so all of the money is directly used to care for the animals.

Animal Exhibits

With more than 400 animals of nearly 200 different species, the Central Florida Zoo is home to many interesting and endangered creatures, including the clouded leopard. Experience up close encounters with reptiles and amphibians in the herpetarium, or learn about all types of bugs in the insect zoo. Wander through the park to witness lions, tigers, and bears in their spacious habitats!

On Saturdays and Sundays for an additional fee, you can feed the giraffes and bond with these gracious, 15-foot tall animals. Or, opt for the rhino encounter and get an intimate look at the South African mammals. Stop by the Barnyard Buddies Children’s Zoo for a chance to pet and feed domestic farm animals like alpaca, goats, and more.

Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground at the Central Florida Zoo

Free with regular zoo admission, the splash ground is perfect for kids of any age! When you need a break from the Florida heat, let the little ones splash through sprinklers or cool off under the water bucket dump. They’ll love standing under raining trees or playing with the sea turtle and octopus water toys.

Educational Programs

Throughout the day the Central Florida Zoo offers a variety of learning opportunities from talks with animal care specialists to read aloud stories in the Discovery Courtyard. Learn about snakes’ and crocodiles’ dietary habits at the reptile feedings. Explore the 23-acre garden and witness unique butterflies or learn about the importance of health and wellness.

Even More Activities

Aside from the many animals exhibits, lush garden, and water park, the Central Florida Zoo also features a carousel, miniature train ride, nature trails, and children’s play area. If you and your child are feeling adventurous, try out the ZOOm Air Adventure Park. Suspended in the air, you’ll zipline through a canopy of trees, cross rope bridges, and balance on suspended disks.

Come Home to a Room at The Night Swan 

After a fun day at the Central Florida Zoo, head back to The Night Swan to unwind. With comfortable, charming rooms and accommodations, our bed and breakfast is the perfect place to relax during your New Smyrna Beach getaway.

Book a room in our Cygnet House to enjoy jetted bathtubs, king-sized beds, and gorgeous views of the river. We love welcoming the entire family to stay at our pet-friendly bed and breakfast, so bring your furry friends along, too! Check our availability and start planning your trip today!