Visiting Pensacola, Florida and looking for an adventure away from the sandy beaches? Look no farther than the Gulf Breeze Zoo. This zoo is kid-tested and mom-approved! The Gulf Breeze Zoo offers a wide range of activities, including hands-on exploration of farm animals, up close and personal giraffe feedings, and so much more.
6 Reasons to visit the Gulf Breeze Zoo near Pensacola, Florida
My husband was in Pensacola, Florida for Navy business, so the kids and I packed our bags and hit the road for a quick weekend visit. We adore a relaxing beach trip, but we wanted a little bit more this time around. As a first-time Pensacola visitor, I jumped on the computer to see what there was to do and discovered the Gulf Breeze Zoo located in Gulf Breeze FL. The pictures online looked a little hokey, but we decided to give it a shot. And boy, am I glad we did!
Feeding the Animals
I remember as a kid being able to feed the giraffes, but that practice seems to have fallen by the wayside. So, I was thrilled to learn that it was still offered at the Gulf Breeze Zoo.
There is just something about these magnificent creatures that pulls you in. Being able to look into their big brown eyes up close stole my heart.
The Giraffes are not the only animals that we got to feed. My young son adored feeding the llamas. He was strangely captivated and spent a good 30 minutes feeding them.
The small petting zoo area also allows animal feeding of various smaller animals. This area is perfect for kids of all ages, but those under 5 seemed to really enjoy it.
Hands-on Animal Interaction
Each day by the train station, zookeepers bring out a variety of animals for guests to touch and learn about. While my kids were a little nervous to pet the scaly creatures I was first in line each time.
The baby alligator had to be my favorite. Knowing this little baby would grow up to be a giant seven-foot monster was fascinating to me.
The zookeepers at Gulf Breeze Zoo also brought out some furry animals, including kangaroos! But my kids are ruled by their stomachs which apparently were calling for lunch.
But my kids are ruled by their stomachs which apparently were calling for lunch.
Get Up Close and Personal With Various Animals
Unlike regular zoos, the animals and guests are given the opportunity to be up close. Most of the creatures are housed outside with just fencing separating them from guests.
The big cats are always a hit at any zoo. We spend quite a bit of our time at visiting the big cats since my daughter loves lions. But at the Gulf Breeze Zoo, the big cats seem even more impressive.
My kids were super excited to see kangaroos. I wasn’t exactly sure why since I’m sure they’ve seen them before. But each was blown away by these creatures.
Separated by just a fence, these guys and gals command respect.
All Aboard-Train Ride
No zoo is complete without a train ride! I think, all little boys go through a train phase and mine were in the heart of it when we visited. So, you know we HAD to ride the train. The short but sweet train ride takes visitors along to see zebras, rhinos, and hippos. But the highlight, at least for me was Gorilla Island.
But the highlight, at least for me was Gorilla Island. Located in the heart of train route, we were able to see gorillas and lemurs — or Zoboomafoos as my 18-year-old daughter still calls them.
A walkway leads to the viewing area for these gorgeous beasts, for those that want to get a little closer view or if trains just aren’t your thing.
Educational Zoo Talks Will Delight Kids of All Ages
During the day, the zookeepers can be located by certain exhibits to answer any questions and to educate guests about the animals.
My kids love these. They would plan their entire visit around the zookeeper scheduled talks if they could. And I can’t complain, especially since at the time we home-schooled. So they were drowning in school, even though they didn’t know it!
Take a Break and Grab a Snack Onsite
Dining options are the only thing I found lacking at the Gulf Breeze Zoo. No outside food or drink is allowed in the zoo, which I completely understand, with the nature of the enclosures.
There is one small cafe, the Watering Hole, that offers your typical fare. But the menu offers everything kids will eat: hamburgers, pizza, chicken tenders, etc.
I always plan on doing a picnic, but it never seems to pan out. But for those who bring their own food, enjoy your picnic on covered pavilions outside the front entrance.
Why do I recommend the Gulf Breeze Zoo?
While smaller than big city zoos, I found the Gulf Breeze Zoo to be more my cup of tea. I was overjoyed for my kids to experience feeding the giraffes as I did as a kid. And the entire family loved being so close to wondrous creatures.