There’s plenty of indigenous wildlife in Florida – American crocodiles, alligators, manatees, deer, black bears, bobcats, Florida Panthers, and a variety of snakes and birds, including pelicans and white ibis. Not all, but many of these animals can be seen on an airboat ride through the Everglades, such as this tour HERE. But if you want to up your chances of a sighting, or you’re looking for something a little more exotic, you’re sure to find it at one of several drive-thru animal encounters. Here are our Favourite 5.
1. J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island
Sunbathing gators, a crocodile, green herons, and white ibis call this four-mile Wildlife Drive home. Roseate spoonbills can be found here year round.
Drive time: Approximately 40 minutes
2. Lion Country Safari, West Palm Beach
Florida’s only drive-through safari boasts 800-plus animals, including wildebeests, rhinos and the world’s largest herd of captive zebras. But the giraffes steal the show at Lion Country Safari.
Drive time: 90 minutes
3. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville
Amazing wildlife viewing is easy with the self-guided map that lists numbered stops along Black Point Drive. See gators, otters, turtles and hundreds of bird species, including eagles.
Drive time: 40 minutes
4. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, near Tallahassee
Rated five stars by birders, this seven-mile drive-thru zoo takes you past pinelands and salt marshes to Florida’s second-oldest lighthouse. Look for black bears, turkeys, deer and whooping cranes.
Drive time: A little over 30 minutes
5. Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve
White-tailed deer, bobcats, snowy egrets and wood storks can be spotted along with sunning alligators. This dusty trail is 21 miles of oohs and ahhs in southwest Florida.
Drive time: 60 minutes
Park Info written by Jill Martin Visit Florida