St. Augustine is home to a number of amazing zoos, aquariums and wildlife reserves. These facilities offer a unique experience to see these animals up close and personal and are a great experience for animal lovers.
The following is a list of zoos and aquariums in St. Augustine:
Marineland Dolphin Adventure:
Address: 9600 N Ocean Shore Blvd, St. Augustine, FL
Marineland Dolphin Adventure Swim is a marine mammal park in St. Augustine. The park was one of the first marine mammal parks in Florida and is a swim-with-the-dolphins facility.
The park has a variety of different marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, diamondback terrapins, red footed tortoises, sand tiger sharks, moray eels and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.
The park allows visitors to enjoy up-close and interactive experiences with the animals in the facility instead of passively watching the animals perform in shows.
Built in 1938, the park was established by W. Douglas Burden, Sherman Pratt, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Ilya Andreyevich Tolstoy (grandson of Leo Tolstoy) as Marine Studios, an oceanarium where Hollywood film-makers could shoot underwater footage for motion pictures and newsreels.
The park’s mission statement states that it was founded to foster preservation and protection of marine life and to function as an interactive educational facility and on-site research facility.
The park states is has not collected any dolphins from the wild since 1972 and that 70 percent of its dolphins are born in the facility through a successful reproduction program.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure is an accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammals Parks and Aquariums and the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association.
On April 14, 1986, Marineland was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm:
Address: 999 Anastasia Blvd, St. Augustine, FL
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is a historic zoo and alligator farm in St. Augustine. Established in 1893, it is one of the oldest private zoos in Florida.
The 30 acre park features a variety of exotic and native animals such as crocodiles, turtles and tortoises, monkeys, snakes, birds, armadillos, porcupines, hedgehogs, sloths, frogs and lizards.
The various exhibits include a collection of rare albino alligators, a wading bird rookery, a python cave, lemur exhibit, a fossil collection and Maximo, a 15-foot-long 1,200 pound alligator which is the largest animal in the zoo.
The park features daily wildlife shows and a zip line, called Crocodile Crossing, where you can zip line over the alligator and crocodile enclosure. Visitors to the park can also hold a baby alligator for an extra fee.
The park’s website states that its focus is on conservation and that it participates in the Species Survival Plan, which is a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species in zoos and aquariums in North America.
In 1989, the farm was accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and has retained its accreditation ever since.
On September 10, 1992, the alligator farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Historic District.
If you are planning to visit the facility and want to save money on tickets, check out this article on St. Augustine Alligator Farm discount tickets.
St. Augustine Aquarium:
Address: 2045 FL-16, St. Augustine, FL
The St. Augustine Aquarium is an interactive public aquarium that features marine species native to Florida.
Established in 2017 by Shawn and Kathy Hiester, the aquarium offers guided tours of its small, outdoor facility.
The aquarium features an 80,000 gallon Florida reef habitat that contains over 250 sea creatures such as Florida Reef fish, Caribbean fish, starfish, urchins, horseshoe crabs, cownose ray, eel, pufferfish, lionfish and sharks.
Visitors are allowed to touch starfish, urchins, horseshoe crabs and other creatures and hand feed nurse sharks and stingrays, at an extra cost. At an additional extra cost, visitors can also snorkel in the tank and hand feed some of the fish and stingray while swimming with them.
The exhibits include the shark and ray cove, an invasive species habitat, a shark painting experience, and an eel, pufferfish and lionfish exhibit.
In addition, the aquarium also features a nature trail and educational maze.
The aquarium’s website states its mission is marine conservation through education and it works with various marine research universities and organizations to achieve this goal.
If you are planning to visit the facility and want to save money on tickets, check out this article on St. Augustine Aquarium discount tickets.
St. Augustine Wildlife Reserve:
Address: 5190 Farm Creek Rd, St. Augustine, FL
The St. Augustine Wildlife Reserve is a 7-acre wildlife reserve and rescue center that features rescued exotic animals. Established in 2000 by Deborah Warrick, reserve features around 90 animals in its outdoor facility.
The animals housed at the reserve include jaguars, leopards, wolves, lynxes, African lions, coyotes, tigers, a bear, hyenas, a coati mundi, an African crested porcupine and a variety of birds.
The reserve offers guided tours, which are available by appointment only, which include an introduction to each species and information on their basic biology and how the animal arrived at the reserve.
Visitors are allowed within 5-10 feet of the animals, which are housed in secure habitats, but no personal interactions are allowed between the animals and the visitors.
The tours are generally between one and a half to two hours long, In addition to the regular tour, the reserve also offers a VIP tour on Fridays.
The reserve’s website states that its mission is to provide a home for unwanted and abused exotic animals. The facility does not breed exotic cats and gets most of its animals from Florida Fish and Wildlife or federally from USDA.
“About Us.” St. Augustine Wildlife Reserve, sawildreserve.org/about-us
“About the Aquarium.” St. Augustine Aquarium, saaquarium.com/pages/about-us
“Visitor Info.” St. Augustine Aquarium, saaquarium.com/pages/visitor-info
“Visitor Information.” St. Augustine Aquarium, saaquarium.com/pages/visiting
“Full Species List.” St. Augustine Alligator Farm, alligatorfarm.com/full-species-list/
“Species Survival Plan.” St. Augustine Alligator Farm, alligatorfarm.com/species-survival-plan/
“Learn More SSP.” St. Augustine Alligator Farm, alligatorfarm.com/learn-more-ssp/#ssp_animals
“About Our Animals.” Marineland Dolphin Adventure, marineland.net/animal-guide/