Kentuckians Visiting Panama City Beach, Florida Will Love This Interactive Wildlife Experience at Zoo World
Vacations never last long enough, am I right? We don't typically go into beach trips with set plans because you never know what mood you may be in for the day. Especially when staying at the Holiday Inn Resort at PCB. The Lazy River and the beautiful beach are SO tempting, it really is perfect just to stay there the whole time.
However, my son Rollins had his heart set on one place we HAD to go, Zoo World. On our last morning in Florida, we decided to stop by before taking the trek back home to Owensboro, and I am thrilled we did. It was a highlight for the entire family.
Zoo World, located right on Front Beach Road, is not your typical zoo. It's a conservatory where visitors can learn about animals from all over the world in a safe environment. Including species that are at risk of becoming vulnerable or endangered.
Gorgeous tropical birds, lions, tigers, monkeys, reptiles, and a whole host of feathered and furry friends you can interact with!
We were immediately greeted by the friendly staff and decided to add a couple of extras to our tickets which allowed us to feed some of the animals and experience a Capybara up close and personal. You can also snuggle a sloth, meet a lemur, hop with kangaroos, or hold an alligator!
You may be wondering a Capybara? What in the world is that? Thanks to the internet, they are growing in popularity with funny viral videos and TikToks like this one. Rollins said very dramatically at dinner the night before that it was his "dream" to meet one.
We learned from our wonderful Zookeeper Brittney that Capybaras love to swim. They have cute little webbed feet and wiry fur that helps to dry them off after a dip in the water. As members of the rodent family, they are kind of like big Guinea Pigs. Fun Fact, just like other rodents, their teeth never stop growing.
We were surprised that the Capybara we got to meet was just a baby! She doesn't even have an official name yet, but Zoo World will be hosting a naming contest online. The only requirement is that the name chosen begins with the letter 'P.' We were told that she was pretty sassy and independent which inspired Rollins to call her Patricia. Hilarious! She loved our snuggles though. At one point I was petting her and her eyes got really heavy falling asleep right in my arms. It was so sweet. Definitely a memory we will never forget.
We also learned that Zookeeper Brittney is a Kentucky Wesleyan alum! She graduated with their Zoology degree. What a small world.
The 80 plus Alligators in the Allapattah Swamp were ENORMOUS. They had free reign of their enclosure which included a large pond and a bridge that crossed over. Visitors were tossing treats from the bridge into the water and the gators were going crazy for them. We also saw a group of baby alligators sunbathing which were actually pretty cute.
One of our favorite experiences at Zoo World was the Budgie Bush-Walk Aviary.
After entering the enclosure with our birdseed sticks, we were immediately greeted by beautiful birds who wanted a snack.
They also perched on our shoulders, heads, and arms. Some of them were very curious about the polish on my toes. Talk about ticklish!
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It was amazing. We laughed so hard and had the best time feeding and making friends with them.
I joked with Michael that he looked like a Disney princess. They really loved him. I think maybe it was his bald head.
This birdie gave me a kiss on the cheek.
We also got to feed some MUCH larger birds. I was honestly a little nervous about this experience after watching the hilarious video Chad shared here of the kiddos feeding Emus from their car. Or trying to at least. I thought maybe the birds would be rude and scary, but these Emus had almost perfect manners. They were excited at first but ate right from our hands. They have such funny and adorable faces.
Feeding the Giraffe was an incredible experience. It always blows my mind to see them in person and be reminded of how gigantic and majestic they are. They move so slowly and gracefully and they love Romaine!
I would say we probably spent a little over two hours there exploring and seeing all of the animals. We went right at opening time, so we got to see a lot of the animals enjoying breakfast which was fun. Like these Giant Tortoises.
If you're planning a trip to Panama City Beach, Zoo World is a must-visit. Obviously, it is family-friendly, but Michael and I had just as much fun as Rollins did.
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