As much as we love visiting zoos and aquariums nothing really beats the experience of visiting a great wildlife sanctuary. Stepping into Flamingo Gardens knowing that all the animals on site were rescues sent warm vibes through me. These places, the ones who take on those who would have been lost, and rehabilitate them for release or house them for life protecting them, they are some of my favorites.
About Flamingo Gardens
Established in 1927, Flamingo Gardens is one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Florida and is also home to over 3,000 species of rare & exotic, tropical, subtropical, and native plants and trees. Housing the largest collection of Floridian native wildlife, Flamingo Gardens is dedicated to preserving the natural flora, fauna, and history of the Florida Everglades for generations to come. To instill a love for nature and an understanding of how important their creatures are to Florida’s ecosystem they offer class field trips (including options for homeschoolers and special homeschool days), adult education classes, story times, and youth programs such as their annual Scout Day.
While we were visiting Flamingo Gardens, they were hosting the traveling exhibit Lost World of Dinosaurs. Painted by Shane Foulkes at Lost World Studios, Guy Darrough’s dinosaur models were extremely detailed and honestly exceptionally impressive. More than once we had a little one ask why the smaller ones were not moving and had to explain it was a dinosaur model!
One of our favorites was the Hypsibema display which included a nest of “recently hatched” eggs. Discovered in 1842, these herbivores lived in the late cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago. The girls loved that these creatures raised their young in herds for safety and chattered away about how other animals still do this today.
Another dinosaur model the girls loved looking at was the Daspletosaurus. They were absolutely certain this must be a Tyrannosaurus Rex but were thrilled to learn more about the T-Rex’s ancestor. During the late cretaceous period (77-74 million years ago) these monstrous predators were one of the most dangerous of the time. While slightly smaller than their future relative, they still weighted in at an astonishing 4 tons!
Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary
Of all the attractions at Flamingo Gardens our favorite by far was the wildlife sanctuary. With a flamingo pond, aviary, bird of prey center, alligator lagoon, and so much more, the girls were entranced by the tales each animal had to offer. Reading about the owl who had been blinded before rescue as well as the many others who had been saved was both heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once.
Over at the otter habitat, our seven-year-old was thrilled to impart her wisdom on some onlookers. She lit up sharing all about how their skin never actually gets wet because of how thick their fur is, that they have pouches under their armpits for bringing rocks, clams, mussels, and other foods or treasures to the surface, and that they love to float on their backs while eating. Watching the otters play as the girls chattered away with details they had learned was such a huge homeschool win. The knowledge is sinking in, y’all! Not just memorized facts for a test but real information they can recall later and share. I was swooning!
Visiting Flamingo Gardens
Open 7 days a week 9:30am to 5:00pm except for holidays
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Closed at 4:00pm Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve
Last tickets are sold one our before closing each day
Narrated Tram Tours: 11:00, 11:30, Noon, 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, 3:30, and 4:00. (Hourly, on the hour, weekdays during August and September)
Wildlife Encounter Shows: 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30; weather permitting
Wray Home Museum Guided Tours: 10:00am – 4:30pm
Group Tours and Experience Rates
Contact Flamingo Gardens:
Address: 3750 S Flamingo Road
Davie, Florida 33330
Phone: (954) 473-2955