I’d read about this place called Jungle Island. It’s in downtown Miami and sounded pretty fun. They had a VIP experience you could book where you got to hold and interact with lots of animals. I booked it a few weeks before we left. It was going to be a bit of a splurge but I was hopeful it would be a vacation highlight. I was told by the girl at the time of booking that it was really much better to do the 10am tour rather than the one at 1pm. It seemed obvious; its cooler then and the animals tend to be more active in the am than later in the day.
We arrived a bit early and went to check in. Unfortunately, although I’d received a confirmation of our tour, they had no record of us. After they piddled around for awhile they finally said they could do our tour later… there also seemed to be some question about whether or not they’d have all the amenities available. For what it was going to cost I had some concerns that we were going to end up with a great experience and we decided to just pass. I was kind of bummed. Truth be told, I’m still a bit bummed but what can you do? We decided to just do the regular park entry and we did have a very nice day.
They have a couple dozen macaws and other birds that stand out by themselves on perches and you can buy little bits of food for a quarter from dispensers to feed them. It was amazing to me how entertaining G found this to be. I was concerned at first about G feeding them but amazingly the birds moved very slowly and took the food so gently from your hand that my concerns were immediately laid to rest.
There were a few shows featuring birds and tigers. The place wasn’t too crowded midweek and pretty much everyone in the park moved from show to show. The best one was the bird show. They had a condor and another large bird, a six foot Cassowary, that we were told was the closest living relation to the velociraptor. From where we sat in the front row it was kind of intimidating looking. It didn’t help that the guy came out before the show and gave us a warning not to put our feet between the bars and a sobering explanation about what to do should the animal challenge us during the show. I’m not sure why we didn’t move… I guess it seemed safe :-) As it turned out the day’s highlight was a little photo thing we did with a baby tiger. It was so soft and sweet. They have a thing where you can play with them for like 20 mins that I was interested in but you had to be at least 6. Bummer.
Anyway, it was still a fun day. I’d actually like to go back sometime but I’d choose a weekend when the park would be fully functioning and I’d double check on my tour confirmation.
Dinner was a neat little Brazilian place called Giraffa’s. It was another of my Groupon things and very near our hotel. I guess it’s a chain in Brazil and this one in Miami is the first one in the states. I’m just going to say it…. YUM!!! Bobby and I completely agreed that it there was one of these in Rancho Cucamonga it would make a killing.
Requisite family photo
G feeding the birds. I think you she could have done this all day. As it was she spent a few hours off and on.
G's impression of a llama
I love the way G is holding her dress out on this pic... always posing!
When we first walked into the park they handed us all these birds, including the one G is rocking like a baby, and said "smile!"
And of course, no florida theme park visit would be complete without a gator
"Rock a by birdie"
And again with that gator
And finally, the tiger!!! We were told that a newborn tiger can fit in the palm of your hand. This tiger is only 8 weeks old. Amazing how fast they grow. Oh my gosh, its fur and little foot pads were so soft. I just wanted to snuggle.