Puerto Rico is home to a number of beautiful sites, fun activities, great food, amazing culture and so much more. As if that was not enough, they even have an Exotic Animals Zoo that appeals as a good time for all ages and an especially fun, family-friendly activity.
The zoo is home to a variety of animals such as zebras, lions, tigers, monkeys, giraffes, elephants, birds, reptiles and many more. It is truly like the Garden of Eden; filled with all the wonders one can only imagine. So, if you are looking for an amazing activity to add to your to-do list when on holiday, be sure to include the Puerto Rico Zoo as it will not disappoint.
The history and characteristics of the exotic animals zoo
Rivero National Zoological Park is the only official zoo in Puerto Rico. It is located at Miradero Barrio and has a land area of about 45 acres. It is home to about 75 species of different animals. It is the largest zoo on the Puerto Rican island and is named in honour of Juan A. Rivero who was its first director.
The zoo was originally opened in 1954 after a law authorized it. In 2003, the zoo was upgraded and this was noted by the addition of the aviary, arthropodary, and a butterfly exhibition. In 2008, the zoo acquired two new giraffes and two desert warthogs to augment the African collection. It is now known as the Mayaguez Zoo.
The zoo houses a neat collection of animals such as hippos, monkeys, giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, a bear, and an elephant.
Apart from the above mentioned zoo, there is also Kira’s World Exotics Mini Zoo which is located at Vega Baja, Carolina Mini Zoo which is located at Carolina, Butterfly House which you can find at Ponce, and some others.
How to plan a visit to the exotic animals zoo in Puerto Rico
To be admitted at the zoo, you will pay $13 for adults and children older than 12, and $8 for children between the ages of five and eleven. Children under four years old are granted free admission. Parking is $3 for cars and $4 for mini vans. Pretty affordable, huh?
The zoo is open from Wednesday through to Sunday from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm. For more information, you can visit their website or call 787-834-8110 and make your necessary enquiries so you can book a visit.
To get there, you can take Route 2 to Mayageuz. You will then take the Route 2 Spur right by the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Mayaguez Campus (RUM)- there will be signs along the way to guide you. This will lead you to Route 65, which you will be on briefly. Then, turn left onto Route 108 and follow it past the University. You must then look for the sign telling you to turn right for the Zoo. Make the turn, and follow this road for maybe a mile or 2 until you see the zoo on your right. After you go in and pay for parking, continue through the parking area, past the buildings (these are administrative offices, not the entrance). The main entrance is to the far right.
Guides are available in English or Spanish and there is a different version available for adults and kids. You will be allowed about two or three hours to visit the zoo and some displays, such as the butterfly display, are closed for two hours around lunch time.
When you pay to park, they will give you a map of the zoo. The zoo has paved paths so it is handicap accessible. There are animal enclosures all over, so you do not have to walk far to get from animal to animal. The zoo has animals from around the world, with a good representation from the African continent – zebra, elephants, rhinos and lions. There are also 3 special areas: the aviary, the arthropod & butterfly house, and the amphibian & reptile house. These are buildings that have a limited capacity, so admission to these displays are monitored, and your walk through is sometimes guided by a zoo representative.
There is a snack bar that sells fruit ices and ice cream, as well as a souvenir shop where you can purchase cute souvenirs to remember the day by.
It is a good idea to come in the morning so you can see all the enclosures and displays so that you will not be affected by any lunch breaks. Alternatively, you can go in the afternoon, after the lunch breaks so that they will not affect you. Bring along your picture or video taking devices as you will definitely want to capture the memorable moments you encounter. Some water, comfortable clothes, and sunscreen are great to carry along too.
Things to do and see at the exotic animals zoo in Puerto Rico
As mentioned above, there is a cornucopia of animals that you can find at the zoo. There are exotic birds, the lions, tigers, zebras, hippos, bears, etc. You will be given a guided tour and be educated on the displays that are on site. There is an amphibian and arthropod museum where you will learn about the two respectively. The butterfly enclosure is also a spectacle to behold.
To make the most of the visit, be sure to come along with a mind ready to learn and have fun.
Other family-friendly activities in Puerto Rico to try
There are so many family-friendly activities and attractions in Puerto Rico that you may enjoy. Here is a list of a few of them that might tickle your fancy:
- El Yunque
- Luquillo Beach
- Guánica Biosphere Reserve
- Gilligan’s Island (Cayo Aurora)
- North Coast: Aguadilla & Isabela
- Río Camuy Caves.
- Las Cazebas de San Juan Nature Reserve- North-East Fajardo, etc
An trip to the exotic animal zoo in Puerto Rico is definitely a great way to spend your time in Puerto Rico. There is so much beauty and wonder to be found there. Come on down to Puerto Rico, be captivated by the exotic animals, make long lasting memories and have a great family holiday.