Image of a small child feeding a giraffe at the Brevard Zoo

Why Brevard Zoo is Worth a Day Trip from Orlando for Kids

There’s a charming little zoo about an hour’s drive from the Orlando area that’s perfect for kids of all ages. Brevard Zoo, located on the Space Coast, opened in the `90s and is home to more than 900 animals in open-air exhibits. There’s lots to do at Brevard Zoo, from zookeeper presentations to a zip line course, and the kid-friendly water play area there is one of my family’s favorite ways to cool off on hot Florida days.

The zoo’s charm goes beyond having tons of animal experiences and a robust calendar of special events, summer camps, and holiday celebrations. Brevard Zoo has restaurants and a picnic area, special play areas for little kids, and more.

Want to plan a family outing to Brevard Zoo in Melbourne? Here’s everything parents need to know.

Image of a lion at the Brevard Zoo
Brevard Zoo Image by Terri Peters

What to know before visiting Brevard Zoo

  • Brevard Zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (members can enter the zoo at 9 a.m.) and stops letting guests enter each day at 3:30 p.m.
  • Adult tickets cost $33 in advance online, or can be purchased on-site for $35. Kids ages 3 to 11 cost $22 in advance or $24 at the zoo gates. Kids under 3 are free. Entrance is included in the cost of a zoo membership, which starts at $270 for a two-parent household.
  • In addition to regular admission, Brevard Zoo offers lots of fun adventures for an additional fee, from zip lining through the trees around the property to feeding lettuce to giraffes.
  • There are lots of options for food and drinks at the zoo, from burger and sandwich spot Nourish 321 to Slice, a walk-up pizza window.
  • Outside food and drinks may not be brought into Brevard Zoo, but the facility does have picnic tables outside its main entrance for guests who wish to enjoy their own food.
  • There are five main areas at Brevard Zoo: Expedition Africa, Lands of Change, Wild Florida, Rainforest Revealed, and Paws On.
Image of the zoo map at the Brevard Zoo
Brevard Zoo Image by Terri Peters

What kinds of exhibits will we see during our visit to Brevard Zoo?

Think of the layout of Brevard Zoo as a wheel with different spokes that each contain a different exhibit area. Each area has different animals and a completely different feel, so it’s important to walk through each one to get the full Brevard Zoo experience.

  • Expedition Africa: Here, you’ll find a winding wooden boardwalk that takes you past meerkats, rhinos, giraffes, and more. In this area, you can also feed giraffes, a fun add-on that costs $5 for two treats or $10 for five treats. Feeding the giraffes makes for some adorable photos, so have your phones ready.
  • Lands of Change: Representing “Australia and beyond,” this area of Brevard Zoo features komodo dragons, a walk-through kangaroo habitat, aviaries, and a 100-seat theater where nature presentations take place throughout the day. In the aviaries, you can feed lorikeets, cockatiels, and kookaburras for between $3 and $5, depending on how many food sticks or nectar cups you purchase.
  • Wild Florida: Brevard Zoo’s Wild Florida area spotlights the animals who call the Sunshine State home, from black bears to alligators. The walk-through loop is a great place to learn more about nature found within the state and become more aware of the creatures you may encounter in your own backyard.
  • Rainforest Revealed: At the zoo’s rainforest exhibit, you’ll see black-handed spider monkeys high in the treetops and view animals like otters and jaguars. There’s also a herpetarium, a floor-to-ceiling glass enclosure filled with creatures like poison dart frogs and venomous snakes.
  • Paws On: An area geared for little ones, Paws On features an aquarium, splash area, barnyard petting zoo, and more. It’s a great place for kids to play, splash, and encounter animals like goats, alpacas, stingrays, and sheepshead fish.
Image of two children on the zip line course at the Brevard Zoo
Brevard Zoo Image by Terri Peters

Tips for a successful visit to Brevard Zoo

  • Experiences like kayaking, animal feedings, or adventure courses are not included in the price of admission and will need to be paid for separately.
  • No rain checks or refunds for inclement weather, so it’s a good idea to check the weather before making the trip or purchasing your ticket online.
  • It takes around two to three hours to fully experience it all, making the zoo a fun and doable option for a morning or afternoon of activity.
  • But, there’s enough fun to be had at Brevard Zoo to justify a full-day family trip as well.
  • Parking is free but usually requires a long walk to the entrance.
  • See an associate in the Brevard Zoo gift shop to get a hand stamp that allows re-entry into the zoo.
  • Keep an eye on the zoo’s special events page for unique opportunities to experience Brevard Zoo in a whole new way.
  • While wheelchairs are welcome in all areas of the zoo, it’s a good idea to visit the zoo’s accessibility page to read more about mulch and coquina pathways that may be tough to navigate.
  • Brevard Zoo is a KultureCity Sensory Inclusive certified organization, visit our sensory-friendly activities guide to learn more.
  • Strollers are available for rent at Brevard Zoo and cost $9 for a single stroller or $11 for a double.
Image of a child looking at a fish tank at the Brevard Zoo
Brevard Zoo Image by Terri Peters

If you want to enjoy this part of Central Florida even more, browse our list of things to do in Cocoa Beach, besides the beach.

Website: Brevard Zoo
Address: 8225 North Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32940
Phone: (321)254-9453

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Terri Peters