What is Naples Zoo?

Naples Zoo

Naples, Florida is famous for its tourism industry. It is a niche to several major land reserves, including the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Picayune Strand State Forest. Naples Zoo has a great contribution to flourish the tourism industry in the region.


Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a nationally accredited zoo and a botanical garden. This is one of the best attraction in the city and is a non-profit organization hosting over 350,000 guests per year. It was started with a mission – “to inspire people of all ages to respect, value and help conserve wildlife and our natural world.” Being a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable institution it has helped to preserve a great lot of flora and fauna and has also imparted knowledge and inspiration for the public to do the same.

The History of the Naples Zoo?

The zoo was started by Dr. Henry Nehrling as a personal project in 1919 to protect his plants from the 1917 freeze at his original gardens. He died in 1929. In 1954, it was presented to the public as “The Caribbean Gardens” by Julius Fleischmann. It started to be converted into a zoo in 1967 and was opened with the animals on September 1, 1969. It was accredited in 2001 and in 2002, the Fleischmann family went to sell it. The Tetzlaffs made the Zoo a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and gave control to the newly established Naples Zoo Board of Directors in 2004.

Larry Tetzlaff died in 1984. Now, Nancy Jane Tetzlaff and family have been taking care of the zoo.

The Exhibits at Naples Zoo

  • Alligator Bay gives a shelter for the zoo’s American crocodiles.
  • African Oasis is located on the South of the road opposite Alligator Bay.
  • Leopard Rock is a shelter for leopards.
  • Lake Victoria combines several islands that are a shelter to the zoo’s apes.
  • Lion’s Lair is a large mesh fenced area that is home to the zoo’s lions.
  • Fosas of Madagascar is home to fossas.
  • Black Bear Hammock is home to black bears.
  • Tiger Forest provides a naturalistic bamboo forest habitat for the zoo’s Malayan tigers.
  • Backyard Habitat is a section of the gardens set aside and certified by the National Wildlife Federation.
  • Panther exhibit is home to Uno a Florida Panther.

This 52-acre park has been conserving the nature and spreading the awareness for almost a century now. This park has celebrated four anniversaries in the year 2017: 98 years as a botanical garden; 63 years being open to the public; 48 years as a zoo; and 13 years since the vote to purchase the land. It has received a “2017 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence”.

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