What’s The Best Thing About A Visit To The Naples Zoo?

If you’re thinking thaNaples Zoot the best part of a day at the Zoo is the chance to see beautiful
and fascinating animals from around the world, you wouldn’t be wrong, but that’s
only part of what you’ll love about a visit to this Naples favorite, which has been as
important to the city’s past as it is will be to her future.

Originally a botanical garden begun in 1919 by botanist Dr. Henry Nehrling, the
site became a true zoological garden when founders Larry and Nancy Jane Tetzlaff
– known to long time Neapolitans as Jungle Larry and Safari Jane- introduced wild
animals to the property in 1969. Since then, the Zoo has grown and evolved extensively
to include an impressive collection of rare flora
and fauna. Today, Naples Zoo at Caribbean
Gardens is an award-winning 501(c)(3) charitable
nonprofit organization and is a member of the
American Public Gardens Association, as well
as being nationally accredited by the prestigious
Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the
Morton Register of Arboreta.

For those who grew up enjoying the fun and
splendor of the remarkable wildlife at Naples Zoo,
it’s time to come back and experience all that’s been
added. You’ll enjoy spectacular new animals nevernaples zoo 2
before seen in Naples, such as the Zoo’s beautiful
herd of reticulated giraffe, thrilling endangered
fossa native to the island nation of Madagascar
and fiercely popular honey badgers, which can
only be viewed at four zoos in the nation.

In addition to the chance to come nearly
nose to nose with a wide variety of remarkable
animals, guests also delight in the opportunity to
share treasured time and experiences that can be
cherished by family members and friends of every
generation. As they explore, they are also learning
about all of the property’s extraordinary creatures
and their habitats through unique educational
programs, exciting shows, and informative keeper
talks at various exhibits throughout the day. This
learning is designed to help guests gain a greater
appreciation for the value of each unique species, as
well as an understanding of the interconnectedness
of all of the world’s creatures.

According to Tim Tetzlaff, Director of
Conservation & Communications and son of the
Zoo founders, education and conservation have
always been fundamental to the facility’s mission,
along with the goal of encouraging lasting wonder
and admiration for the natural world among all
who visit. “When you get dedicated people sharing
their passion about wildlife and nature, especially
with children, something special happens,”    explains Tetzlaff.“Current research shows it and I’ve witnessed it
for decades. Adults have expressed to me that seeing my parents
with the animals helped shape their love of nature at a young age.”

Those early educationaples zoo 3n programs laid a critical foundation that
the Zoo continues to build upon. Today the Naples Zoo is the
area’s leading resource for wildlife education. Each year, more than
360,000 guests including 125,000 children under the age of 12, visit
the Zoo with their families, teachers, friends, and caregivers to learn
about the wonders of nature and science. And because this goal is
so essential to the Zoo’s mission, they have plans to do much more.

According to Naples Zoo’s President and CEO Jack Mulvena,
plans for The Gateway to Naples Zoo, are already under way. This will
include a stunning new entry plaza and state-of-the-art education
center with classrooms linked to scientists and explorers around the
world, as well as mobile outreach programs for schools and other
public venues across the county. Says Mulvena, “I’ve visited more
than 50 zoos and I believe Naples Zoo, and what is a terrific and
engaging staff, is amongst the best in the country at on-grounds
education. I’d like to see the same thing in terms of our community
outreach work and we’ll be working hard to achieve that. The
Naples Zoo needs to be and can be an even greater environmental
education resource for the Southwest Florida community.”naples zoo 4

Equally essential to Naples Zoo’s mission is conservation. The
Zoo supports effective conservation efforts around the world and
close to home that work to benefit both people and rare species,
from Malayan tigers to Malagasy fosa, and also funds the planting
of over 100,000 trees each year. “It’s my conviction that what is best
for people and wildlife, in the long run, will be identical,” states
Tetzlaff. “Focusing on one without the other ultimately harms both
down the road, so we need to be wise. You never want to put people
in a situation where they are forced to choose between protecting
animals and feeding their children. We’d all make the same decision.
Our program strives to find ways to help people to do both at the
same time.

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