The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, often known as Zoo Miami, is a zoological park and garden located near Miami, Florida, and is the state's largest zoo. It is also the state's most visited attraction. Zoo Miami was founded in 1948 at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne and relocated as Miami MetroZoo in 1980 to the former Richmond Naval Air Station, southwest of Miami in southern metropolitan Miami-Dade County, in the center of the census-designated places of Three Lakes (north), South Miami Heights (south), Palmetto Estates (east), and Richmond West (west). Zoo Miami is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife (west).
Zoo Miami is the only tropical zoo in the continental United States, and it is located on about 750 acres, of which 324 acres are built. Zoo Miami is home to over 3,000 species and is the only tropical zoo in the continental United States. If you walk around the perimeter on the walkway, it is 4 miles long and has more than 100 exhibits. Ron Magill is a wildlife expert and photographer who works as the zoo's communications director. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has granted accreditation to Zoo Miami (AZA)
The origins of Zoo Miami may be traced back to 1948, when a small road show that became stuck in Miami surrendered three monkeys, a goat, and two black bears for around $270 in truck repairs in exchange for the animals. These six animals marked the beginning of the Crandon Park Zoo, which is located on the island of Key Biscayne, just southeast of the coast of downtown Miami, on the island of Key Biscayne. During its tenure, the Crandon Park Zoo occupied 48 acres of the park's land. It was because of a circus that went out of business in Miami that several animals, including lions, an elephant, and a rhinoceros, ended up as orphans at the zoo's inception. The Matheson estate provided some Galapagos tortoises, monkeys, and pheasants, which were put to the exhibit. By 1967, the Crandon Park Zoo had grown to include more than 1,200 animals and was regarded as one of the top 25 zoos in the United States of America. Other animals were introduced, including a white Bengal tiger in 1968, which was the first of its kind near Little River, Florida.
Hurricane Betsy wreaked havoc on the zoo in 1965, killing more than 250 animals. A new zoo for Dade County was discussed immediately following the hurricane, but it wasn't until the 11th of December 1970 that Dade County officials submitted an application for 600 acres of land on the Richmond Naval Air Station property near Princeton, Florida. Construction on the project began in 1975. The zoo first opened its doors on July 4, 1980 as Miami MetroZoo, with a preview area of 12 exhibits. Asia, the first major exhibit, debuted on December 12, 1981, and was the zoo's first significant attraction. At this time, a total of 38 exhibitions covering an area of 200 acres were exposed to the general public.