I have been to my fair share of happy hours, but I have to say that not many live up to the one that the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens hosts. On the third Thursday of every month from March-October the Zoo reopens after closing hours and is transformed for adults 21 and over who can enjoy the Sunset at the Zoo event for only $5!
As you walk in, you’ll see our friends from Sonny’s BBQ set up with a stand serving a variety of beer and wine available for sale that you can enjoy as you stroll through the zoo. Upon getting our drinks of choice, we continued on the paths to see the animals. While it was a little on the chilly side the night we went, the brisk weather accompanied by the sunset made for the most beautiful and picturesque background as we walked around.
From different tropical birds, to cheetahs and cougars, we got to experience an up close and intimate view of animals later in the day right before what I can only assume would be a bed time spent cuddling up to stay extra warm and cozy. The birds were an absolute delight, with a multitude of colors and plaques with information to learn more about them.
My favorite however, were the wild cats. We had the privilege of getting to see two cheetahs roaming around their large grassy habitat, as majestic and beautiful as you would imagine. Along with them, a cougar pacing back and forth and a leopard doing the same (in separate spaces of course!). Another part of the zoo, which included the monkeys and lemurs was a favorite as well. Swinging from branch to branch, and then sitting huddled together in front of the heat lamps (not kidding, so humanistic as we were doing the same!), the monkeys gave us some good laughs.
Lastly, we got to watch a river otter swim back and forth, looking like he was training for the Olympics! Constantly doing flips off of each wall over and over again and gliding as smooth as the water he was swimming in. He was so cute, I think we watched him for a solid twenty minutes.
As we certainly will be back next month, I hope to get to see the giraffes (who were tucked away sleeping when we were there) who stand at an average height of about 18 feet! But did you know they have the same amount of bones in their necks as we do?!
The zoo is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm and has annual pass options as well as special discounts for groups such as military, AAA, and teachers, for example.
Sunset at the Zoo
Every 3rd Thursday of the month (Months vary and select evenings are dependent on decent weather)
5:30pm – 7:30pm
*Ages 21+ only