Miami Beach

Pet a baby Capuchin monkey, leap around with the lemurs, find new feathery friends, or hand-feed an ancient tortoise. Jungle Island, an eco-adventure park for all ages in Miami, offers guests the chance to get up close and personal with the animals through a day at the theme park.

It’s an interactive experience that’s as intimate as you want it to be. Coming from someone with ornithophobia – a fear of birds – there were moments I didn’t want to get so intimate with the animals, and that’s perfectly okay. For instance, upon entering the park, guests have the chance to take their photos with Jungle Island’s vibrantly feathered parrots. Let’s just say I walked on by quickly.

There was another fear I had the chance to overcome, though. As someone who’s afraid of heights, roller coasters, and just about any thrill-seeking activity, skydiving sounds like something only for people with a death wish. So never in my life did I think I would try my hand at an open-air flight experience. But this eco-adventure park brings the adventurer out of you.

 

SuperFlight Experience

Courtesy Jungle Island

One of Jungle Island’s latest additions, SuperFlight essentially combines a giant trampoline with a wind tunnel blowing at speeds of over 120 miles per hour that lifts you straight up into the air until you’re flying. With the help of an instructor, you’ll find the best form to soar weightlessly into the air. Being in my mid-20’s and quite hesitant to give it a shot, I was shocked to learn children as young as 4 can participate, but watching a little one go before me helped build my confidence.

My biggest fear was feeling like you’re falling (I pictured the sensation of skydiving) but the good news was, it felt more like floating. From way up there, you can see out above your surroundings and enjoy the view of Biscayne Bay. If you can get the proper form down pat, you’re in for the experience of a lifetime!

 

Animal Encounters and Exhibits

Courtesy Jungle Island

From traditional wildlife shows and exhibits, to individual animal encounters, there are countless ways to meet Jungle Island’s birds, primates and reptiles. Walking past enclosures, you’ll spot everything from Orangutans and Capuchins to colorful Macaws and pink Flamingos, and in just one show, you can see and come close to a Red Kangaroo, African Penguin, and Pot-bellied Pig.

For a truly unforgettable experience, however, add on an animal encounter. One of Jungle Island’s top experiences is the Lemur Interaction, which allows you to enter their home and bounce around with these rambunctious creatures originally from Madagascar. Lemurs are an endangered species, which makes the moment that much more special, and this is a truly hands-on encounter (truthfully, the lemurs will get their hands all over you – as they leap non-stop from limb to limb – more than you’ll manage to get your hand on them).

 

Adventure Bay, Splash Zone and Beyond

Courtesy Jungle Island

As much as there is to see, now it’s more about tons to do. Animals are still at the heart of the Jungle Island experience, but new activity zones have rounded out a day at the eco-adventure theme park. Adventure Bay – included for every guest with general admission – offers fun physical activities like rock climbing, kids’ bungee jumping, an aerial ropes course, and even a zip line. For a break from the heat, hit up the Splash Zone and enjoy inflatable water slides and more aquatic fun sure to cool the kids down. Jungle Island also now offers Escape Room challenges meant to be completed in 30 minutes and a Foam Dart Battleground for Nerf lovers. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Coming up: Check out the Luminosa Festival of Lights launching this October and running through January.

This nighttime spectacle inspired by the tradition of Chinese Lantern Festivals will feature 13 acres of life-sized illuminations – from wildlife to birds and blooms – bringing to life Miami’s natural surroundings in a scenic setting.