- Miami MetroZoo
zoo_name= Miami MetroZoo
image_caption=Entrance to the zoo
Miami MetroZoo is the largest and oldest zoological garden in
Florida. It is located in southern unincorporated Miami-Dade County southwest of the city of Miami and west of the village of Palmetto Bay. It houses over 1,200 wild animals and is the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States. [ [http://redlandriot.com/Options.html Redland Riot Tour - Metro Zoo] ] The zoo is on convert|740|acre|km2, 300 of which are developed. It is convert|3|mi|km|0|abbr=on around if walked on the path, and has over 80 exhibits. [ [http://www.miamimetrozoo.com/about-metro-zoo.asp?Id=92&rootId=8 Official Website - Quick Facts] ]
The history of the zoo can be traced back to the year 1948, when 3 monkeys, a goat and 2 black bears were purchased for $270 from a small road show stranded near Miami. These 6 animals were the beginning of the Crandon Park Zoo on the island of
Key Biscayne, just southeast off the coast from downtown Miami. In 1965, Hurricane Betsydevastated the zoo and caused the death of 250 animals. After the hurricane, Dade County officials applied for convert|600|acre|km2 of land in the Richmond Naval Air Station property on December 11, 1970. Construction began in 1975, and the grand opening of Asia, the first major exhibit, opened on December 12, 1981. A total of 38 exhibits, covering convert|200|acre|km2, were available to the public. By 1987 the zoo had grown to over 1,200 animals, and was considered one of the top 25 zoos in the country. [ [http://www.miamimetrozoo.com/about-metro-zoo.asp?Id=93&rootId=8 Official Website - Zoo History] ]
A new exhibit, Amazon and Beyond, will open December 5, 2008. This new exhibit will be convert|27|acre|ha|0|abbr=on dedicated to the flora and fauna of tropical America. Some of the animals to be featured in this exhibit are jaguars, anacondas, giant river otters and harpy eagles. [ [http://www.miamimetrozoo.com/about-metro-zoo.asp?Id=94&rootId=8 Official Website - Future of the Zoo] ]
On November 7, 2006 voters approved for an expansion of MetroZoo. This expansion is set to include a family oriented hotel and water park adjacent to the current zoo in order to attract more visitors, since attendance has been lacking in the years after
Hurricane Andrew, [ [http://www.miamimetrozoo.com/about-metro-zoo.asp?Id=94&rootId=8 Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation - Zoo expansion] ] [ [http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/15958098.htm Miami Herald - Voters approve Metrozoo expansion] ] which ravaged the zoo, as well as destroyed the aviary (which was subsequently rebuilt with corporate sponsorship help, and now flourishes with dozens of bird species from Southeast Asia).
The original MetroZoo aviary was featured during the opening sequence of an episode from
Miami Vice's second season called, The Fix. [ [http://s5.photobucket.com/albums/y168/Deanmo19/?action=view¤t=TheOriginalWingsofAsiaAviary.jpgScreencap of the original Wings of Asia aviary from Miami Vice's "The Fix"] ]
* [http://www.miamimetrozoo.com Official Website]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=33137&ie=UTF8&z=15&ll=25.607707,-80.400095&spn=0.017763,0.042915&t=k&om=1 Aerial close-up of Miami MetroZoo]
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