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Brevard Zoo

In 1984, the East Coast Zoological Society of Florida, Inc. was founded to work towards building a new zoo for the Space Coast. The rallying cry was picked up by thousands of volunteers across the area who worked tirelessly to create a one-of-a-kind facility. Built with the help of more than 16,000 local resident volunteers on land donated by A. Duda and Sons, Brevard Zoo opened its gates to the public in 1994.

Brevard Zoo is the only zoo in the nation to have been built by a collection of volunteers in this way.

Attendance has swelled to almost a half million visitors annually and the young nonprofit zoo consistently receives rave reviews and praise for its innovative educational programs and extensive conservation efforts.

Opened with only the Paws On Animal Study Zone and the “Latin America” Loop, now called the “La Selva” Loop, Brevard Zoo has come a very long way since the “world’s largest community build” brought together thousands of volunteers to build boardwalks, play zones and animal habitats. In addition to La Selva, other loops focus on Wild Florida, Australia and Africa.

Today, Brevard Zoo has become known as one of the country’s best medium-sized AZA accredited facilities.

Another large scale community effort was organized to build the massive Expedition Africa loop in 2003 which includes a one-of-a-kind kayak experience through white rhino and giraffe habitats.

There have also been makeovers for some of the older loop habitats, three new themed Education classrooms, a new Education facility including staff offices and an indoor Education exhibit area containing the Wildlife Detective Training Academy. In the past few years, the Nyami Nyami Lodge, complete with chandeliers, a drop down video screen, air conditioning and an expansive patio area overlooking Expedition Africa, has been added.

A completely remodeled play area opened in 2009. The “Paws On Nature Discovery Zone” includes four parts: the air-conditioned Wildlife Detective Training Academy in the Education building which features a sand digging area; an Indian River Lagoon area of touch tanks, play areas focused on primitive camping, spoil islands, turtle nesting and a shrimp boat; an expanded Contact Yard Petting Zoo area; and Ft. Animal where children will be able to relearn the lost art of fort building.

With thousands of member households, the community is thankful for the zoo as well. Visitors coming from out of county with their local zoo membership to an accredited facility are also often offered free or reduced admission as well.

Brevard Zoo received a $500,000 grant from the Harris Corporation Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Brevard. The grant goes towards building the new Animal Care Center currently under construction. This new, state-of-the-art veterinary facility is 9,500-square-foot and will serve more than 560 animals — representing 170 different species — at the Zoo. For more information visit: www.brevardzoo.org

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