5 Wild Drive-In Parks

By: Jill Martin

Sure, there is plenty of wildlife in Florida, but have you ever viewed a giraffe from the comfort of your car?

You won’t find big screens or bags of popcorn at these drive-ins, but they are action-packed and provide lots of entertainment. Silence your cell phone and enjoy the show at these drive-in wildlife parks:

1. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Sunbathing gators, green herons, white ibis and a crocodile call this four-mile Wildlife Drive home. Roseate spoonbills can be found here year round. Drive time: Approximately 40 minutes

2. Lion Country Safari, West Palm Beach

Florida’s only drive-through safari boasts 800-plus animals, including wildebeests, rhinos and the world’s largest herd of captive zebras. But the giraffes steal the show. Drive time: 90 minutes

3. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville

Amazing wildlife viewing is easy with the self-guided map that lists numbered stops along Black Point Drive. See gators, otters, turtles and hundreds of bird species, including eagles. Drive time: 40 minutes

4. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, near Tallahassee

Rated five stars by birders, this seven-mile drive takes you past pinelands and salt marshes to Florida’s second-oldest lighthouse. Look for black bears, turkeys, deer and whooping cranes. Drive time: A little over 30 minutes

5. Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve

White-tailed deer, bobcats, snowy egrets and wood storks can be spotted along with sunning alligators. This dusty trail is 21 miles of oohs and ahhhs in southwest Florida. Drive time: 60 minutes

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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