Family trip: Lion Country Safari

    5 Drive-Through Zoos and Safaris in Florida

    By Jill Martin

    Sure, there;s 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're action-packed and provide lots of entertainment. Silence your cell phone and enjoy the show at these drive-through zoos in Florida.

    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 at Lion Country Safari.
    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 through zoo 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

    Video tour of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge