Animal Adventures: Orlando’s Top Wildlife Destinations

The Encore Resort Blog
April 1, 2024
April 1, 2024

If you enjoy learning all about the world’s magnificent wildlife and want to see them up close and personal, why not take a trip to Orlando, Florida!

From wildlife sanctuaries and nature preserves to world-class theme parks, Orlando offers some of the most memorable animal experiences in the world. Take a leisurely nature walk and see some of Florida’s native birds and reptiles, head out on a safari to the “African Savannah,” or even take a dive and play with the dolphins!

So, hop aboard explorers and let us tell you all about our top picks for experiencing wildlife in Orlando:

1. Central Florida Zoo

At the Central Florida Zoo, you will be treated with the site of birds like bald eagles and blue and gold macaws, reptiles like rattlesnakes and crocodiles, and mammals such as cougars, giraffes, greater one-horned rhinoceros, and Florida black bears.

Guests can take part in giraffe feedings, rhinoceros encounters, zipline courses, and other fun activities. The Central Florida Zoo’s programs are provided for both children and adults to learn more about the animals as well as how to protect species from around the world.

The Central Florida Zoo is approximately an hour drive from Encore Resort.

2. SeaWorld Orlando

In addition to rollercoasters, water rides, and other exciting attractions, SeaWorld Orlando offers the chance to witness unique aquatic life in action.

Take your kids to animal encounter experiences with dolphins and sharks before having lunch at Dine With Orcas to learn how these amazing creatures can be preserved. Other wildlife you can watch relax and play include mantas, sea lions, and Florida’s famous manatees.

Encore Resort offers complimentary transportation to SeaWorld Orlando and is only a 20 minute drive from the park.

© SeaWorld

3. Gatorland

Alligator sitting on a bank at Gatorland theme park in Orlando
© Gatorland

Gatorland provides an immersive experience for visitors eager to delve into the world of these reptiles. The park showcases not only alligators but also a variety of other creatures in their natural habitats, including crocodiles, snakes, tortoises, and wild cats.

Exciting outdoor experiences can be found at Gatorland thanks to Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, New Crock Rock Adventure, and Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure. Stop by at night with friends and family for the unique and thrilling chance to watch alligators eat and relax with Gator Night Shine.

Gatorland is just a 25 minute drive from Encore Resort.

4. Back To Nature Wildlife Refuge

Looking to take a break from the crowds and theme parks? Take a drive over to Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge – a public wildlife refuge and rehabilitation facility. This non profit organization located in the outskirts of Orlando are responsible for rescuing, raising, rehabilitating, and releasing a variety of animals native to Florida. Guests can be educated about these unique species and learn how they can play their part to help save them.

Visitors can enjoy an easy stroll on the Wildlife Walk or book a staff-led group tour to learn all about the refuge’s residents.

Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge is about a 40 minute drive from Encore Resort.

5. Orlando Wetlands Park

Orlando Wetlands Park is a great place for viewing native Florida wildlife. The wetland was actually built as a natural, advanced treatment facility for reclaimed water from the City of Orlando and other local cities. The park offers hiking and biking trails showing off beautiful views perfect for photographers and bird-watchers.

There are free, guided tram tours of the park and you can even go horseback riding!

The Orlando Wetlands is a little over an hour drive from Encore Resort.

6. Jungle Adventures

Jungle Adventures provides natural habitats and hands-on experience with baby alligators and other animals. The Gator Jamboree Feeding lets you feed gators ranging from 8 to 15 feet in size.

Other animals to see at Jungle Adventures include a variety of deer, tropical birds, small exotic cats, and the rare Florida panther. Enjoy a cruise of the area and wildlife on Green Gator River with Jungle Swamp Queen River Boat.

Encore Resort is a little over an hour drive from Jungle Adventures.

7. Discovery Cove Orlando

© Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove Orlando is one of the most unique theme parks in the world. All of this park’s attractions revolve around unique animal encounters. From snorkeling with fish and rays to petting dolphins with a team of professionals, there are memorable experiences to be had around every corner.

Guests can hand-feed tropical birds in a setting that includes white sand beaches and tropical lagoons. Equip yourself with snorkel gear to swim around The Grand Reef to feel like you are exploring the depths of the ocean.

Discovery Cove is only a 25 minute drive from Encore Resort.

8. Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Those seeking wildlife exploration and theme park adventures can experience the best of both worlds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Animals from around the world can be found in many of the attractions throughout the park including elephants on Kilimanjaro Safaris, tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, and gorillas on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Other animals you might stumble upon include cheetahs, crocodiles, zebras, Malayan flying foxes, and water buffalo.

Jump on the Wildlife Express train to Conservation Station where many more wildlife encounters await. Families can pet and feed furry friends at the Affection Section, learn how to draw Classic Disney characters, learn about Animal Kingdom’s vet care and nutrition, and more!

Encore Resort offers complimentary transportation to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The park is less than 15 minutes away from the resort.

Ⓒ Disney
Max Luna with his teddy bear, Sammy

Truly memorable wildlife experiences can be found all over Orlando, so why not stay somewhere that offers both convenience and space for the entire family. Encore Resort offers private 4 to 13 bedroom resort homes, with luxury amenities. So when your family is not out exploring Orlando’s wild side, there is still plenty of activities and amenities all from the comfort of your resort. Go wild and book with Encore Resort (opens in a new tab) today to embark on adventures of a lifetime.

Latest Happenings

Flash Sale