Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Popular articles from I Love Orlando

Hang with a sloth.

Animal Prints

Summer 2021

Animals hold a special place in our world and leave lasting prints on our hearts. Enjoy learning more about the vast variety we have to see and enjoy.

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium welcomed a new species of shark in 2020. Joy, a beautiful female zebra shark, arrived from the Georgia Aquarium where she hatched from an egg as a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Program. Zebra sharks are named for the stripes that line their body, resembling a zebra’s stripes, when they are young. As the shark grows, the stripes break up into spots. Be sure to say hello to Joy on your next visit to SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium located in ICON Park!

At SeaWorld® Orlando, when you hear the roaring sound of sea lions, you’ll know you're close to Pacific Point Preserve. Watch these California comedians swim and play among the waves or bask in the afternoon sun near a flippered friend or two. At Pacific Point Preserve, you'll see California sea lions and harbor seals. You can even get a chance to feed these famously fun animals.

Come meet Gatorland’s newest animal family members, Marshall the Kookaburra and brothers Ben and Jerry the Capybaras. Marshall the Kookaburra is two years old and came from a loving home in South Florida. Kookaburras are native to Australia and make a laughing vocalization. That’s why they are called Laughing Kookaburras. Marshall can be found in the Jungle Crocs of the World area of Gatorland.

Ben and Jerry the Capybaras came from an animal sanctuary in St. Cloud. The largest rodents in the world, Capybaras are native to South America and grow to be about 90 pounds. They have brown fur and webbed feet for swimming. Guests can see Ben and Jerry in the Petting Zoo area at Gatorland and feed them lettuce.

Have you ever wanted to feed alligators, hold a sloth or paint with giraffes? At Wild Florida, they believe seeing something from a distance is memorable but getting up close and personal becomes unforgettable!

They offer a variety of special hands-on animal encounters with unique activities that cater to the animals’ natural behavior and help keep their mind stimulated. The animal care team members will help you feed and perform an enrichment activity that will leave you with a grin on your face and memories to last a lifetime!

Did you know that manatees have “toe” nails on their flippers? Their closest relative is an elephant and their flippers look like an elephant foot. They also leave “footprints” as they swim. Manatees are mild and only eat grasses. Join Crystal River Watersports to learn even more about these gentle giants. Guests can swim with the manatees in the Crystal River year-round. Combine a manatee excursion with an underwater Scavenger Hunt, an adventure in scalloping! Snorkel for the tastiest mollusks around, from now until September 24.

Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and get up close and personal to some wildlife! Start your vacation off right with guided horseback riding and check out the expansive petting farm where you can interact with goats, turkeys, sheep, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, llamas, peacocks and more. Leave civilization behind with an off-road Swamp Buggy tour where you can get up close and personal with birds, turtles, fish, alligators and other friends above and below the water.

The hippopotamus can be extremely unpredictable, making it one of the most dangerous mammals in Africa and the third-largest living land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos. Hippos are herbivores, meaning they eat only vegetation, and they spend much of their time in the water. At Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay, watch these misunderstood animals as they swim, eat and lounge.

Just a short highway ride away is ZooTampa at Lowry Park, home to more than 1,000 amazing animals from across the globe. Many species in their care have unique adaptions that highlight the wonder of the animal world.

One genuinely spectacular species is the African painted dog. No two of these canines have the same coat pattern. Much like human fingerprints or snowflakes, each one is a unique work of art! Unfortunately, this beautiful species is endangered, with less than 7,000 left in the wild. ZooTampa is proud to participate in the Species Survival Program, ensuring a future for this amazing species and other wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

Various creatures big and small, make sure you see them all!