People of a certain age will remember when a visit to the Miami Metrozoo was akin to a visit to a theme park in the Orlando area. The animal exhibits were second to none. The attractions all were themed, in a way, and had their own corporate sponsors. Heck, there was even a monorail to take you for place to place, which made a trip to see real animals seem almost like you were going to see a world-famous mouse!
Then, the unthinkable happened. Hurricane Andrew virtually center-punched the zoological park, and overnight, things changed. Many of the animals were relocated. The award winning aviary was destroyed. The zoo entered a dark period of it's history, for which it has taken many years to begin to recover.
In recent years, the zoo has taken on a new name, and Zoo Miami has once again risen to international prominence with their aviary and varied animal attractions. Now, at long last, the park is starting to recover some of the life's blood that has been hard to come by in recent years; corporate sponsorship.
“As South Florida’s most attended attraction, Zoo Miami continues to grow our offerings and access to the community. With support from Walmart, we will be able to create a stronger public presence for ourselves and expand our popular Zoo Squad program to engage and educate families while encouraging children to be the future caretakers of our wildlife and environment,” said Eric Stephens, Zoo Miami Director.
This pioneering partnership will manifest itself as “Zoo Miami Zoo Squad presented by Walmart” on everything related to the mascots both on and off Zoo Miami grounds including, but not limited to, their Base Camp at Zoo Miami, their attire, in-park signage, advertisements, photos, social media efforts, and giveaways.
Originating in spring 2012, the Zoo Squad characters at Zoo Miami offer entertaining interaction and educational outreach with a focus on wildlife conservation to families and young children. Kaz the rhino, Gigi the giraffe and Pio the oxpecker are unique characters with background stories rooted in conservation. They make daily appearances from their Base Camp at Zoo Miami and are frequently requested to attend major events in South Florida and at the zoo.
“As large as Walmart is, they have truly demonstrated their commitment to the South Florida community through this gift to the zoo. We greatly appreciate their gracious deed and look forward to sharing them with our visitors,” said Bill Moore, Zoological Society of Florida President & CEO. “One of our goals for growth at the Zoological Society of Florida is to continue to align ourselves with more family-friendly consumer brands like this.”
Zoo Miami is located at 12400 SW 152 street; Miami, FL 33177. General Zoo Admission is: $15.95 per Adult and $11.95 per Child (3-12), plus tax. Children under two, Zoo members and parking are free. Zoo Miami’s hours are 9:30 am – 5:30 pm; ticket booths close at 4 pm.
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