The Belize Zoo: Everything You Need To Know
The Belize Zoo: Home to Former Movie Stars!
Once upon a time, film producers specializing in documentaries about life in tropical forests chose Belize as their favorite destination. Critters now living in the Belize Zoo were once “stars” of these documentaries, but after film crews completed their projects, some of the animals had become so habituated to humans, they could no longer live in the wild. In 1983, film crew members plus Belize animal lovers carved out a zoo home for these animals and since then, animals who have been orphaned, rescued or rehabilitated enough to join the family have come to live here, too. It’s fun to see this unique zoo and a visit is guaranteed to delight kids of all ages.
The Belize Zoo
Belize’s version of what a zoo should look and feel like won’t match your previous experiences. While the animals you view are in enclosures, don’t be surprised to see animals who “visit” from the outside to do what all social beings do: hang out with like-minded creatures, steal some food and thrill visitors. What species are you most likely to see? Some will be familiar; raccoons, snakes and squirrels, but you may never before have seen exotic species who make their homes here, like tapirs, gibnuts, coatimundis, jaguars and other exotics, plus gorgeous birds in every rainbow color.
Why you should visit the Belize Zoo
First, if you’re a fan of the humane treatment of animals, you will be impressed by the way this little zoo is run. It’s not fancy and it’s not huge, but this zoo has a different vibe than any zoos you’ve seen in the past. The aforementioned visits from jungle animals who linger nearby to commune with the zoo’s inhabitants makes this one unique facility. From quiet, spellbinding species to loud-mouthed black howler monkeys who aren’t shy about chatting up their relatives on the periphery of the zoo, the variety of animals you’ll see is impressive. For the best of all experiences, take the Belize Zoo’s night tour to see nocturnal residents awake and alert.
Where in Belize is it located?
The zoo compound is situated on 29-acres of savanna, but all of the action happens at the zoo’s epicenter, located just 29 miles from Belize City.
When is the best time to go?
Any time you like! The zoo is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Zoo residents don’t take vacations nor do they mind bad weather.
Best way to get to the Belize zoo?
Take the George Price Highway from Belize City if you’re driving, but your best bet is booking a tour through a resort like Cahal Pech. They can handle all details, including transport and a guide to make your visit enjoyable and relaxing.
Best way to experience the Belize Zoo
Prepare to see 170+ animals when you visit. Some will be napping. Others preening, jumping around or staring back at you. The zoo is wheelchair accessible—the first natural destination in the nation to have made this improvement–so there are no barriers. Expect to see animals from bio-diverse environments, including jungles, rivers, wetlands, rain forests and the sea. Take extra time to read stories written about each resident. Don’t panic if Belize’s national bird, the Keel-Billed Toucan, lands on your shoulder! These colorful clowns are the zoo’s ambassadors, so consider yourself officially welcomed if one happens to perch on you.