Greetings, esteemed readers!
Who can resist the charm of a delightful day at the zoo? Certainly not us!
Recently, we embarked on a wild expedition to the Naples Zoo, accompanied by my dad and sister-in-law. Now, if you're not familiar with Southwest Florida, let me tell you, the Naples Zoo has been gracing our community with its presence for a whopping 100 years! But before we dive into the escapades with the little ones, let's take a quick stroll down the historical lane of this enchanting place.
The tale begins with Dr. Henry Nehrling, a conservationist with a profound belief in protecting what's left of our precious wildlife. Picture this: over 3000 species of tropical plants in his garden, catching the attention of influential figures like President Theodore Roosevelt, nature writer John Burroughs, and even the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison. Fast forward to 1952, after a bit of neglect, and the garden gets the love and care it deserves. Julius Fleischmann steps in, introduces new plant species, and in 1954, tropical birds join the party, turning the gardens into the now-famous "Caribbean Gardens."
Hold onto your hats as we leap to 1967, where the dynamic duo, Col. Lawrence and Nancy Jane Tetzlaff, a.k.a. Jungle Larry and Safari Jane, explore the gardens in search of a winter haven for their rare animal collection. It takes until 1969 for the gardens to welcome their first furry, feathery, and scaly residents. Ever since, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens has been a hub of successful breeding programs for some of the world's most majestic creatures. Cool, right? For an even deeper dive into the zoo's history, head over to www.napleszoo.org.
Now, you can practically feel the history seeping through every corner of this magnificent place. I, for one, grew up making memories here, and it warms my heart to share those childhood tales with my own little ones. Birthday parties at the zoo were a staple, and from the moment you step in till the moment you leave, it's a rollercoaster of excitement and joy. The zoo doesn't just stop at critters; there's a playground, a café, and a gift shop to round out the experience.
Our day kicked off with a grand tour of critter habitats – tigers, coyotes, bears, zebras – you name it. We even fed giraffes and took a ferry ride around monkey islands. Our little Savannah was on a mission, refusing the confines of her stroller, darting from habitat to habitat, declaring every creature a "Moo." It was a struggle keeping up, but oh, the laughter!
Closing the zoo-tiful day, we hit the playground in the zoo and gardens, a fitting finale for a family adventure. A special shoutout to the eagle-eyed zoo staff who spotted the girls rocking their matching zoo animal leggings from Brittany Hartt Designs. Yep, those bamboo cotton spandex wonders will be part of our spring collection soon!
Yet, the ultimate highlight? The pure joy radiating from my girls. These are the moments etched in our memory books, the ones we'll reminisce about for years to come. So, if you ever find yourself in the Fort Myers-Naples area, don't miss out on the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens! Your little explorers will have a blast, and you'll be right there soaking in the magic. And should you need the perfect outfit for your zoo escapade, you know where to find me!
Until our next wild adventure!