With over 70 percent of earth made up of oceans, there’s a whole lot of wildlife to discover in this watery world! From freshwater mangroves to rocky coastlines to coral reefs, these habitats are home to a variety of creatures that swim, scamper, scuttle and slither.
Who You’ll Meet
Along your adventure underneath the waves and by the shore you’ll meet the playful penguins, lively flamingos, magnificent West Indian manatees and residents of Discovery Reef, including tropical fish and sharks. To learn about all the animals you’ll see in this region, visit our animal page.
Just for the Kids
Kids can explore several areas designed just for them throughout the region.
- Tide Pool at Discovery Reef: Ever wonder what it feels like to touch a sea star, or come face-to-face with a horseshoe crab? Here’s your family’s chance to get a one-of-a-kind experience with some of the most interesting creatures of the sea!
- Reptile Keeper Lab: Get up-close and personal with some of the reptiles that live at the Zoo!
- Discovery Reef Diver: Learn all about the tropical fish and other sea creatures that live in the main tank at Discovery Reef from a scuba diver swimming along right beside them!
- Manatee Coast Boat: Kids can play in this interactive exhibit and watch videos about manatees and how we’re helping to protect these gentle giants.
Connecting to Conservation
While it might look like all fun and games under the waves, many of sea creatures are threatened in the wild. In fact the manatees you’ll meet at Manatee Coast are actually part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program. Since 1999, the Zoo has been partnering with this program to help care for manatees that have been rescued from the wild because of things like illness, cold stress and boat strikes. The Zoo, which is one of only two organizations in the program located outside the state of Florida, helps rehabilitate these gentle giants until they are nursed back to health and can be released back into their native waters of Florida. Beyond partnering with this program, the Zoo also support several other projects dedicated to manatee research and education programs through the Zoo’s Conservation Fund.