Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Monkey looking up at the sky. Looks like its in a tree
Via Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

In an effort to recoup some of its financial losses after a two-month closure due to COVID-19, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is holding a fundraiser to try to bring in $250,000 by this Sunday, Sept. 20.

Two penguins walking on a dirt patch, standing in front of a man-made pool. Inside of an enclosure.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Since the penguins haven’t been able to interact with any guests, they’ve grown a lot more clingy.

Lynde Nunn / Via Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Keepers at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens have been busy caring for a baby gorilla in anticipation of reuniting her with her mother. 

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

An endangered Western lowland gorilla has been born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.


Over five years, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry wants $5 million spent annually on the city-owned Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, with the zoo’s providing an equal match.


Thursday on First Coast Connect with guest host Jessica Palombo we talked about the shooting of three transgender woman in Jacksonville and problems with police misgendering the victims with Jacksonville Coalition for Equality Dan Merkan, WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride and transgender activist Savannah Bowens (01:00). 

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens via YouTube

Jacksonville Zoo and Garden’s two new Sumatran tiger cubs are still too young to meet the public but that doesn’t mean the public can’t watch them.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

UPDATE: A second healthy female giraffe was born Friday, Nov. 24 at the zoo.

ORIGINAL STORY: Everyone at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has something extra special to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week.

Jacksonville Zoo Mourns Death Of Cheetah

Jun 22, 2017
Rob Bixby and John Reed

A male cheetah Roho died Wednesday at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, according to a news release.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Updated 11:15 a.m.

The Jacksonville Zoo hopes its gorilla Kumbuka will soon become a first-time mom. But Kumbuka’s journey to motherhood has been complicated by the recent discovery that she’s deaf.  

Jacksonville Zoo veterinarian Dr. Yousuf Jafarey said there is often tension between Kumbuka and the other gorillas because she doesn’t hear social cues. He said helping Kumbuka overcome socialization problems within her gorilla family is an important step to having a baby.

Jacksonville Zoo Welcomes Bonobo Baby

Aug 10, 2016
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is welcoming Budir, its newest member of the endangered bonobo family.

The great ape infant was born Saturday to Kuni, who has now successfully birthed five offspring.

  On this edition of First Coast Connect On The Go!, we're live from the Jessie Ball duPont Center in downtown Jacksonville.

Kids-centered legislation

Several members of the Duval Delegation play major roles during this year's legislative session in new measures focused on the state's children, affecting everything from public education to juvenile justice.

We speak with Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville), Rep. Charles McBurney (R-Jacksonville), and Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) about their efforts.


The Jacksonville City Council will vote Tuesday whether the city should oversee Northeast Florida’s first manatee critical care center, slated to open this year.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will house the center for rehabilitating and releasing sick or injured manatees back into their habitat.

John Reed / JZG

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is inviting everyone to come out Saturday and welcome its first tiger cub in 35 years.

Lane closures on I-95 northbound through downtown caused major backups earlier this week as work continued on the massive Overland Bridge project.

We discuss the state of that project, as well as the future of toll roads in Northeast Florida, with two of the lead engineers: Kim Holland of RS&H, lead designer on the Overland Bridge project; and Carrie Stanbridge, construction engineer with the Florida Department of Transportation.

Jacksonville Zoo Wins Awards For Tiger Exhibit Landscaping

Oct 7, 2015
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens walked home with two accolades for its Land of the Tiger exhibit at the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association awards.

The recognitions included Landscape Award of Excellence for a New Public/Institutional Installation and the FNGLA Floriculture Award, which is given to the entry that showcases the most effective use of plant material creating color and texture.

The landscape was designed and planted solely by the Zoo’s Horticulture Department.

Jacksonville Zoo To Host Experts For Shark Festival

Aug 7, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Researchers and experts will speak at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ North Florida Shark Festival this weekend.

The speakers will discuss research and efforts to save the animals worldwide.

During an appearance on WJCT's “First Coast Connect,” one of the events speakers, Peggy Sloan, talked about her research and misconceptions about sharks. Sloan is the executive director of the North Carolina Aquarium.

We discuss the week's news with our roundtable of local journalists: Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal Editor; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; and A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist.

Topics include Mayor Lenny Curry's transition committees presenting their recommendations for the administration, the first Republican presidential debate, and more.

Jacksonville Zoo Named In Top 25 Best Zoos In US

Jul 21, 2015

TripAdvisor has named the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) as one of the Top 25 Zoos in the United States. TripAdvisor has highlighted the world’s top attractions based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for zoos and aquariums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

“The staff and board of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens have been working so hard and so long to make our zoo a place the entire community can love and take pride in,” said Tony Vecchio, Executive Director of JZG,

PHOTOS: Lion Cubs Born At Jacksonville Zoo

Sep 25, 2014
Jacksonville Zoo.

There are three new reasons to visit Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens after a lioness named Tamu gave birth to cubs.

The cubs—two boys and one girl-- were born September 10. It’s third litter for Tamu, 7, and the first for father, Catali, 8. Thursday morning the cubs received their first checkup.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

While the rest of the country looks to famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil this Sunday, the First Coast will be keeping a weather eye (so to speak) on Penelope, the hedgehog.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens / Twitter

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is celebrating 100 years in business and looking forward to a busy centennial year.

NF Walk Comes to Jacksonville Zoo to Raise Funds

Sep 13, 2013
The Children's Tumor Foundation / The Children's Tumor Foundation

A walk scheduled for tomorrow will raise funds and awareness for local patients living with neurofibromatosis.

The Jacksonville NF Walk will take place at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Saturday, Sept. 14.

Patty-Jean Dye, volunteer and asst. chairperson for the program, said it’s an excellent chance for anyone to come and enjoy the zoo while contributing to a worthy cause.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a common, yet relatively unknown genetic disorder that occurs in 1 out of every 3,000 births and causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Individualized breast cancer treatment comes to Mayo Clinic in Jax: The multi-million dollar donation of one local couple will fund new genetic treatments for breast cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

There's a new jaguar in Jacksonville, but you won't find him on the depth chart come September.

In a joint release today, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the Jacksonville Jaguars announced the arrival of an actual jaguar cub.

The unnamed male jaguar cub was born July 18. He shares his birthday with Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

"We've always had a strong relationship with the Jaguars from when the Weavers were owners," said Amy Hernden, special events and public relations supervisor at the zoo.

Jax Zoo & Gardens Hosts Garden Festival

May 17, 2013

The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is providing guests access to plant vendors not normally open to the public.

The inaugural Garden Festival is Saturday, May 18, with general admission from 10:00am-4:00pm and a members preview from 9:00-10:00am.

Who Were The Big Winners At One Spark?

Apr 22, 2013
Rethreaded / Facebook

Over 50,000 votes were cast at the One Spark festival this past week for projects falling into four distinct categories: art, technology, science and music. They announced who took home the most votes in each category at the closing ceremony on Sunday, and we have these profiles of the top winners:

Category: Art

Top Voted: Rethreaded

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Tigers are coming back to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Zoo officials broke ground on the new $9.5 million Tiger Exhibit today thanks in part to a $3-million donation from former Jaguars owners Wayne and Dolores Barr Weaver.

The exhibit will include at least six tigers including a pair of Sumatran tigers that will be used for breeding.

Other Asian animals in the exhibit will include critically endangered Viscayna warty and babirusa pigs, Asian small-clawed otters and wrinkled and wreathed hornbills.