Last ticket sold at 4:00 PM
Zoo Miami is the oldest accredited zoo in Florida dating back to 1948. The current animal hospital at Zoo Miami opened in 1986 with one veterinarian, one technician and served less than 1,000 animals. Today there are four vets, two techs, a manager and five keepers who care for more than 3,000 animals from 500 species, of which 150 are listed as vulnerable, threatened, endangered or critically endangered. We now also serve as a triage point for injured native endangered animals in collaboration with government wildlife agencies, and as a safe haven for vulnerable avian and other species during severe storms.
While our vet team performs on an extraordinary level daily, the fact that the hospital has had minimal upgrades since opening is an issue that must be addressed immediately. The hospital simply does not meet today's modern standards and the equipment is inadequate to meet the demands placed upon it. The few equipment items that we have been able to upgrade recently required modifications because the facility could not properly accommodate them. A new facility would mean that our sinks no longer fall off of the wall during a procedure, more laboratory tests can be done in-house to save on costs, and the vet team will be able to treat larger animals with the proper equipment and house them in safe holding areas after surgery.
At a projected cost of $26 million and with more than 21,000 square feet, the new, state-of-the-art hospital will strengthen initiatives benefitting not only zoo animals, but also Florida’s native wildlife and our state’s human population. It will be a teaching hospital that provides ongoing education to future veterinarians and gives them the hands-on opportunities to gain skills in an in-patient setting. We have a formal preceptorship program in place with the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the only veterinary school in the state.
Zoo Miami is currently in the midst of a search for the new hospital designer, with a tentative date for selection in June 2022. The design will take approximately 12-16 months and construction another 16-18 months, with a projected grand opening in early 2025. With the efforts of Zoo Miami Foundation, the zoo’s non-profit partner, we have secured more than $6 million in support of this project. Additional support from the State and Miami-Dade County will see this project come to fruition.