A trip to the Belize Zoo is a unique opportunity to see and learn about the rich abundance of flora and fauna found in the country. Originally founded in 1983 by a Belizean woman named Sharon Matola to take care of injured animals that were abandoned after being used to film a documentary, today the Belize Zoo and Educational Center is the country’s premiere showcase for teaching locals and visitors alike about the precious natural heritage of Belize.
Less a “zoo” in the traditional sense and more of a nature preserve, the Belize Zoo measures more than 29 acres in size, and all of the animals in the center are native to Belize. Fulfilling Matola’s original mission, the Belize Zoo only accepts animals that were abandoned or injured. The zoo functions as one of the country’s most important educational centers, as thousands of Belizean schoolchildren visit each year to learn about the different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants that inhabit their country.
As the nation’s first wheelchair-accessible public facility, the Belize Zoo and Educational Center is an ideal place for visitors to interact and learn about the jaguars, howler monkeys, crocodiles, egrets, toucans, storks, margays, and tree frogs that inhabit the savannas, wetlands, rain forests, and jungles of Belize. Some of the most famous residents of the zoo include Fuego the Tapir (Belize’s national animal), Panama the Harpy Eagle, and Junior Buddy the Jaguar.
During the tour, your local guide will share interesting facts about the country’s history, culture, geography, and, of course, the plants and animals that make Belize’s biosphere so special. The tour to the Belize Zoo lasts about 90 minutes, and participants will return to Yok Ha afterwards.
The Belize Zoo and St. Herman’s Blue Hole
Make the most out of your day on the mainland by combining a visit to the Belize Zoo with a trip to the St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. The Inland Blue Hole which gave the park its name is an ideal place for a quick, refreshing swim before heading back to Yok Ha Island Resort.