Florida boasts diverse ecosystems, from pristine beaches to lush wetlands. Its wildlife includes manatees, crocodiles, vibrant bird species and amazing marine life, however, not all of them live freely and without harm.
Your visits to Marine, bird and animal sanctuaries in Florida Contribute to vital rehabilitation efforts to release them back into the wild. Every donation you make plays a critical role in sustaining and caring for the vulnerable residents who call these sanctuaries home. For many, animal shelters provide a lifeline to those who would not thrive in the wild due to injury or captivity.
For animal lovers visiting the Sunshine State, this is it List of wildlife sanctuaries in Florida It will be the perfect addition to your itinerary making your travels educational and impactful.
Bird and wildlife sanctuaries in Florida
Beachfront Seabird Sanctuary – Indian Shores FL
The Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, Florida, provides a heart-warming experience as it releases rehabilitated birds back into the wild.
This non-profit organization has emergency facilities, a surgical center, and rehabilitation spaces that enable the rescue and rehabilitation of more than 2,500 sick and injured birds annually, and expose more than 100 permanently disabled avian residents.
It is wonderful to encounter birds from swans, eagles, owls, cranes, songbirds and parrots safe in the knowledge that these previously injured birds may fly again thanks to the work and dedication of volunteers.
Not only is this a great opportunity for bird photographers, but you can also visit the Environmental Education Center to learn more about Florida's native marine and estuarine environment, and watch bird releases and daily hand-feeding of pelicans.
Admission to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary is free but remember that Due Make a donation at the box on your way out or purchase a bird souvenir from the gift shop.
|| location: 18328 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores FL || Opens Every day, from 8 AM to 4 PM || Read comments
Boyd Hill Nature Preserve – St. Petersburg, Florida
Located in the heart St. Petersburg, FloridaBoyd Hill Nature Reserve is a hotbed of wildlife conservation and Environmental education. It's a peaceful retreat, revealing diverse ecosystems through nature trails, campgrounds and eco-exhibits.
At its core lies Birds of Prey Program, a collaborative effort between the Friends of Boyd Hill and the city of St. Petersburg. This initiative embodies a deep commitment to bird care and education, and covers the shared costs of caring for birds that cannot be released.
These avian ambassadors, carefully screened for their adaptability, serve as lifelong residents, contributing to vital educational programs. Supported by partnerships with wildlife rescuers and veterinarians, Boyd Hill ensures their well-being.
Visiting the Birds of Prey Program is a unique opportunity to connect with wildlife conservation and the beauty of nature. You will be amazed by these majestic birds at Boyd Hill Nature Reserve.
|| location: 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg, FL || Opens They are closed on Mondays from 9am to 7pm from March 1 to October 31, and at 6pm the rest of the year || Read comments
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park – Homosassa Florida
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park houses animals that are unable to survive in the wild, either due to captivity or injuries that prevent their re-release. These creatures live safely, allowing people to observe and study them, contributing to a deeper understanding of their wild counterparts.
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Refuge is nearby Crystal River It houses a variety of birds and reptiles. The manatee program partners with organizations such as the Tampa Zoo, SeaWorld, and Marineland. Together they care for sick, injured or orphaned manatees, with the goal of rehabilitating and reintroducing these valuable marine mammals to their natural habitat.
Lou, the oldest hippopotamus in North America, was a member of the Ivan Tors Animal Actors. Lucifer was born at the San Diego Zoo in 1960, and has been the only non-native animal at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park since 1964. Governor Lawton Chiles granted him honorary citizenship in the 1990s, saving him from relocation when the park transitioned to only native Florida animals. .
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a great place to visit to enjoy wildlife Fun adventures in nature.
|| location: 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd. Homosassa FL || Opens Daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm || Read comments
Marine Rehabilitation Centers in Florida
Loggerhead Marinelife Center – Juno Beach, Florida
Located just one block from Juno Beach Pier, is an amazing non-profit organization Sea turtle conservation A rehabilitation facility known as Loggerhead Marine Life Centre.
Not only can visitors learn about marine life in an educational environment, but they can also meet some of the sea turtle patients receiving treatment at the on-site veterinary hospital! Most of the sea turtles at the center are rehabilitated from illness or injury and are scheduled to be released back into the wild after the successful completion of their treatment.
The center also hosts educational programs focused on environmental conservation and marine research with daily events and experiences for visitors of all ages. Every Saturday morning the center also hosts a free beach cleanup to protect and preserve coastal habitats along Juno Beach!
You can learn more about the center's current sea turtle patients and get more information to help plan your visit here.
|| location: 14200 US Highway 1, Juno Beach FL || Opens: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm || Read comments
the Turtle Hospital – Florida Marathon
One of Florida's most ethical wildlife experiences can be found at Marathon, in the enchanting Florida Keys. The Turtle Hospital is an exceptional sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and conservation of sea turtles.
By visiting, you can directly support the non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center, whose mission is to heal injured turtles and contribute to their conservation. Many turtles here are treated back to health and released back into the wild.
For those turtles that cannot fully recover, they continue to receive care and live at the Turtle Hospital.
You can see for yourself the hospital's impactful work with educational tours of the hospital facilities and sea turtle rehabilitation area while being responsibly able to be up close to these majestic creatures.
This is definitely worth a visit Florida Keys road trip Or an easy day trip from Key West as it's just an hour's drive from this popular vacation spot.
|| location: 2396 Overseas Hwy, Marathon Florida || Opens: Daily 9am – 6pm || Read comments
Clearwater Marine Aquarium – Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation center that aims to return marine life to its natural habitat if possible. While some remain in the aquarium, suitable ones are released into the wild.
At the center, you can usually see dolphins, seals, sharks, sting rays, pelicans, and turtles, as well as reptiles and other marine life.
There is a hospital at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and visitors can sometimes watch the animals being X-rayed and treated.
Animal experiences are available at Clearwater Marine Aquarium as well as informative boat trips and educational programs. In addition to day camps and field trips, families can participate in workshops at the aquarium.
|| location: Wind Pass, Clearwater Florida || Opens: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm || Book tickets online
Coral sanctuaries – Florida Keys
When traveling around Florida, one must drive south to explore the Florida Keys. If you are a diver, welcome to paradise. If you are passionate about the environment and want to get involved in ethical projects, congratulations – you have come to the right place.
While there are different experiences to understand local coral reefs and help conserve them, there are two related experiences that are truly worth your time. The NGO MOTE is dedicated to researching and preserving coral reefs. Their marine laboratory is located in Islamorada at Bod Namare Marina.
Take a guided tour, help researchers break coral reefs, and learn about the importance of coral reefs to the global ecosystem. Another activity reserved for divers only. It's a trip to their field laboratory where you can observe coral growth and also donate your time to help clean the reef of algae and bacteria.
Useful links for visiting Florida
Here are some helpful links for your trip to Florida to help you find tours and accommodations. These are companies I have used and can recommend with confidence. Remember to visit at least one of these amazing wildlife sanctuaries in Florida!
Residence in Florida
Florida tourist information
Pin to visit Florida wildlife sanctuaries
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