Flamingo Gardens & Wildlife Sanctuary

Flamingo Gardens & Wildlife Sanctuary
3750 South Flamingo Road
Davie, FL 33330-1614

Flamingo Gardens was originally founded as Flamingo Groves, a citrus orchard, in 1927 by Floyd L. and Jane Wray. The Wrays came to Florida in 1925 and were deeply intrigued with the horticultural possibilities of the subtropical locale. They purchased 320 acres of land around and including Long Key in the Everglades. On January 2, 1927, Floyd L. Wray incorporated Flamingo Groves, beginning what was to become one of the first botanical gardens and tourist attractions in South Florida. 

The Floyd L. Wray Memorial Foundation was established in 1969 by Mrs. Wray, in honor of her late husband, to preserve the core property for future generations and emphasize the history of the Florida Everglades. The name was changed to Flamingo Gardens, and the gardens were preserved and  expanded. In 1990, the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary opened with the Bird of Prey Center, followed by the half-acre Free-flight Aviary featuring the 5 ecological zones of South Florida. One of the first of its kind in the country, the sanctuary gave residence to permanently injured or non-releasable Florida native wildlife.

$21.95 per day adult admission

Last week my post, Flamingo Gardens & Museum, explored one of my favorite places in South Florida, Flamingo Gardens.  Acres of one of the last natural jungle growths in South Florida with over 3000 tropical and subtropical species of plants and trees, Flamingo Gardens is a beautiful place to wander. See that post for photos and information regarding the Wray Home and the gardens.  Today we’ll explore the wildlife in the sanctuary.

The Flamingo Gardens Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary opened in 1990 and features the Bird of Prey Center and the half-acre Free-flight Aviary. The sanctuary gives residence to permanently injured and non-releasable birds and animals, and is home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife including alligators, bear, bobcats, eagles, otters, panthers, peacocks and flamingos.

Let’s start with Flamingo Pond which has been a highlight of the gardens since the Wrays lived here. It showcases Caribbean Flamingos in their naturalistic environment of tropical vegetation and sparkling waterfalls.

Generations of flamingos have spent their lives here and are very people-friendly. Egrets come and go as they please.  Birds will eat out of your hand.

Birds will follow you around.

Flamingos are not pink. They are born with grey feathers, which gradually turn pink because of a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin that they obtain from their diet of brine shrimp and blue-green algae. The depth of color of the feathers depends on the variety of flamingos.

Peacocks were introduced by Mrs. Wray several years after they opened the citrus grove.

The aviary houses one of the largest collections of wading birds in America. Here visitors can view over 250 birds representing more than 45 species native to Florida.

Most of the birds are permanently injured and no longer able to live in the wild.

Each day Flamingo Gardens presents live presentations at the Everglades Amphitheater featuring Florida native wildlife. Both fun and informative, the shows present a variety of wildlife such as birds of prey, mammals, and reptiles, and their relationships with the environment.

Do you know how cute ‘possums are? Also experts say  one opossum can kill and eat some 5,000 ticks in a single season. A ‘possum will destroy some 90 percent of all the ticks he encounters. So if you see one in your yard, leave him alone and let him eat your ticks!

Below is a baby gator show.

Let’s go to the Bird of Prey Center with a variety of owls, vultures, hawks, falcons as well as Golden and Bald eagles. These birds are either at-risk or endangered and cannot be released because of injuries sustained in the wild. Each year, about 100 chicks are born in the Aviary and Bird of Prey Center, which are raised and then released into the wild to help perpetuate their species.

The Rookery is a roosting, nesting, or breeding ground for seabirds. Here visitors will see storks, cranes, swans, geese and other water fowl as well as hundreds of ibis and other free flight birds which fly in every night to roost or build nests.

I fell in love with the sea otters on the Pacific coast decades ago. River otters usually prefer fresh water and can be found in rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, and swamps.  I find otters fascinating.

Isn’t this guy in the otter house cute?

A highlight of the sanctuary is the naturalistic habitats that are home to permanently injured big cats, panthers and bobcats, which could not otherwise survive in the wild.

There are so many animals to enjoy. I’ll close with the Florida black bear, turtles, and a few other friendly creatures.

If you vacation in South Florida, take a day away from the beach and drive to west Broward to visit beautiful Flamingo Gardens.

Subscribe summer

Get exclusive free printables & all the news straight to your mailbox!


* indicates required

Please see my Link Parties page for the parties where this post was shared.


I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

25 thoughts to “Flamingo Gardens & Wildlife Sanctuary”

  1. Hello Carol, what a lovely place to visit and it’s nice to see animals that couldn’t survive in the wild safe and looked after.You’ve taken some lovely photos. I love the one of the flamingo eyeballing the lens! And is that an albino peacock? Beautiful!


    1. It’s called a Snowflake Peacock and it is gorgeous. Some birds are so happy to get food they follow you and get really close.

  2. This looks like a fun and fabulous place! I love the variety of creatures and the fact that they aren’t afraid of people. The owls are awesome. Thanks for all your great photos 🙂

    I’m so happy to see you at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!
    My Corner of the World

  3. Oh my how beautiful. I have never seen a pink flamingo up close and persona. And that all white peacock is simply elegant. I would love to spend a day there. That black bear sure looked comfy. Now I’m not so sure how I feel about the possum but that otter peaking out of the otter house is adorable. TFS this was so much fun.

  4. Your photos are just wonderful!! The first photo of the peacock is just breathtaking!! And I’ve never seen a white peacock before! Amazing!! Thank you!

  5. Carol – I didn’t want this post to end! So many incredible animals. I was making little noises to myself as I read it, which prompted my husband to ask me what I was reading. I told him the part about the ‘possums and the ticks, and he wants one! Your close-ups are magical, especially the flamingos! Thanks for taking Mosaic Monday for a walk on the wild side!

  6. What an amazing place to spend the day! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a baby flamingo…how cute! Love all of your photos. Thanks for sharing! I would love to visit this place in person too!

I love to make new friends and get to know you.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.