Jungle Island—a longtime favorite point of interest for visitors to South Florida—is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar reinvention transforming the attraction into an eco-adventure theme park and events destination. Among the changes are new walking trails, animal encounters, and more, plus the park’s first-ever lantern festival.
“Recent updates to Jungle Island have been met with positive feedback from our guests,” says John Dunlap, CEO of Iconic Attractions Group, the management company for Jungle Island. “They are thrilled to be able to find so many attractions under one jungle roof—over 350 animals, new food & beverage offerings, and enhanced VIP tours.”
Updates to the park start right at the entrance, where guests will find The Plaza, which now features thick greenery and palm trees to immerse guests in the jungle experience right away. The Plaza also now includes seating and a stage, while the face of the interfacing buildings also received a fresh coat of paint.
Once inside, guests will find several new activities and attractions starting with the newly remodeled Everglades Habitat. From an over 100-year-old banyan tree and a new banyan deck to Chilean pink flamingos and white ibises, the area allows visitors to discover native flora and fauna prevalent in this unique environment, which also serves as the natural bio-filtration system for the park. There are over 350 animals that guests can admire at Jungle Island, and now the park has unveiled two new hands-on animal encounters that allow parkgoers to get up-close and personal with flamingoes and hornbills as part of select VIP animal tours.
For the adventurous and active visitors, Jungle Island, which is owned by ESJ Capital Partners, has several new activities that may pique their interest. The recently opened SuperFlight puts parkgoers in Miami’s first permanent vertical wind tunnel skydiving simulator, which will send them up 60 ft. in the air as they take in the views of the city’s skyline and Biscayne Bay. At the Nerf Battleground, guests can challenge their opponents to a variety of nerf battles in an obstacle course designed for both adults and younger visitors. For those looking to exercise their minds, Jungle Island now offers two new Escape Rooms filled with riddles and other challenges set in a cabin or an insane asylum.
Culinary Options + New Events
With so many activities to help guests work up their appetites, Jungle Island also features new food and beverage options at the Pink Flamingo Kitchen, a pop-up eatery offering wraps, sandwiches, pizza and salads, plus craft beer from local brewers at Wynwood’s Concrete Beach Brewery. To top off the day at the park, guests can enjoy extended park hours as Jungle Island has added special lighting throughout the attraction, allowing for educational slumber parties, special events, and the Jungle @ Night series.
As part of this new events programming, Jungle Island will also host its first-ever lantern festival, Luminosa! Festival of Lights, which blends Buddhist tradition with a Miami twist. Guests can stroll through 13 of the park’s 18 acres as they admire the lanterns hand-crafted out of colorful silk by Chinese artisans and up-lit by hundreds and thousands of LED lights.
“As part of our continued commitment to provide guests with a uniquely Miami experience, we decided to place our own spin on the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival,” syas Dunlap. “During Luminosa, locals and visitors from around the globe will get to stroll through a park filled with illuminated and colorful life-sized lanterns in dazzling shapes, sizes and themes from jungle animals, birds and flowers to iconic Miami destinations.”
A few of the highlights guests can expect to see are oversized orchids and flowers, plus a cassowary and silk parrots in the Birds and Blooms exhibit; a sea of glowing jellyfish in the Biscayne Bay display; some of the world’s rarest animals down Jungle Trail; and 100-ft. wide by 20-ft. tall panoramic scenes of Miami’s most iconic destinations decked out in Chinese graffiti art in the Miami Style exhibit.
Looking to the Future
As Jungle Island continues to undergo renovations, Elie Mimoun, the COO of ESJ Capital Partners, says there is much more for future guests to look forward to.
“Since we are in South Florida, we also want our guests to be able to enjoy the water,” explains Mimoun. “We are redeveloping our beach, the only private beach in Miami. In the future, we will also construct a multi-acre crystal lagoon for swimming, as well as a lazy river that will allow guests to meander along a river while surrounded by a beautiful botanical garden and some of the world’s most rare animals. Jungle Island will also boast environmentally-friendly, energy savings touches including solar flowers and wind turbines.”