The Crandon Park Zoo had its origins in Crandon Park’s botanical garden. The County purchased several animals in 1948, which started the Crandon Zoo. By 1965, Crandon Zoo had grown into one of the major zoos in the country, with over 1,000 animals and about 380 species.
Outrage peaked in 1965, when South Florida was ravaged by Hurricane Betsy. The storm killed more than 250 animals at the zoo. Several met a particularly grim end, drowning in the high water caused by the storm. After that tragedy, decision-makers were left with no choice but to move the Crandon Park Zoo and its residents to a more suitable location.
The Crandon Park presents wide paths and a pleasant strolls that takes you past large concrete and coral block walls and water features, including several small lakes and a canal, that were once part of larger outdoor enclosures. Crandon Park Zoo left abandoned for some years. In 1991 the Gardens of Crandon Park Foundation formed to turn the zoo ruins into gardens.
The gardens are hidden within the 900-acre Crandon Park, a very popular Key Biscayne beachfront public area. The place turned into a mini sanctuary for wildlife species that proliferate at this magical environment, away from the incessant noise of urban traffic.