Jungle Island (formerly Parrot Jungle Island) is a glorious homage to tourism kitsch. This is one of those places kids beg to go, so just give up and prepare for some bright-feathered, bird-scented fun. Actually, the 18 acre (7 hectare) waterfront facility, lushly landscaped and using a minimum of pesticides, is pretty impressive, thanks in part to the parrots, macaws, flamingos, and cockatoos flying about in outdoor aviaries.
The Cape Penguin colony is especially cute, as is Crocosaurus, a 20 foot (6 meter) long saltwater crocodile that lives in Serpentarium. Other critters include snakes, crocodiles, gibbons and orangutans, not to mention tortoises, iguanas, and a rare albino alligator on exhibit.
You can even see animals in action, as Jungle Island host a number of shows starring roller-skating cockatoos, card-playing macaws, and numerous stunt-happy parrots. Nearby is Pinecrest Gardens, which has a petting zoo, mini-water park, and a lake.
Jungle Island sits on the north side of MacArthur Causeway, which connects downtown Miami with South Beach. To get here, take I-95 to I-395 east (MacArthur Causeway). Make a right on Parrot Jungle Trail, which is the first exit after the bridge. If you have kids, consider combining a visit to Jungle Island with the Miami Children's Museum, which is located nearby.