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Exploring Crandon Park Gardens, a Former Oceanfront Zoo

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[Photos by Raquel Zaldivar]
[Photos by Raquel Zaldivar]


They call it the 'abandoned zoo', that is those who know of its existence, and that's not exactly a whole lot of people. The Crandon Park Gardens were more well known in their past life as the Crandon Park Zoo, originally created in Key Biscayne's Crandon Park when a roving circus caravan broke down (Wikipedia says it went of out of business, which makes more sense) stranding two black bears, three monkeys, and a goat (Again, Wikipedia says this included some lions, an elephant, and a rhinoceros), becoming the first animal's in the new zoo's collection.

As over the years the zoo grew, attitudes towards animal treatment changed, and a hurricane or two pounded the site, Crandon Park Zoo finally decided to change its name and haul itself to a much larger site down south, leaving an eerie and beautiful Eden hidden away on an island. The remnants of an old railroad ride encircle the garden. Old animal enclosures which would be considered cruel and usual by modern standards but are still beautiful in their own way, are in garden follies in ruins, some of them clandestinely painted over.

· Crandon Park Zoo [Flashback Miami]
· Crandon Park [Wikipedia]
· Of Gorillas and Ghosts [Biscayne Times]
· Crandon Park archives [Curbed Miami]