One of Miami’s most popular zoological parks has changed owners, with Jungle Island selling for $60 million to ESJ Capital Partners, a full-service asset management firm in Aventura.
The 18-acre park on Watson Island will also undergo a three-phase renovation and expansion, while adding a private beach club. The first part will open this summer and include zip lines, children adventures, water slides, and a crystal lagoon. The banquet facilities and food and beverage concepts will also be upgraded.
The sale of the park lying just off the MacArthur Causeway includes transfer of the lease from the City of Miami to ESJ, while also assuming existing debt to the city, Miami-Dade, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Iconic Attractions Group will continue to manage it and all current employees will be retained, per the press release. ESJ also announced they’ll be considering the “development of different renewable energy facilities at the park which will enhance the guests’ active and educational experience.”
Jungle Island used to live in Pinecrest under the Parrot Jungle name before moving in 2003.
The renovation is expected to last two years.
"Our environmentally sustainable technology enables the enjoyment of beach life in any location at a low cost,” said Uri Man, CEO, Crystal Lagoons U.S. East. “At Jungle Island, we expect our lagoon to dramatically increase the number of attendees coming to the park – making Jungle Island one of the most successful tourist attractions in South Florida. This new contract represents the start of a new era for Crystal Lagoons with the opening of public access lagoons. This model has infinite possibilities for Crystal Lagoons because it can be replicated in parks, shopping malls, stadiums and college campuses."