Skip to Main Content

Monkey hauling up a bowl of food.

Monkey Jungle

Field review by the editors.

Miami, Florida

It is hard to have a bad day at Monkey Jungle. In the gift shop, kids squeal "Monkeys!!!" in anticipation, unable to contain their delight. And when you get inside, the monkeys are there, capering and engaged in all manner of natural monkey-business, it seems, to entertain you.

Monkey Jungle began in 1933 when Joseph DuMond released six crab-eating Macaques -- Java monkeys from Southeast Asia -- into a ten-acre Florida hardwood hammock. "It was Joe's dream as a young man to establish North America's first colony of free-ranging monkeys," claims Monkey Jungle literature, and he succeeded beyond his fondest expectations.

When the Jungle expanded to 30 acres, Joe opened it as a tourist attraction. But the Java monkeys -- territorial by nature -- attacked the tourists. Joe didn't have the heart to cage the monkeys, so he built pathways through the hammock and protected them in tunnels of wire. This novel approach led to Monkey Jungle's tagline, "Where the humans are caged and the monkeys run wild." It has remained essentially unchanged ever since.

Monkey Jungle entrance.

Monkey Jungle rode some rough roads in the 1980s and 1990s, thanks to animal activists. The chimps that had been dressed as cowboys and astronauts, playing pianos and riding tricycles, were gradually retired. Then a controversy erupted over Monkey Jungle's caged gorilla, "King," which ended in late 2000 when he was released into a 10-acre enclosure of his own. King seems content now, and the gift shop sells his finger paintings for $29 apiece.

There are dozens of species of primates in Monkey Jungle: orangutans, gibbons, howlers, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys. You can watch guided, educational shows in the "Amazonian Rain Forest" or the "Cameroon Forest," (that's where King lives), but these lack some appeal, at least to us, without chimps in space suits. The Wild Monkey Swimming Pool is a good place to just hang out, sit in the shade, and watch the monkeys splash and attack each other.

All Monkeys Bite sign and food dispenser.

The Java monkey troop now numbers 130, and they are everywhere. You can have a good time just wandering around watching monkeys scamper overhead, waiting for food. For 25 cents you get a handful of seeds out of a gumball machine, drop some into a little nickel-plated bowl on a tiny chain, and a monkey will instantly haul it up for a snack. We recommend wearing a hat to protect yourself from monkey evacuations and discarded bowls.

Unlike Parrot Jungle, which has gone upscale and downtown, Monkey Jungle remains pretty much as it always has been -- out on the edge of nowhere, more or less true to its original intent. Children and co-workers may often seem monkeylike, but spend an afternoon here and you'll realize that scampering, screaming, genuine monkeys are far more satisfying.

Monkey Jungle

14805 SW 216 St., Miami, FL
Florida Turnpike exit 11 onto Cutler Ridge Blvd (SW 216 St.). West four miles, through several 4-way stops and a lot of emptiness. Monkey Jungle will be on the right, just past Naranja Rd.
Daily 9:30-4 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $30.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Coral CastleCoral Castle, Homestead, FL - 5 mi.
Southernmost Purple Martin House In The Continental USASouthernmost Purple Martin House In The Continental USA, Florida City, FL - 9 mi.
Everglades Alligator FarmEverglades Alligator Farm, Homestead, FL - 13 mi.
In the region:
Coppertone Girl Sign, Miami, FL - 24 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Florida

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Florida.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Save Cool Vacation Destinations! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Florida Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Daredevil Graves of Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, New York (Jun 17-23, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings