Animals at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary. (Photos: David Blasco & Bonnie Gross)
Animals at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary. (Photos: David Blasco & Bonnie Gross)
Trail at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. (Photo: David Blasco)
Trail at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. (Photo: David Blasco)

There are lots of things to love about Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter – it’s a beautiful forested property where you can see dozens of types of Florida wildlife; it’s free (although they welcome donations), and it provides critical care for hurt or sick critters, who usually got that way because of interaction with us.

It’s a particularly nice stop for families, but animal lovers of all ages were enjoying the place when we visited on a recent January weekday.

It has been around 35 years, starting strictly as a wildlife rehab center. Eventually, it added education to its mission and began a step-by-step development process that has resulted in it being visited by 100,000 people every year.

The Busch in the name comes from Peter W. Busch, whose family foundation is a key supporter. Busch owns Southern Eagle Distributing, the local Anheuser-Busch distributor.

The wildlife sanctuary is a model of partnerships in that it is located on the grounds of the Loxahatchee River District water treatment facility. (It’s not government funded; it depends on donations and fund-raising.)

Owl program at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
Owl program at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Visiting Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

The facility isn’t huge, but there are shady trails and boardwalks through several different habitats – pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, cypress wetlands and fresh water ponds.

All along the trails are well-designed enclosures for birds and beasts, ranging from some of the top predators – Florida panther, black bear, alligator and crocodile – and including deer, otter, bobcats, foxes and a wide variety of birds.

We felt lucky to see both the panther and the black bear moving about. Their enclosures are located on a trail that continues onto a wetland observation deck overlooking water-treatment ponds that attract storks, cormorants and anhinga.

Entrance to Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
Entrance to Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Wildlife programs at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

There are animal encounters in a small outdoor amphitheater most days at 3 p.m. plus additional programming on same days. See the schedule here.

We visited on a Thursday when an owl program is presented at 12:30 p.m. We loved seeing the injured barn owl who assists in these presentations and although I’ve been to many programs on Florida birds, I did learn a few things in the interesting 15-minute presentation.


Busch Wildlife Sanctuary website

  • Busch Wildlife Sanctuary at Loxahatchee River District
  • 2500 Jupiter Park Drive
  • Jupiter, FL 33458
  • The park has shaded picnic tables for visitors to use.

Note: Busch Wildlife Sanctuary does not pressure visitors to make a donation. Admission is free and they make it easy to donate, but it is also easy to visit without making a donation.

A recent newsletter from the sanctuary made this interesting point: “In Florida, there are no government-funded injured wildlife care facilities. If someone finds an injured wild animal, their only option for help is to find a non-profit organization that specializes in wildlife rehabilitation. There are only a handful of such organizations scattered throughout the state.” Busch Wildlife Center sees about 5,000 animals a year.

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