There are lots of things to love about Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida.
It has a variety of animals, with dozens of types of Florida wildlife displayed; entrance is by whatever donation you choose to give, 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 winter weekday.
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary started 40 years ago, beginning 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.
In fall 2023, it moved to a new site in Jupiter Farms that tripled its size and took $20 million to develop. The new site will be less shaded until the trees mature and the space is larger and less intimate.
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. Like nearly all Florida wildlife care centers, it’s not government funded; it depends on donations and fund-raising.
Visiting Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
The facility isn’t huge, but there are many different animals (about 200) and habitats.
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.
The park has a picnic tables for visitors to use, a children’s play area and is built along paved trails.
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary suggests allowing about an hour to walk through the facility, but you’ll have a better experience if you plan your visit when there is a wildlife presentation too.
Wildlife programs at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
There are daily educational programs, ranging from a gator feeding at 4 p.m. Monday to Otter Adventures at the otter habitat at 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays. See the schedule here.
When we visited, we saw an owl program featuring an injured barn owl who assists in these presentations and although I’ve been to many programs on Florida birds, I learned a few things in the interesting 15-minute presentation.
17855 Rocky Pines Road
Jupiter, Florida 33478
Open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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.
Things to do near Busch Wildlife Center, Jupiter, Florida
- Overview of outdoor and natural outings in Jupiter, including restaurants and hotels.
- Jonathan Dickinson State Park for hiking, biking camping, cabins, kayaking, birding and more.
- Kayaking the wild and scenic Loxahatchee River
- Blowing Rocks Preserve: Dramatic beach is unique
- Jupiter Inlet and Lighthouse Museum
- The “secret beach” at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
- Kayaking to St. Lucie Preserve State Park and its remote, pristine beach
- Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, free park with native animals
- Riverbend Park is great for family bicycling, picnics, walks
- Biking Jupiter Island, scenic low-traffic beachfront road
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.