SANFORD, Fla. – With high gas prices, we’re all looking for different ways to get around on a budget. The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens partnered with SunRail to offer a unique travel experience called Choo-Choo to the Zoo.
“Seeing their faces when the train got going, it was just a really fun exciting day and a lot of good experiences for the kids to be able to ride the SunRail,” said Sarah Hellyer from Winter Park.
Hellyer and her two sons are took advantage of the commuter rail for the first time, taking the SunRail from Winter Park to Sanford then hopping on the trolley from the SunRail station to the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
The boys summed up their experience in one word.
“Awesome,” Zachary and Evan Hellyer said.
SunRail and the Central Florida Zoo rolled out Choo-Choo to the Zoo.
“The way gas prices are right now, it’s not cheap to travel. Right now, you can take the Sunrail train from any of our 16 stations, stop at the Sanford station, have a trolley that picks you up every 15 minutes,” SunRail COO Mike Heffinger said.
The SunRail commuter train runs from Poinciana in Osceola County to DeBary in Volusia County offering wifi capability and good ol’ air conditioning.
“No traffic, no stop signs, the train keeps going,” Heffinger said.
SunRail fares differ depending on how far you’re going. Say you’re traveling from the furthest stop Poinciana, heading to the Sanford stop to visit the zoo, that’ll cost less than $8 for an adult for a roundtrip ticket and half of that for kids. It’s even cheaper with a prepaid Suncard. The zoo trolley that picks up from the Sanford station is free.
It gives families a unique way to get to the zoo to experience the zoo that’s undergone restoration projects and upgrades in time for summer.
“We want to be able to show our visitors what we do, the conservation work we do, the sustainability of some of the programs we have here,” Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens CEO Richard Glover said. “We’ve got a lot of keeper talks we restarted, during COVID we weren’t able to do those things.”
Choo-Choo to the Zoo operates through July 29 but may be extended based on demand. You can also show your SunRail ticket to receive 20% off your admission to the zoo.
Choo-Choo to the Zoo will operate Monday-Friday, from 9:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.