In an undergraduate thesis entitled “Zoo Miami Entertainment Area: Revitalization Through User Experience” University of Florida student Emilio Fuster laid out plans for a potential theme park adjoining Zoo Miami. However, he noted that there are several constraints this location, chiefly:
Despite its prestige, the site is not located in an ideal location for tourism. The main attractions of Miami (for the most part) all lie to the north, concentrated around Miami Beach. The immediate area is almost exclusively residential. Almost immediately surrounding the residential areas are large expanses of agricultural land with Homestead to the south being a large agricultural hub.
Overall the Zoo is not in an ideal location for tourism. Its location in proximity to other prominent areas of Miami and other attractions is quite remote. The area is also not a typical urban/pedestrian friendly one. Connections to the site are almost primarily vehicular. This severly (sic) limits connectability. Adding to this, the land uses of the areas do not add to its draw. Primarily residential, there is nothing but the Zoo and GCRM attracting visitors to the region.
As Fuster points out a theme park in this area, like 20th Century Fox’s Miami Wilds, would not be in close proximity to Miami’s main attractions – this will likely become a major issue for attendance.
Further compounding any development plans is the fact that the site is home to pine rocklands, a globally imperiled habitat, and the site is in an almost exclusively residential area. In the re-zoning, sale/transfer of land, and planning of Miami Wilds (and Coral Reef Commons) the public, especially the neighboring residents, were not – and still are not – included in the county’s and developers’ actions. This level of secrecy is unacceptable, particularly since the site of the development is home to pine rocklands and the planned development will be severely detrimental to the daily lives of the nearby residents.
Link to Fuster’s full thesis here