Parque Municipal Summit

POINTS OF INTEREST

Parque Municipal Summit

About 13 miles northwest of Balboa, this large garden and zoo is surrounded by rain forest. Started in 1923 as a U.S. government project to reproduce tropical plants with economic potential, it evolved into a botanical garden and a zoo in the 1960s. The gardens and surrounding forest hold thousands of species, but the focus is on about 150 species of ornamental, fruit, and hardwood trees from around the world that were once raised here. These range from coffee and cinnamon to the more unusual candle tree and cannonball tree. The zoo is home to 40 native animal species, most of them in cages that are depressingly small, though a few have decent quarters. Stars include jaguars, ocelots, all six of the country's monkey species, several macaw species, and the harpy eagle, Panama's national bird. A neat thing about Summit is that most of the animals exhibited in the zoo are also found in the surrounding forest, so you may spot parrots, toucans, and agoutis on the grounds.

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