Florida’s Zoo Within A House – Sandoway

When you first walk up to Sandoway, it looks like any other ordinary house. Its color is a gentle, classic white, there’s an American flag hanging to the side and an enclosed porch wrapping around the bottom of the cozy Floridian-looking home.

I had no idea what sight I was to behold when my friend and I entered the building. Being an animal lover, I was immediately enamored by the simplicity of Sandoway, which focuses on the animals inside and educating visitors about their natural habitats. Upon walking in, you are given free reign of the home to discover as you please. Take a walk up the stairs and nonchalantly enter a bedroom where my favorite resident, a tiny Screech Owl named SeeMore, and his roommate Stitch the Opossum, call home.

A little ways down the hall and you’ll find yourself in a Shell Collection themed bedroom, complete with a crab.

I say bedroom because, at one point, Sandoway really was a home for a Mr. J.B. Evans.

According to their website, “Mr. Evans commissioned local architect Samuel Ogren to design the house as a retirement home.”

The Sandoway house holds cultural significance and stands as an important piece in architectural history, exemplifying the social and economic trends reflected in Delray Beach by the upper-class citizens residing in the city during the Great Depression.

In the mid 90’s, the Friends of Sandoway House Nature Center was formed with the goal of restoring and re-purposing the house as a nature museum.

Venturing deeper into this historical wonder, you’ll come to the back porch, with an average, ordinary pool…with sharks in it.

You really don’t have to think twice about taking a dip in these waters. There’s a gate surrounding the makeshift habitat to ensure nobody gets the wrong idea about the exact function of this pool.

Come at the right time and you can even witness a live feeding of the animals (and no, the live feeding doesn’t require that you jump directly into the pool with the sharks.)

You can find feeding times on their website at and plan your visit accordingly. They also provide field trip programs for groups with some exclusive content provided especially for school trips.

If you are in the Del Ray area, are a fan of nature and unique adventures, I would definitely recommend the Sandoway House as a relaxing and educational experience for you and your family. Make sure the cameras are charged, because you’ll surely want to show this one off.


Written by Marilyn Belrose

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