As of 2015, things to do in Sanford, Florida, include visiting the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, taking an airboat ride on Lake Jesup or visiting the Sanford Museum. Another option is to spend time at the Little Big Econ State Forest.
The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden has more than 500 animals on site, both wild and domesticated. The Barnyard Buddies Children's Zoo has domestic animals for the little ones to pet, while the herpetarium is filled with reptiles and snakes. Kids may also find their favorite bugs at the Massey Services Insect Zoo. Other activities include the ZOOm Air Adventure Park and the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground.
Airboats have their engines above the water line, making it easy to travel in shallow water and through vegetation. These boats are also fast. At Lake Jesup, in the Black Hammock Recreation Area, they zip across the center of the lake and then head into the marshy areas in search of alligators and other wildlife.
The Sanford Museum has been a local fixture since 1957. It specializes in local history, including legendary hometown sports figures. The Little Big Econ State Forest, about 14 miles southeast of town, offers fishing, paddling, hiking, biking and horseback riding. Camping sites are also available, which require a state forest use permit.