Located 2 hours north of Cape Coral, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is a top-address for fans of elephants, rhinos and co. A lot has happened since its humble beginnings when the zoo was managed by the University of Tampa. Today, Lowry Park Zoo houses many species from all over the world and features family-friendly rides, animal encounters and exciting events for the whole family. More than one million guests come here every year, making Zoo Tampa one of the Sunshine State’s most popular places for animal lovers.
ATTRACTIONS & AREAS AT ZOO TAMPA
Of course, the 1.300 animals are the zoo’s main attraction. These animals live in zones that represent different habitats and continents, so a walk through the zoo resembles a journey around the world. Starting point is in Asia, where Indian rhinos, Malayan tigers and moon bears are kept in large, authentic enclosures. This section of the park is also home to the primeval-looking Komodo Dragons.
In this area, visitors can tour the Dark Continent under magnificent thorn trees. Safari Africa houses iconic savannah-dwellers like giraffes, zebras and elephants, as well as antelopes and guenons. In addition to cute penguins from the Arctic, guests can also see a little star: Holly Berry, a baby hippo that was born in 2017, is the newest member of the zoo’s hippo family.
Gibbons, chimpanzees and orang-outangs are swinging from branch to branch at the Primate World, while the zoo’s feathered friends populate the free-flight aviary. Here, you can watch tropical species like hornbills, toucans and birds of paradise flying over your head. Visitors who look carefully will also notice sloths in the canopy. Two times a day, the Spirits of the Sky Raptor Show lets you witness the amazing feats of condors, owls, bald eagles and other birds of prey.
FLORIDA, ASIA, MANATEE CIRCLE, WALLAROO STATION, ROARING SPRINGS, ETC.
ZooTampa is a perfect spot if you want to discover Florida’s biodiversity. North American species include wolfs, bears, skunks and turtles, as well as Lucy, a female panther that was rescued as a cub and nursed back to life by the zoo.
In addition, ZooTampa offers the chance to watch iconic manatees – not only behind glass walls. Many injured manatees are brought to the zoo’s Manatee Critical Care Center for treatment.
The Wallaroo Station showcases the animals of Australia and is particularly suited for children: Here, little guests can get close to cute koalas, wallabies, parrots and a slithering woma python. Afterwards, it is time to try out the exciting rides: The zoo features a merry-go-round, a kids´ train and a miniature roller coaster. If you do not mind getting wet, you should hop onboard the white-water ride Roaring Springs. With such exciting options, it is no surprise that ZooTampa was named America’s most family-friendly zoo in 2009.
In addition to the aforementioned areas, the zoo offers many other attractions, among them a Carousel Circle where young children can ride their favorite animals.
ZOO TAMPA: DINING OPTIONS
If your walk through the zoo has made you hungry, do not worry: Scattered around the park are food stalls selling nachos, pretzels, hot dogs, pizza and many other snacks. The Sweet Shoppe offers donuts and homemade ice-cream, and for a hearty meal, have a seat at the International Bistro with its Italian specialties and fresh seafood.
ZOO TAMPA: TICKETS AND OPENING HOURS
The zoo is open everyday from 9.30 am to 5 pm.
Tickets cost 37 USD for adults and 27 USD for children aged 3–11. If you reserve your ticket in advance, you can save up to 5 USD. There are also “Pay for a Day” offers: Just pay the regular ticket price once, and you can visit the zoo as often as you want for the rest of the year.
If you want to get up-close to your darlings, you can book a number of animal encounters: Take your selfie with a cute koala, feed a giant turtle, rub a penguin’s back or play zookeeper at the giraffe enclosure for a day.
ZOO TAMPA: EVENTS
No matter the season – there is always something going on at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Families will love the Toddler Tuesdays, where little guests are entertained with songs, stories and fun games. If you are interested in the protection of species, you should visit the monthly talks at the Zoo University. And thanks to “Yoga in the Wild” you can even join a fitness class under the watchful eyes of the zoo’s animals.
On Halloween the park is decorated with pumpkins, while the costumed staff and the haunted house create a spooky, yet child-friendly atmosphere. In November and December, the 50 feet Christmas tree gets visitors in the right mood for the festive season, and Santa Claus welcomes children at his Christmas Village.