Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is famous for having one of the most beautiful tropical wildlife zoological settings in the world. It is an unforgettable destination that brings together animals and families to create natural, up-close connections. At the Zoo, kids can get closer to wildlife than ever before by touching a giant tortoise, feeding a giraffe, getting hand-to-fin with slippery stingrays, walking with wallabies and so much more.
Families can explore the world in a single day at the Zoo. Start your adventure by strolling down the Florida Boardwalk, home to your favorite local species: Florida panthers, Florida black bears and American alligators. Love Florida manatees? The Zoo is the only place in Tampa Bay where you are guaranteed to see manatees year round! At the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital, the Zoo’s veterinary and animal-care staff treat sick, injured and orphaned manatees, and return them to the wild after full recovery. At the hospital overlook, watch conservation at work as the Zoo’s expert staff treat the gentle giants before your very eyes. Underwater viewing windows in the Manatee & Aquatic Center let you get nose-to-nose with the magnificent creatures.
Next, journey to Asian Gardens, home to sloth bears and clouded leopards. Meet the Zoo’s newest Zoo baby, Berisi, the first Malayan tiger cub born at the Zoo. Did you know there are only 250 Malayan tigers left in the wild? Malayan tapir calf Tengahari lives next door to Berisi. Swing into Primate World to visit with Bornean orangutans, chimpanzees and brilliantly-colored mandrills. You can witness daily enrichments and exercises that encourage natural foraging behaviors.
Fancy a walk-about with a wallaby? Or a close encounter with a koala? Then visit Tampa’s own “land down under,” Wallaroo Station! This Australia-themed family area provides hours of enjoyment and discovery for little ones, including an interactive petting zoo and free rides, and don’t forget to pack your bathing suit for a splashing good time in the water play area!
Prefer to explore the Sahara or the jungle? Visit some of the world’s finest animals up close – African elephants, zebras, penguins, white rhinos, pygmy hippos, meerkats and so much more. Meet Africa’s newest resident on your safari adventure, Southern white rhino Kipenzi. Stand on the feeding plateau of Safari Africa and get eye-to-eye with the tallest animal in the world: the giraffe.
Brand new this year and for a limited time only is Dinos Alive! at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. For the first time in 65 million years, dinosaurs will take over Tampa Bay and roam the Zoo every day. Be surrounded by life-size dinosaurs and get up-close and personal with varying species of dinosaurs that move, roar and interact with you. Zoo explorers will find ancient creatures ranging from the treacherous Tyrannosaurus, one of the largest and most powerful predators, to the towering Brachiosaurus, an 18-foot tall herbivore. Kids will explore through the eyes of a Paleontologist and learn fun facts about how dinosaurs lived and how we can help save present-day species of wildlife from extinction. They’ll also feast with Dino-sized food and drinks. Children will become junior paleontologists as they dig for dino fossils and mine for gems. For an even more incredible, once in a lifetime moment, have a nose-to-horn interaction with an Indian rhinoceros, a rare species vulnerable to extinction – coming in spring, 2017.
The Zoo is an experience that’s fun all year round with events such as the Summer Sunset Celebration, Creatures of the Night in the fall, and Christmas in the Wild, Tampa’s popular new family tradition complete with Santa, stunning lights and wildlife at night.
Visit and find that Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is a place of discovery that inspires generations to cherish and preserve wildlife.
Article originally published in the February 2017 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.