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A Hot Summer Afternoon at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Elephant with baby elephant at Lowry Park Zoo - Tampa, Florida

Lowry Park Zoo is a small 56 acre zoo in Tampa, Florida. Although not the biggest or best zoo I have visited, there are several unique exhibits. The highlight is Safari Africa, a beautiful portion of the zoo which features: giraffes, elephants, zebras, rhinos, okapi, cheetahs, and meerkats. All the animals in this section have a nice big free roaming space available. Great picture opportunities here as well!

We were able to see a baby elephant!

Baby elephant at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

A group of 4 giraffes. Did you know that giraffes are the tallest animals in the world?

A group of giraffes at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

You also have the opportunity to participate in a giraffe feeding. The line is long, however, it’s a pretty neat experience to see these beautiful animals up so close.

Giraffe at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Giraffe at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Zebra at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Meerkat at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

2 meerkats at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Penguin swimming at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Penguins swimming at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Penguins swimming at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Flamingos at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Primate World is another great exhibit. In this area of the park, you will find many endangered species like orangutangs and chimpanzees.

Monkey in Primate World at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

A view of Primate World at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Monkeys in Primate World at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Monkey climbing at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Monkey swinging ropes at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Orangutang at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Two outdoor aviaries allows you to enjoy a variety of exotic birds in a free flying setting.

Aviary at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Views of the Aviary at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Unique looking bird at The Aviary at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Strange looking black bird at The Aviary at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Various birds in the Aviary at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Scarlet Ibis at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Duck at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Birds in the aviary at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Cool looking bird at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Asian Gardens features some of the most exciting animals in the park: leopards, rhinoceros, a Malayan Tiger, and the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear.

Asian Gardens at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

The Sloth Bear is a unique species of bear which eats both plants and insects. This interesting looking bear is found in the lowland forests of Sri Lanka. Luckily we were able to see it sitting upright during the day as opposed to sleeping. When we came back later in the day, it was sleeping. We enjoyed the opportunity to view this beautiful endangered bear.

Sloth Bear at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Sloth Bear sleeping at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Leopard at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Tiger at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Tiger at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Baby rhino at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Rhino at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

As you walk along The Florida boardwalk, you will take in the sights of many animals native to the region, including: crocodiles, gopher tortoises, a bald eagle, and The Florida black bear and panther. We were really interesting in seeing the panther, unfortunately it was probably sleeping during our visit as it was nowhere to be found.

Crockodiles at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Crockodiles at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Crockodile at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Turtles at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Bald Eagle at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Florida black bear at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Surprisingly, the zoo lacks indoor exhibits. You would think with the hot Florida weather we would see more. A visit to the air conditioned Manatee underwater viewing and aquarium area is a great way to get out of the sun for a while.  The windows were a bit murky and could definitely use a deep cleaning, as you can see in the photos below. Nevertheless, it is still a nice exhibit worth checking out. The aquariums feature many different unique forms of sea life including seahorses and lion fish.

Manatee Encounter at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Manatees at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Group of manatees swimming at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

manatee coming up for a breath at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Turtle swimming at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Lionfish at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Lowry Park is one of the few zoos that houses a Koala Bear. Koala bears are a unique sight only found in a handful of zoos, such as the San Diego Zoo, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Los Angeles Zoo. According to the Zookeeper chat, Koalas barely drink any water. They get their water from eating Eucalyptus plants.

Koala bear at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

On another interesting and disgusting! side note, Koalas babies eat their mother’s fecal matter in order to obtain necessary bacteria for digestion. Coprophagia refers to the consumption of fecal matter and is actually common amongst many animal and insect species, including: flies, gorillas, and elephants.

Koala bear at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

A guided safari tram ride takes you through a special section of the park that is closed to pedestrians. This entertaining ride gives you an up close look at gopher tortoises, zebras, elephants, and more! It would have been more interesting to go through the entire zoo (like Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo), however, the ride was a nice relaxing breezy break from walking around in the blazing heat all afternoon.

Gopher tortoise at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Elephant seen on safari ride at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Elephant rolling on his back - Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Deer on the safari ride at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Lowry Park Zoo is unique in that several amusement park rides are scattered amongst the zoo: a carousel, a small roller coaster, a water ride, bumper boats, and a few other kiddie rides. Personally, I felt it took away from the peaceful nature of a zoo, but those with kids might appreciate the extra entertainment. On the other hand, the water ride is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day – you will get absolutely soaked!

Carousel at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Rollercoaster at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Water ride at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

The zoo is small, nicely laid out, and easy to walk around. There is some attractive landscaping in certain parts of the zoo, but just not enough shade for a late summer visit. A visit during the hot season (July, August, and September), is unbearable due to the hot, humid temperatures. Despite the brutally hot August temperatures, we managed to cover the entire zoo, however, it was extremely uncomfortable. A fall or winter visit is a much smarter idea.

Manatee sculpture near the entrance of Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Seating area at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Pretty landscaping at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

An endangered Species wall lists the current animals that are endangered, many of which are found throughout the zoo

Endangered Wildlife Wall at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

You will find a variety of restaurants scattered throughout the park. There is even a Starbucks for those who can’t go without their morning coffee! Safari Lodge is a casual restaurant serving favorites like pasta, tacos, and sandwiches.

Safari Lodge at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

 

The Zoo holds an exciting assortment of events throughout the year, including the annual Zoo Run Run (a 5k race and walk that runs through the zoo and along the Hillsborough River), Zoo Boo (a festive annual Halloween event featuring a pumpkin toss), and Wild Wonderland (a holiday extravaganza complete with a million lights, holiday treats, and fake snow).

Annual passes are available for $160 per family (2 adults and 4 kids). This is a great deal for zoo lovers as it includes
reciprocal admission to over 160 zoos.

Things to know before your visit

-Summer temperatures in Tampa can climb into the low 100’s with humidity!
-Your $25 admission ticket includes all rides found within the park.
-You can apply the price of your admission ticket towards an annual pass.
-Wear plenty of sunblock and preferably a hat to shield the sun.
-Drink plenty of water throughout your visit.
-Food and drink are not allowed in the park. However, there is a shaded picnic area right outside the park. You can get a stamp and re-enter the park.
-Giraffe feedings are an additional $3 fee.
-Discount coupons can be found at The Tampa Visitor’s Center.
-Taking your time and including lunch, a visit to Lowry Park Zoo will take you approximately 3 hours.

Location, Hours & Pricing Information

Address: 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
Hours: 9:30am-5:00pm
Parking: Free parking is available.
Admission: Adult tickets are $25, Seniors are $23 (60 and over), and children are $20 (ages 3-11)



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