Central Florida offers a range of opportunities, many special, many unique. A visit to Tampa, for the day or your entire vacation, must include a visit to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.
Our recent visit was after I won tickets on Twitter from the area’s CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau), @VisitTampaBay, and Assistant Laura and I made our way across. Highway 4 out of Orlando provides an easy and relatively quick route, taking us into the heart of the western coast, and to the zoo.
Set in a picturesque place, amidst trees and flora, the fauna here is not to be skipped, but to be enjoyed for their playfulness, funny moments, and new interesting spices. As those who believe that (well run) zoos are an important element in educating the public on wildlife, conservation, and habitats, we’ve been to many zoos over the years. Lowry Park is one of the best we’ve seen.
Add to the fact that they rescue and rehab animals, house unique breeds we’ve never seen or heard of before, and do it all in this pleasant and picturesque setting, it made for a wonderful day.
Stroll beneath trees and along boardwalks, listen to a distant animal calling out so loud it bounces off everything, seemingly from every direction. Watch the always playful monkeys on their islands. An Orangutan wearing a pizza box to cover it from the small slice of sun, a monkey couple watching over their baby, or the father monkey who had to discipline his children, or was that join in?
Monkey families of varying kinds frolic on their islands. Here, a mom &
dad watch over their baby. (Copyright 2009 Rochelle Paul)
There’s a children’s zoo with an Australian theme, home to a camera shy Koala. And don’t miss out on the large walk-thru avery with birds of all shapes and sizes flying or running about. We heard someone say there were bats and a sloth in there as well, but we spotted neither.
Then on past the touch tank filled with sting rays (we’ve done this often at other zoos, so skipped it on this day – but their tank is well designed for excellent interaction), and on to the Manatee area.
These gentle giants seem to be the definition of the term. I love to tease Assistant Laura by calling them giant slugs, and well, let’s face it, that’s what they look like. But whatever you see when looking upon them, gentle and kind always comes to mind.
?The manatee residents of Lowry Park Zoo have all been rescued from tragic and unnecessary accidents with humans. You will find that I’m very unforgiving on the topic, as I watch how too often we treat our world and the animals with complete disregard, to our detriment. And here too, one will see the results of selfish humans.
But in this place, the manatees are healed and allowed to rest until they are ready to return to the wild. If not, a lifetime of peace in this place.
From the underwater viewing area, sit and watch them eat and swim. Lettuce floats freely on the surface, these animals swimming in leisurely harmony, enjoying their day. We watched for more than half an hour, only to come back later in the day and enjoy for even longer.
Watching the manatees can be a leisurely, fun, and fascinating way to
spend a few moments, or an hour. (Copyright 2009 Rochelle Paul)
Above you’ll watch them from an above view. Not as easy to see as they are allowed some peace here. Tanks in the hospital area allow for those more recently injured to recover, to large ponds for those who’ll hopefully soon be able to return to the wild.
Elephants, giraffe, camel, rhinos and many more will fill your day.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo also offers decent food at expected pricing. There are plenty of souvenirs of the day to be found. Rides are offered for an additional price (some a bit high, but if you’ve planned for it, you’ll be ready).
It’s an average size for a zoo, so be prepared for walking, though everywhere we went was fine for those with physical limitations.
This was a pleasant day, with lots to do and see, and so many new memories made. We can’t wait to return. I believe that if you enjoy zoos, this is one not to be missed.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Hours & Directions
Strollers & wheelchairs
Weather today at the zoo
This article is Copyright 2009 by Rochelle Paul, and may not be used or reprinted without the written permission of the author. Unauthorized reprinting online or offline is illegal. To seek permission, please contact me at [email protected]
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