Special thanks to ZooTampa for hosting our family for some special animal encounters. All thoughts are my own.
Welcome to another family adventure! We recently enjoyed two trips to ZooTampa at Lowry Park as a family and in this post, I’ll share some of our favorite highlights! On the first trip, we went with the boys’ grandparents. On our second trip, we were joined by the boys’ grandparents and their cousins and Auntie from out of state. It was so much fun to see all the kids exploring the zoo together! We’ve had crazy storms for about 5 weeks now, so it was a treat to take advantage of a little break in the weather just in time to make some special memories at the zoo!
DIY Zoo Hunt Challenge:
During our first visit, I made them a fun little DIY Zoo Hunt challenge that had a few things for them to find around the zoo. We had so much fun finding everything! On the top of the Zoo Hunt, I found 5 bright colors from the paint sample department at Lowe’s. Then, I put 8 challenges below them: listen for 3 animal sounds; find a baby animal; find a sleeping animal; find an animal eating something; find a flying animal; find an animal with spots; and find an animal with stripes. I printed it out and glued on the paint sample squares. Then, I laminated it for a quick and easy little challenge that can withstand weather and small children. My boys are 4 and 5, so it was perfect for them! The Zoo is always so much fun but I thought adding this challenge to our day would encourage the boys to learn a bit more about the animals by looking and listening to them instead of just hurrying on to the next exhibit.
Exploring the Zoo:
ZooTampa offers an amazing variety of animals that are organized into 5 main sections:
Asia: a collection of exotic animals like the Komodo Dragon and Malayan Tiger
Florida: home to animals that are local to Florida like the American Alligator and lots of cool birds
Primates: home to a collection of monkeys, orangutans, and other primates of all sizes, some have babies!
Africa: home to Expedition Africa, a fun ride that takes you on a mini safari to learn about the animals and how they are cared for
Wallaroo: this is an area just for kids with a petting zoo, fun kiddie rides, and a water play area
You can see our favorite highlights of each section in our ZooTampa video here:
Animals at the Zoo:
The variety of animals at ZooTampa does not disappoint! I love that they include a section just for animals that are native to Florida. As you explore the zoo, you can tell that all of the animals are well-cared for. The Zoo is clean and in addition to learning about the animals, we also enjoyed learning about all the ways in which the ZooTampa team works hard to care for them and keep them safe. This is one of the best zoos I’ve visited!
Here are some of the fun animals you will see at ZooTampa:
Wallaroo Station (the kids area):
The kids area features a water play area… a great way to cool off on a hot summer day! I love that ZooTampa has an area just for little kids so they can play and explore and enjoy rides just for them! The petting zoo provides a fun and safe hands-on animal experience with the sweetest pygmy goats! Each of the hands-on animal areas is equipped with a hand washing station!
In addition to the petting zoo in the kids area, you can also participate in some amazing animal encounters where you get the opportunity to feed and interact with some special animals.
Some of the animal encounters you can choose from are:
African Elephant Backstage, African Penguin Backstage, Aldabra Tortoise Encounter, White Rhino Backstage, Indian Rhino Feeding Encounter, Lorikeet Feeding Encounter, and Giraffe Feeding Encounter. On our visit, we enjoyed three very special animal encounters! The kids (and grown ups) enjoyed interacting with these amazing animals and made some memories that will last for a long time!
This giant tortoise is 46 years old and he weighs about 450 pounds. He is definitely a gentle giant and was very friendly and relaxed while he let our kids pet him.
These beautiful birds are the lorikeets and they are so fun! They eat a nectar juice out of little bowls and are so friendly, they will jump right onto your head, shoulders and arms. We had a great time feeding them (and no one got pooped on)!
This is my very favorite thing to do at the zoo! We went when Andrew was really little and it’s always been special. The giraffes are so sweet and friendly and the kids really enjoy getting such an up close experience with them!
More Zoo Fun:
There are some really pretty places to take photos at the zoo, like in front of this beautiful waterfall in Primate World.
You’ll also want to check out Expedition Africa, a tram ride that takes you on a mini safari for some great peeks at some of the animals like the elephants, zebras, and rhinos. You get to learn about the animals and how they are cared for at the zoo. We got to see where the elephants are kept at night and during a hurricane. We also got to see the commissary building where the zookeepers prepare over 1,300 different diets every day to feed all of the animals!
Also, Roaring Springs just opened up this week and it’s a fun area filled with places to cool off, a crazy water ride where you’re going to get drenched, food, and kids play areas.
You can catch a peek of this brand new area in my ZooTampa video!
To plan your visit to ZooTampa, head over to zootampa.org and be sure to take advantage of their current deal: buy any adult or child ticket and use that ticket to come back for FREE for the rest of 2018 (one per person required)! That’s a great offer, especially if you have kids who are looking for fun things to do this summer!
What is your FAVORITE animal at the zoo?
Let me know in the comments!