After more than 2 months closed due to coronavirus, we couldn’t be happier when Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park finally reopened in May 2020! After being stuck indoors for so long, we were more than ready to explore and have fun in a safe outdoor environment. The kids and I were so happy to visit all the animals again and they seemed happy to see us as well.
What was even more exciting was the fact that Dinos Alive is now at Zoo Tampa from 5/29 until 8/9. This is probably my daughter’s favorite part of summer at the zoo. It’s a separate section of the zoo that you walk-through and you often need a reservation. Reservations are free and can be done at the entrance of the exhibit. You can also make reservations for Dinos Alive here. The exhibit is open daily for all guests. At Dinos Alive, you can travel through time discovering prehistoric creatures. You will come face-to-face with a Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, T-Rex, and more. I will say when my daughters were younger, they did find it a little scary. The dinosaurs are very realistic looking and some of them move and make noises. Really young kids may think they are real and get scared. Others will love it and find it absolutely fascinating. This is a limited-time event and included in your zoo admission, so if you haven’t checked it out yet hurry before they go extinct!
Since we are trying to be extra safe and careful it was reassuring knowing all the procedures in place for visiting the zoo. Zoo Tampa is committed to the safety of the guest, staff, and animals. Some safety procedures in place include limiting guest capacity, requiring all staff to wear a facemask, enforcing social distancing, and frequent sanitization throughout the park. Mask are strongly encouraged and are available at no cost. Masks are optional while outdoors but are required in certain areas. Mask are required in retail shops, bathrooms, restaurants (except while seated for dining), and Manatee Mangrove. Masks are also required during Signature Encounters, Giraffe Meet & Greet, Expedition Africa Safari Tram Ride & while in the tram queue line. Zoo Tampa is an outdoor fresh-air experience so social distancing is required when not wearing a mask. There are also hand sanitizer stations throughout the park. Advanced tickets and reservations are not required but are highly recommended to guarantee entry. A small number of spots are open for walk-up admission. As inconvenient as these policies may be, I am grateful that they are taking our safety seriously. It’s always good to know before you go, so feel free to visit Zoo Tampa for more details.
Zoo Tampa cares for more than 1,100 animals! Some of them include the African Painted Dog, the Pygmy Hippo, the greater one-horned rhino, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, the Florida Panther, the Bornean Orangutan, the African Penguin, The African Elephant, The Florida Manatee, and the Southern White Rhino. There are also opportunities to upgrade your ticket admission to include up-close animal encounters and feeding experiences. Find out more about these exclusive encounters here. There are a variety of animals throughout the zoo and we can easily spend the whole day exploring.
One of our favorite parts of the zoo is the manatees! Florida is well known for its manatees, but they often get injured and need help. Luckily Zoo Tampa has a Manatee Critical Care Center known as The David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center. It’s the first non-profit, acute care facility of its kind dedicated to caring for wild manatees, and one of just four contracted federally permitted manatee rehabilitation centers in the US. Visiting the manatees is one of our favorite parts of the zoo.
Zoo Tampa also has the Sandy & Tom Callahan Center for Wildlife Conservation. You can learn about the amazing conservation efforts of manatees, elephants, and more. You can also check out the clouded leopards and African servals.
Learn more about the many ways Zoo Tampa helps animals here.
After walking around and visiting all the animals its time to cool off with the newest ride Roaring Springs. Roaring Springs is a water ride adventure where you drop 3-stories into the refreshing water. You will get wet, but it will feel amazing after walking around in the Florida heat. The kids and I absolutely love it. Due to coronavirus, there are precautions in place for the rides too of course. Everyone is spaced out and the rides are sanitized after each ride. There are a variety of rides at the zoo including a carousel, which the kids really enjoy.
After Roaring Springs, we usually head over to Wallaroo Station. The Wallaroo station is a kid-friendly area with a splash pad, a petting zoo, kid rides, a rest area, and even more animals. We usually end the day at the splash pad so the kids can cool off and relax. After I get them all dried off and changed we get some ice cream before we leave. Of course, we have to visit the gift shop for a treat and then we head home after a fun-filled day. Both girls usually end up falling asleep on the way home and we look forward to our next visit to the zoo.
If you are interested in buying tickets, they are pretty reasonably priced. A one-day ticket for a child is $29.95, and an adult ticket is $39.95. You can also get the “Pay For A Day” deal that gets you unlimited admission for the rest of 2020 with a single day’s admission. Of course, you can also become a Zoo Tampa Member which comes with tons of perks. Find all the ticket prices here.
If you love animals, come check out Zoo Tampa and enjoy a care-free day perfect for the family.