Are you a fan of Zoos? I’ve been on the fence about them in the past, but what I am starting to appreciate is that not all Zoos are created equal. Take Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo for example. Highly rated as one of the best in the USA by TripAdvisor and other sites it is also accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This means they are committed to education, conservation and research. It’s now my policy that if a Zoo or Aquarium isn’t accredited by AZA I won’t visit it. It is sad that many species of animals are endangered due to Mankind’s actions but perhaps with help from Zoos like the Lowry Park Zoo and their education on conservation efforts we might bring some of the species back to healthy levels. So with that in mind let’s get wild at the Tampa Zoo!
Located an easy drive from downtown Tampa Bay the Lowry Park Zoo is divided into four main zones. Asian Gardens, Florida, Africa and Primates. Within each zone, natural habitat provides a home for the various wildlife that would be found there. Before I even venture into the first zone I’m stunned by a burst of colour flying over my head. It is the flying of the Macaws or the Macaw Flyover as they call it. Placed around the Zoo are perches that the Macaws fly too and are greeted by the trainers who reward the Macaws with a treat. It is over before you blink so hopefully you’ll be there for a Macaw Flyover.
The first zone I venture into is the Asian Gardens. Lots to see here but my favourite is the big cats. Especially this Tiger laying under the shade of the cliff. I rarely see the big cats as they are usually sleeping so see the Tiger and the Leopard relaxing is exciting for this LEO.
Probably the highlight for most visitors is the next zone, the Florida Wildlife Center.
Lots to see here including Stingray Bay where you can get up close and personal with some Stingrays. There is also a look through to a tank that is home to quite a few Turtles.
The West Indian Manatee Encounter is also located within the Florida Wildlife Center. This is where injured Manatees come to be nurtured back to health. A recent renovation to the pools made it hard for me to get an underwater look however I was granted special permission to go with the staff and see one of the smallest guests, a baby Manatee named Emoji.
I can hear the collective AHHHHSSS now.
Next, I move into Primate World. There is a huge area for “family” of Orangutans to play and live in. How cute to see a tiny baby play around with its Mom. She appears disinterested but I’m pretty sure she is watching every move her baby makes.
This is just a fraction of what’s on at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. It is a 56-acre park filled with the exotic and the exciting animals of our world. Two that represent Florida and the USA are here as well. Alligators and a Bald Eagle.
Remember that not all Zoos are created equal. Make sure you are visiting a Zoo that has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is the best way to ensure the animals are not being exploited for our viewing pleasure.