Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't miss the Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo if you are in Central Florida!!!

We hit the jack pot!!! If you are in the Tampa area and have little ones DO NOT MISS the
(In case you didn't know if you click on the highlighted words in my blog they will take you to a link for the item it talks about...for example click above on Lowry Park Zoo and it will take you to their home page)

This Zoo was voted the #1 Zoo in the USA by Parents magazine...

We were only going to stay the morning but we got there shortly after opening and stayed until just before closing. You easily can spend a whole day there and not be bored at all. Around every corner there is something wonderful to discover.

It was a toss up between the Florida Aquarium and this zoo to go to while here. After looking on the internet we decided that with FREE parking and more things to do at the Lowry Park Zoo, the zoo would be our choice. I am sure the aqaurium is wonderful but I am so happy we chose this zoo. It is also part of the Association of Zoo's and Aquariums so we got into this amazing zoo at 1/2 price with our membership to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.. We loved it so much that we felt like we ripped them off by paying half price! Regular admission is adults $23.95, children 3-11 $18.95, and kids under 3 are FREE. (we paid 1/2 of those prices) Did I mention this zoo also offers FREE PARKING?!!

This is the best laid out zoo I have ever been to in any county I have visited zoos in.

Most zoos are spread out with large cages and if you are lucky you will see the animals in the distance after walking what feels like miles. Not here at this zoo! At this zoo you walk short loops and see many animals from one space. For example when we headed straight to the camels first thing, on our way you could see giraffes, elephants, and zebras all from the same spot.

And you don't just see one or two of each see 4,5,6 of each all in close pens and close to you. The pens are filled with wonderful trees and apparatus for the animals to use for play.

It's not only the quanity of animals but the whole layout of the zoo is fantastic. Each habitat allows you close access, good viewing areas and some take you right into the exhibit and there are displays everywhere much like Disney.

But that is not all this zoo offers with the price of admission! There is also a small marine area with an mini aquarium area and manatees,

The zoo is also a manatee hospital

Sierra demonstarting that this snapping turtle is waiting for food to swim
by his mouth and then he will snap shut!

 An area with frogs and snakes with a listening centre. Press the buttons to hear what the frog you are looking at sounds like,

And a huge sting ray tank which you can pay to feed them but we only put our hands in the water and had many sting ray swim close by us. The girls were both pretty good at using only 2 fingers to touch them. They are surprisingly squishy feeling!

And if all that wasn't enough feel free to go on one of the 6 rides they have in the zoo all FREE with your paid admission.

After an inital ride on the coaster with Daddy Sierra was ready to ride over and over and over again all by herself. 

Aayla wanted to try it too but she was terrified and
even though she wanted to go again...we said no!

The free 15 minute train ride took you through alot of the pens and very close to the back parts of others.

You can cool off in their mini water park area...

Or go to the play place right beside the water play area

You can pay to feed a few different animals throughout the park...for $1 you can feed Linda the Lama as she walks around the park but Sierra just got a picture beside her, you can feed the giraffes for $3 but we did that in Arizona at Out of the Wild so we didn't do that. We weren't going to pay $2 to feed the birds but they don't pay any attention to you when you walk through their habitat if you don' we paid $2 for a liquid drink for the birds and had huge success.

If you chose to you can buy a wristband for $6 with unlimited pony and camel rides or pay $4 per ride if you only want to go on one or the other once. They charge for the animals so as to not over work them with free rides. We bought a bracelet for the girls. They both rode the ponies twice and the camels twice as well. The great thing about the camels was Aayla was too little to ride by herself so Ian and I both got a turn accompanying her free of charge.

Aayla was so happy to be able to ride. When Sierra goes to her lessons
Aayla always cries that she wants a turn!

We had an amazing day and we KNOW you will too!

Ohh and we picked up a new pet at the zoo...I hope they don't mind we borrowed a grasshopper (perhaps a locust) for a few days. It's the biggest grasshopper I have ever seen! We are pleased to introduce to you...Hoppy! Yes Hoppy the second!

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