A huge thanks to Coca-Cola Florida and ZooTampa for sponsoring this post so we could experience the new Roaring Springs Ride, all opinions are my own!
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
Zoo Tampa has a new name and a new ride but it’s still the same zoo we fell in love with years ago! We first came to the Lowry Park Zoo, now Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park 4 years ago while on vacation, since moving here we’ve been to all their holiday events and every time we visit I am more impressed.
Guide to Zoo Tampa
Here is a jam-packed guide full of all the information you need to have an amazing day at the zoo!
How Much Time Will It Take:
You can easily spend the entire day at Zoo Tampa, between the animal exhibits, rides, and spray park, it is a great place to wander around and take things slow. However, as a zoo member, I have also gone in for a few hours in the morning or afternoon to visit my favorite animals.
When You Arrive at Zoo Tampa:
Unlike many Florida attractions, parking at Zoo Tampa is FREE! Huge perk! Once you park and head towards the entrance you will purchase your tickets and book any up close encounters you may want to experience and then head through security where your bags will be searched. Once you pass through security, you will have the option of having your pictures taken in front of a green screen, the pictures they design are absolutely adorable, so I recommend getting them taken even if you don’t plan on purchasing them. After you pass the green screen it is time to see some animals!
If you are planning to arrive at the zoo early in the day or on a Saturday or Sunday, I recommend purchasing your tickets online so that you can skip the lines at the ticket booth.
Getting Around Zoo Tampa
Zoo Tampa is separated into 6 sections based on the animal exhibits that are within each area, 5 of the continent areas are strung together around the Main Entrance area so that you can walk along the zoo in a large circle and see a lot of the exhibits. My kids all still love to stop at each animal and read the signs, so we usually spend about an hour in each park area.
Park Areas at Zoo Tampa
Main Entrance: Within the main entrance section of the zoo there is a Free-Flight Aviary, a Manatee Fountain for kids to splash around in, and Garden Grille an indoor airconditioned restaurant.
Asia: Once you pass through the main entrance area of the zoo, and take a left you are in Asian. The exhibits in this area feature Gharial Crocodiles, Clouded Leopards, Komodo Dragons, a Sulawesi Aviary and many more cool animals. However, my absolute favorite animal in Asia is the Sloth Bear. I had never heard of a Sloth Bear before visiting Zoo Tampa, but this adorable animal has melted my heart, and he looks exactly what you would imagine from his name a combination of a bear and a sloth!
Florida: As you head out of Asia, you enter the Florida exhibit. I love that the zoo maintains a designated area to show us the animals that are all around the state that we call home, but that we don’t necessarily get to see. The animals in this section include stingrays, the Florida panther, black bears, flamingos, and of course the American Alligator. In the outskirts of this park area, you also have the newest zoo attraction the Roaring Springs ride.
Primates: Asia and Florida semi-circle around the Primates sections of the zoo. This is one of my favorite areas because I am a huge monkey lover. The animals in this area include orangutans, chimpanzees, mandrill, and many more adorable animals that are swinging around their climbing structures.
Africa: The Africa section of the zoo is another family favorite. This section is not only packed with incredible animals such as giraffes, elephants, and rhinos, but it also has safari called Expedition Africa which drives you around the outskirts of the exhibits so that you can see the animals in a completely different light.
I suggest getting to the safari early in the day as the line does grow as the zoo gets busy. We have waited up to 40 minutes at times and in the Florida sun, that can be pretty miserable. However, after a long wait, Africa also offers a beer and wine garden for those parents that need an adult refreshment.
Located between Africa and Wallaroo is the Jungle Carousel, this always a perfect family ride, and this one is beautiful!
Wallaroo: the Wallaroo section of Zoo Tampa is usually the biggest hit with small children. This is where numerous rides are including the tiger coaster and Boomer’s Flying Bananas, plus there is an awesome petting zoo so that you can get up close with some goats, horses, and llamas. And after you’re little ones gone on the rides and got up close to some adorable animals, they can run around cute splash pad.
Behind the Scenes Experiences at Zoo Tampa
Zoo Tampa offers some amazing and affordable up-close experiences with the animals. Current prices are $15 a person or $10 if you are a zoo member to participate and they make for an unforgettable day.
Some of the encounters include:
African Elephant Backstage
African Penguin Backstage
Aldabra Tortoise Encounter
White Rhino Backstage
Indian Rhino Feeding Encounter
These experiences can be booked at Guest Relations.
The New Roaring Springs Ride at Zoo Tampa!
Zoo Tampa now has the perfect way to help you cool off from a hot day exploring the animal habitats under the Florida sun! The New Roaring Springs ride allows you to board a boat with your family and enjoy drifting along the flowing stream that is until you are sent down a three-story drop that creates an epic splash! This is the perfect way for the whole family to cool down from the Florida heat.
Plus, if you didn’t get as wet as you’d like, take a walk over to the Canopy Walk that oversees the drop and enjoy being drenched by the splash of other boats passing as they hit the bottom of the drop.
Roaring Springs is the perfect upgrade to an already awesome park, it is a ride that the entire family can enjoy, while simultaneously helping us moms who have been lugging everything around all day relax, cool down, and enjoy the thrill!
Along with the new ride came a cool new area for the kids to play and mom and dad to relax for a little while, while watching others take the three-foot plummet from a safe and dry distance. Zoo Tampa built a playhouse and schoolhouse for children to run through and make friends while setting up tables and some delicious food and drink options within the Roaring Springs Area.
Experience the NEW ROARING SPRINGS water adventure at
ZooTampa at Lowry Park!
GET TWO FREE LIMITED EDITION PONCHOS when you purchase the Coca-Cola 4-Pack of tickets online!
Food and Stuff:
Zoo Tampa is packed with food and drink options, from indoor dining to snack stands, there is something for everyone. They also have a great ice cream shack and my daughter can’t get enough of the churro stand. As a mom of 3, I usually head straight for the Starbucks Stand during the day or enjoy something from the Beer and Wine Garden during the evening events.
You can also choose to pack a lunch, there is no outside food allowed inside the zoo, however, there are picnic tables around Lowry Park so you can choose to leave to the zoo for an hour and enjoy a picnic and then head back in for some more animal fun.
There are also several gift shops located throughout the zoo where you can find some cute and unique items. From flamingo stuffed animals to fun household items, they offer souvenirs to suit everyone’s taste.
Holiday Events at Zoo Tampa
If you are in the Tampa area during the Holloween or Christmas Season, the holiday events at Zoo Tampa are a must see! We have been to both, and I was incredibly impressed with them. The Halloween event offered spooky decorations, a dance party, and lots of impeccably dressed character to take pictures with. While the Christmas event had snow falling, the biggest Christmas tree I have ever seen, Giant toy soldiers and Santa’s elves walking around, and of course the big man in red himself.
Zoo Tampa’s Hours
Zoo Tampa is open 7 days a week from 9:30 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening.
Cost of Admission to Zoo Tampa
Current admission prices (which include pay for a day, get the rest of 2018 free)
Adult Admission: $34.95
Children’Admissionon (3-11): $25.95
If you are a family of 5 or more, I highly suggest becoming a Zoo Member! For the Family Plus Membership, you receive unlimited access to the zoo for a full year for 2 adults, all children in your household, plus one guest. The Family Plus Membership costs $169, which is a bargain for large families. I have 3 children, so buy a single day admission ticket would have cost me over $145. Spending the extra $25 gives me a year of fun at Zoo Tampa, including the holiday events, plus I get preferred parking and discounts on food, shopping, and animal encounters. This is an annual membership all Tampa Bay families should take advantage of!
Plus, if you purchase a photography flash drive at the zoo, you can continue to purchase your photos from each experience for only $10!
Where is Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park Located:
1101 W. Sligh Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604
Want to learn even more before your visit? Check out Zoo Tampa’s Website to plan your visit, and connect with them on social media!