One of the places on our field trip wish list this fall in Florida was Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. Our last visit to a zoo was so long ago no one could remember much - I'm thinking two trips in 2006: San Diego Zoo without Little Miss, and the zoo in Guangzhou on our adoption trip with Little Miss in a stroller. I think we remember more of the so-called bathrooms in the China zoo than the zoo itself.
Lowry Park Zoo was rated the best zoo in America by Parents Magazine, so our expectations were pretty high. We picked a quiet week day to go - a perk of being homeschoolers - and with our Boston Science Museum membership cards we were able to get in with half price tickets.
The zoo is set up in different sections. It was very easy to walk around from one habitat to another. We started out in the pretty Asian Gardens where we met sleeping Mama Rhino with baby, many pretty birds, and a Malayan Tiger.
In the Primate World we discovered orangutans, lemurs, chimpanzees, mandrills, and many other
Mr D was a good sport and took Little Miss on a carousel ride as the rest of us pulled out a zoo map to find the closest place for lunch.
And here comes the negative part of our review:
We thought the food at the zoo was horrible. You couldn't bring a cooler in to bring your own lunch (which we usually do), and many of the food places were closed, because it was a quiet day. Maybe on a busy day when more places are open you can get decent lunch, but on this quiet day we only found two options: Grub and Grog Restaurant (expensive pizza, hot dogs and processed cheese nachos - yuck) or Tamani's Oasis, which looked about the same as the Grub and Grog place (with the addition of fried foods).
On our way out we discovered Garden Grille next to the zoo entrance/exit, which maybe would have provided better lunch, but it was too late for us.
Other than the food bit we did enjoy visiting the zoo very much.
Another thing I liked about Lowry Park Zoo was the few rides they had were included in the ticket price. My boys took Little Miss on Tiger Coaster in Wallaroo Station, and Gator Falls log ride, which was great, since mama really really really likes to keep her feet planted firmly on the ground.
The Wallaroo Station is a neat area geared for younger visitors. On a hot day you can cool off in their water play area, and probably in a busier day you can pay for a pony ride (not available when we were there). The wallaby area and the petting zoo were Little Miss' favorites, and she enjoyed seeing the koala bear through glass. She decided to skip bumper boats and the flyin' bananas rides.
We loved watching the African Penguins. Did you know:
The African Penguins have a black stripe and black spots on the chest, the spots being unique for every penguin, like human fingerprints. Females lay two eggs, with an incubation period of 38-42 days. They are a monogamous species and the lifelong partners take turns to incubate their eggs and feed their young. Read more here.
The highlight of our visit to Lowry Park Zoo was the Safari Africa section. Little Miss and Mr D got to feed a giraffe!!!
We do have a question for our readers: "What does the giraffe say?" Does anyone know?
The Safari Africa section had a great guided expedition tour where you can see a lot of their animals (see a list here). We were especially thrilled to see Mavi, the newest elephant calf born this summer, and her big sister Mpumi.
Not sure if I should ask my teen boys what their favorite part of the zoo was. It may have been Gator Falls. I lost count how many times they went through it, soaking wet, and even enticed Little Miss to join the splashy fun. It wasn't even a hot day.
Missy and I decided to sit this one out.
From Gator Falls we took a very drippy walk along the Florida Boardwalk to see the manatees. On our way there we enjoyed seeing many of the Florida local wildlife.
The manatees didn't disappoint! They were adorable!!
(Did you see our own Swimming with Manatees experience?)
Did you heard the rumor of a visitor falling into the manatee pool? We may or may not have had something to do with that. Shhh...!!!!!!
We really did have a fantastic day at Lowry Park Zoo, and highly recommend it to our readers!
Tällä viikolla teimme kotikoululuokkaretken Tampan eläintarhaan. Parents-lehti valitsi sen parhaimmaksi eläintarhaksi Usassa, ja kyllä se olikin upea paikka. Pikkuneiti (ja Mr D) jopa saivat syöttää salaatinlehteä kirahville!
Ainoa negatiivinen puoli oli kamala, epäterveellinen ruoka, emmekä saaneet tuoda omia eväitä eläintarhaan. Menimme hiljaisena viikonpäivänä jolloin monet eläintahran ruokapaikat oli kiinni.
Mutta muuten tykkäsimme! Siellä oli muutama huivipuistolaitekin, mikä tietty oli kivaa muksuille:)