Post-classes: Vacation Day Seven Part One (Tampa: Lowry Park Zoo)

This post was a tad too long, so I’m splitting it into two. I decided to make two posts because when I was looking at the pictures for this day, I had over 100 I wanted to use and that seemed like way too many! This first part will feature the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, and the second part will focus on the Columbia Restaurant (lunch), St. Petersburg Beach and Samurai Blue (dinner.) Enjoy the zoo (I know we did!)

As you first come into the Lowry Park Zoo, make sure to keep your receipt handy as the lady at the desk needs to view it before admitting you. Snag a map, or use their Zoo Map app (I opted for the paper copy.) There was a lady with a green snake standing at the entrance, which was a fun introduction to the zoo. Off to the right, there was an enclosure with many different birds and of course the ever-present wild squirrel which is everywhere in northern and central Florida as far as I’ve experienced. Squirrels love the zoo too. A few things of note about this zoo: Voted #1 zoo for children/families by a parenting magazine (can’t remember which one), has several opportunities for direct animal contact/interaction/feeding, and has rides for the children as well. I think these features make it a very unique and fun zoo. If you go early-ish (we were there before 10) the animals are all fairly active as well, even in the sun.

bird enclosure

Then we saw the warty pigs, which made me happy. I also feel bad for them for having such an unappealing name. They’re more hairy than warty, and pretty cute.

warty pigs

My dad and I agreed these birds look like college professors. Let me take a moment to apologize that this post will mostly be pictures. Hope you don’t mind!

old man birds

hello there little guy

I fed this guy some nectar from a cup.

bird on arm

These lizards were everywhere in the zoo! Something very unique to this particular zoo, Lowry Park, is the amount of wildlife that is included, including various random wild lizards, squirrels, and birds throughout the zoo and its enclosures. I really liked that it seemed like a very natural setting.

wild lizard

penguin feeding time

They also had a lot of zoo babies. Here are a few: baby elephant and baby pygmy hippo!!

baby elephant!!

hippppppo

what are you looking at

meerkat

wallaby

koala

I do apologize to the lady above for catching her looking at the koala… Oh well. This glass was so reflective.

singing dog

bats!

if you know anything about me by now, you probably know I love goats. And zoos that let you pet/feed them, which I did!

goatses

friendly

And the Florida black bear.

florida black bear

meh

Such big alligators!

gators

The main attraction for me was the manatees. Here’s my very first manatee viewing (in person.)

my first manatee

nom nom lettuce

I also love seahorses.

seahorse

snakes!

eagle

I think there were a couple kinds of rays in the enclosure. You could feed these guys if you wanted to, which was another thing I liked about this zoo. They had plenty of opportunities for you to interact with the animals (my mom fed the giraffe and on some weekends you can feed and touch the rhino.) These guys were so funny to watch. They would sometimes splash you as they swam by and you could reach in and touch them, like in the aquarium.

rays!

rhino

And what zoo is complete without pony rides?

horses

And now, finally, I can’t remember what this guy was exactly… but he basically had a heart on his chest. And I thought that was too cute not to show y’all.

heart bird

Post & photos by: Melissa

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