There are a lot of reasons why nature parks, zoos, green zones, doggy parks, and sports parks are important to every community. For one, think back at all of your best childhood memories and how many of them were at parks or zoos? Even now, if you have children, one of the easiest ways to entertain them, or let them entertain themselves, is to take them to a park. One of the nicest zoological parks in the United States is the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. Here are some of the many great things you can do there, all year long.
Beginning in the 1930s, Tampa at the time was quite a bit smaller, but there was a need to begin thinking about its future, so the forward-thinking people of the area began a small zoo near the Hillsborough River in what was called Plant Park. This small beginning had an aviary with hundreds of different varieties of birds plus another area where people could see various local wildlife up close. That included alligators, which have always been much feared, and some of the local forest dwellers like raccoons, opossums, and other small mammals.
Then, 25 years later, it was decided to move the small zoo to the more centrally located Lowry Park and greatly expand the size and number of animals. This was the beginning of the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department’s management of the park as well.
As the park grew over the next 20 years, there arose a call to make the presentations of the animals be more natural-looking rather than just dirty concrete cages and iron bars. That’s when an organization was formed to turn the zoo into a zoological garden of high quality. This eventually became the Lowry Park Zoological Society that was dedicated to improving and developing the zoo into the future.
The zoo now has separate “lands” that depict the terrain from other parts of the world and the animals that reside there. There are the Florida animal exhibits that include all of the animals that are native to the state in habitats that are natural for them. Then there is “Asia Land” which again shows the animals from all parts of Asia, not just East Asia, but including India, Persia, and Siberia as well.
After that, there are the Primate exhibits that showcase apes like chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys in their natural surroundings. Plus, there is the Africa exhibit that has rhinos, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and more. There is also a petting zoo for the little ones and a variety of rides for all ages including the jungle carrousel, tiger coaster, water play, overland express and more.
In the Penguin Backstage show, you can watch as the zoo personnel takes care of feeding and all other aspects of taking care of the penguins. There is an opportunity to talk to and ask questions of the zoo personnel as well.
In the Elephant Backstage show, you can watch the zookeepers talk to and care for the elephants, feed them, water them and bathe them on a daily basis. They also train the elephants, since they are naturally intelligent creatures, and you can watch those sessions as too.
There is a Galapagos Tortoise Encounter that allows people to touch these giant gentle animals that are sometimes more than 100 years old or more. These are the largest land tortoises on earth and they are quite fascinating. Some lucky people also are given a chance to feed the tortoises.
There is also a Southern White Rhino Backstage exhibit where everyone can see how large these animals really are. While they are fenced off, you can reach through the fence and touch or pet the animals. In the wild, they can be very dangerous with their sharp horns and aggressive behavior. In the zoo, they are tame and enjoy the company of humans.
The Indian Rhinos are a bit smaller and in that feeding exhibit, you can watch them being fed, washed and cared for by zookeepers.
Altogether, this is one of the best zoos in the United States and it has great reviews in the online comments from visitors. There are prices and times of availability online as well in order to time your itinerary to catch all of the various shows, encounters, and feeding exhibits. You can also buy tickets online, which can save you from having to wait in line at the entrance with your crowd of children.
Also visit Straz Center of performing arts, the nation's best performing arts center.
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