I received a sample for this review/feature. Opinions expressed are my own.
The zoo is my 3-year olds favorite place to visit. He loves being able to see all of the animals and to learn more about them. It had been a while since we visited our animal friends at our favorite zoo, Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL, so we decided to stop in for a visit and check out their newly renovated kids area, Wallaroo Station.
Thirteen years ago, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo introduced Wallaroo Station, a 4.5 acre Australian-themed family area, where thousands of families with young children have enjoyed an interactive Australian adventure. The hands-on, family-friendly features helped the Zoo secure top honors from two national parenting magazines: Parents, “10 Best Zoos,” (2009); and Child, “The 10 Best Zoos for Kids” (2004).
Earlier this year, Wallaroo Station temporarily closed for remodeling — the first significant updating of this award-winning attraction in its 13 year history. Newly re-opened for spring, guests to the “new Wallaroo” can expect this Aussie area to be even more “Auss-ome” with new animals and upgraded amenities, including:
- a female Queensland koala named “Ceduna” (a mate for our male “Heathcliff”);
- “Bushland Birds” habitat with feathered friends and Fiji-banded iguanas;
- more water features in “The Billabong” splash ground;
- redesigned café with “grab and go” food and beverage;
- expanded dining area with additional seats and shade canopies;
- a new nursing mothers area with baby-friendly features;
- a new and fun ride for young children – Lil’ Joeys Caravan;
- new midway games and activities;
- ponies on parade (twice daily) and a goat show; and
- livestock training demonstrations with ponies and llamas.
My son loves all of the rides in Wallaroo Station, but the newest, Lil Joey’s Caravan, was hands down his absolute favorite. He would’ve rode this all day if I let him. He had a great time on the Boomer’s Flying Bananas and Outback Bumper Boats as well.
The Billabong splash area was a big hit. There were so many new features within the splash area and we spent well over an hour here. This is the perfect way to cool off after a hot day visiting the animals. I liked that there were plenty of benches for parents to sit and watch and the bathrooms were also located close-by.
We were so happy we got to see the baby elephant up close. There’s something extra sweet to see a mom and baby animal together. We saw quite a few babies while there – my favorite was the baby Pygmy hippo.
We couldn’t believe the tiger was awake and wandering around when we stopped by. We have yet to see it on the move, so we stayed there for quite a while watching. We lucked out that so many animals were awake and playing around – we got to see the bear jump up to get food and even the clouded leopard was out and about.
If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out Lowry Park Zoo. This is our favorite zoo and one we visit often because it’s great for kids and adults alike. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been rated No. 1 by Parents magazine, “10 Best Zoos,” (2009) and Child magazine, “The 10 Best Zoos for Kids” (2004). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Parking is free.