I received a sample for this review/feature. Opinions expressed are my own.
I have always loved going to the zoo. It was my favorite place to visit as a child, and even long before The Hubs and I had Nugget we often found ourselves visiting zoos. My family has a true love for animals and it's great to be able to see them up close and learn more about them. We're quite lucky that only 90 minutes from our house is Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. Lowry Park has consistently been voted the #1 zoo in America by Parents Magazine and it far exceeded our expectations of how great this zoo was.
Lowry Park is open from 9:30am-5pm everyday. We went on a Sunday at got there around 10:15 and had just missed the Macaw Fly Over that happens near the front gate. We checked our map and saw there was a Feeding and Keeper Talk at the African Penguin exhibit so we quickly headed in that direction.
It was honestly so cool to see penguins in an outside habitat like this. We have seen them in arctic habitats, but this was our first time seeing African penguins. Nugget loved watching them swim and he really liked seeing them eat. We learned a lot about them and even got to learn some of their names. They even have a special system to tag each of the penguins and they essentially have a roll call list to mark off each penguin as it gets it's food to make sure all of the penguins are well-fed and happy.
We planned to head into the Safari Africa area next, but then we saw the wax animal machines. I have to admit, these machines were one of my favorite parts of going to the zoo when I was a kid so I was beyond excited to see they had them. The best part was, it was still only $2 to get a wax animal just like it was when I was a kid. We are a penguin loving family, so naturally Nugget wanted the penguin wax animal. Once this was finished, we went into Africa.
The beautifully tall giraffes immediately caught our eye. Nugget wanted to sit on Daddy's shoulders to be tall like the giraffe. He was in awe of how big they were and couldn't believe that he would actually be able to feed one while at the zoo.
At the edge of the giraffe exhibit is a walk up where you can feed the giraffes. They have these incredibly long, purple tongues that just twist around the lettuce you stick out to feed them. Although you cannot pet the giraffes, it's amazing to be able to see one so up close and personal.
No African exhibit would be complete without elephants and rhinos. There were two baby elephants in the exhibit and they stayed close to their mom at all times. We also got to a see a baby rhino. He decided he was just going to stand up on his mom which reminded me of how my own son loves to stand and climb on me. It was sweet getting to see so many baby animals. There were many other animals in the Africa exhibit, but these were our favorites. After Safari Africa, we decided to go to the Primate World area.
Nugget just loves monkeys - probably because he acts like one most days. He often pretends to be a monkey so he couldn't wait to actually see some in person. Most of the primates were trying to stay in the shade and relax. I certainly couldn't blame them because it was a hot day. Nugget really liked the orangutans because of their bright orange coloring.
After visiting the primates, we decided to get a bite to eat. There are many places all throughout the zoo to get food. We went to the Garden Grille by the main entrance and it had a good variety of different foods you can order. When we finished lunch, it was time to go to the Asian Gardens.
When we got there, we went to visit the tigers first, but they were sleeping. Lucky us, as we got to the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear habitat, on the bears was awake and playing with what looked like a big spindle. He was just rolling the toy around as we all stared. I don't think I've ever seen a bear playing with something before so it was fun to watch. The Lorikeet Landing area is also in the Asian Gardens where you can step into the bird habitat and feed the birds.
The Florida Wildlife Center was next. I really enjoyed seeing the manatees as they're just so huge and sweet looking. We stopped in to visit and feed the stingrays and went into Manatee Cove where we saw lots of fish and of course, manatees. Nugget and Hubby loved the Discovery Center there as well because they got to see all sorts of cool animals like poison dart frogs and spiders.
Wallaroo Station was our last stop. This is basically like a kid's zone. There is a splash area, lots of rides, and even a petting zoo. The best part, in my opinion, is the walk through area where you can see the wallabies. You get to walk through their habitat and see them hop right in front of you.
Lowry Park Zoo is an amazing zoo. There is so much to see and do there that we plan to get there right when they open next time. They offer so much to learn and see while visiting that you definitely need a full day. If you're ever in the Central Florida area, be sure to stop and visit Lowry Park Zoo and experience all they have to offer.
Connect: You can connect with Lowry Park Zoo on their website, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and/or @LowryParkZoo on Twitter!