Zoo

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10 Things to Love about Zoo Tampa

Zoo Tampa History

When I was growing up, my mom was quite active with various mom-groups and educational groups. As a result, we went on a lot of trips to the Zoo. Zoo Tampa (formerly Lowry Park Zoo) has been around since the 1930’s and has continued to grow ever since. Opening up new sections of the zoo, and providing more opportunities for education. You can read a full history on their website.  The newest section of Zoo Tampa, Roaring Springs recently opened and we had the opportunity to explore the section before it opened to the public. Take a look at what it has to offer (including a new ride) on this post.

Zoo Tampa, Exhibits

There are 8 sections in Zoo Tampa with enough activities for your family to spend several hours or even a couple of days exploring!

  1. Main Entrance
  2. Florida Wildlife
  3. Asian Gardens
  4. Primate World
  5. Carousel Circle
  6. Wallaroo Station
  7. Safari Africa
  8. NEW Roaring Springs  – Read all about it here! 

Our family walked most of the zoo but were not able to see everything Zoo Tampa had to offer.

10 Things to Love about Zoo Tampa

Educational

You knew that was coming right? As a mom with a background in Early Childhood Education, I like to ensure my children are having positive educational experiences. I want them to have a love of learning from an early age. One way I like to instill that love for learning in them is by fun activities such as the Zoo!

Theme Park Vibes

Zoo Tampa totally gives me “Theme Park Vibes”  when I walk through. Perhaps it is that all the rides are included with your park admission (yes, even the new Roaring Springs Water Coaster). Perhaps it’s the signage throughout the park. The reality is, when I walk through Zoo Tampa I feel as though it is an extension of Busch Gardens. It is worth the cost of admission to visit Zoo Tampa!

Be sure to check Groupon* for discounts on tickets!

Splash Pad

If you are an outdoor facility in Florida, it’s almost expected that you have a Splash pad. The one thing I loved about the Splash Pad at Zoo Tampa, was that during the majority of the day there is an employee sitting at the splash pad helping keep kids and families safe.

Instagram-able Walls

Zoo Tampa had so many adorable walls. All of them worthy and perfect for your next family photo or selfie!

Quality Customer Service

While visiting Zoo Tampa we spoke with so many employees, each of them was so helpful and kind. Any question I had was answered. We even reported an issue of safety concern in the new Roaring Springs section, and it was handled immediately!

Security

Before entering the cue to purchase your tickets, you must go through a bag check. I love this! I understand it can be a hassle when you have several bags and a stroller, but the added level of security is worth every ounce of hassle.

Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches

Let’s be real for a second. Churro’s are amazing – but when you add a heaping scoop of Vanilla Ice cream between two churros… DELICIOUS!

Family Rest-Zone

Inside the Children’s Zoo is a little area for parents to take small children from out of the crowds. On the wall is some yoga poses you can do with your children, and there is enough privacy to nurse your baby.

Plenty of Picnic Tables

Bring a lunch and plenty of snacks. There are lots of places to take a little rest and eat!

Free Rides

I know I mentioned this, but all the rides are included with the price of your admission. We could hardly get our girls out of the children’s section of the zoo. It was worth every penny to see them ride the rides over and over again, and listen to the giggles as they enjoyed the ride!

Admission

There are a lot of options when buying admission into Zoo Tampa. 

You can also check Groupon* for deals on admission. 

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*Affiliate Link.

 

Sneak Peak of the NEW Roaring Springs at Zoo Tampa

Roaring Springs at Zoo Tampa

The Roaring Springs Boat ride is scheduled to open on Saturday, June 9th and thanks to Zoo Member preview, I got a chance to ride it! Here are a few things to keep in mind and expect as you plan your day at Zoo Tampa.

What is Roaring Springs

Roaring Springs is the newest section of Zoo Tampa. Located just to the left of the Carousel is Roaring Springs. As you walk in you can see the new water coaster and plenty of activities for families. There is a small schoolhouse with desks and a wooden house with swings and rocking chairs for children to play with. You can also quench your thirst with both spirited and non-spirited beverages and grab a snack at one of the food trucks.

Roaring Springs makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a simple time. We didn’t take the time to shop, but there was an adorable general store with several items to purchase.

My favorite instagram worthy wall is located just beside the food truck. The phrase “Hey Y’all” is perfect for the vibes this section of the zoo gives.

Roaring Springs Ride Restrictions

The boat ride is fast moving and sure to cool guests off in a hurry – perfect for a summer day! Guests must be at least 36 inches to ride this ride. Guests between 36 and 42 inches must be accompanied by an adult. Although this is a water attraction you will need to wear a shirt and shoes.

Things to Consider about the Roaring Springs attraction

Will guests get wet? 

Yes.

Can I watch my family on the ride?

Yes.

If you want to get wet, you can watch from Lookout Landing.

In order to stay dry, you can watch from either the stairs or right next to the exit of the ride has excellent viewing area.

Where can I store my phone or other items I want to keep dry? 

There are lockers and also small cubbies at the exit of the ride, ask an employee for assistance.

Roaring Springs, Food Recommendations

There are a couple of options for food inside the newly opened Roaring Springs. My personal favorite was the fish tacos and the Churro Ice Cream Sandwich!

The Fish Tacos were quite flavorful and I loved the crunch of the coleslaw.

The Churro ice cream sandwich was so good, we actually had to order a second for our family to share!

View the Ride on our Youtube Channel

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5 Reasons to be a member of the Zoo!

When is the last time you went to the Zoo?

As a mom young children, I am always looking for educational and fun experiences for my family. While I was studying for my bachelors in Early Childhood Education, I specifically remember the remarkable rate in which the brain develops in the first three years of life.

85% of the brain development 

happens in the first 3 years! 

5 Reasons to purchase a pass to the zoo
 
As a mom of three children ages three and under, I feel it is crucial to their academic success to fill their days with meaningful experiences. Which is why I asked for an annual pass to the Zoo last Christmas, and it has been the most fun year with the girls yet!
Here are my five Reasons why I think you should consider an annual pass to the local zoo! 

1.  Meaningful Experiences

There are so many opportunities to learn at the zoo. Some of our favorites include; animal shows, talking with a zoo-keeper and feeding the animals. 
StorybookErin - 5 reasons to buy a Zoo Pass
StorybookErin - 5 reasons to buy a Zoo pass

2. Encourage Physical Activity

The Zoo is often quite large and filled with playgrounds and splash pads. These are great places to let your kid out of the stroller and burn some energy.   The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day for children. It’s easy to encourage an extended time of play at the zoo, and as an added bonus your kids will sleep better at night.
Storybookerin - 5 reasons to buy a zoo pass

3. Splash Pads!

Our local Zoo has five splash pad’s throughout the zoo and they are all free for visitors to the zoo! This is especially great during the summer months! Not all zoo’s offer free splash pads, for example, when we visited the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans there was an extra charge for the water area.  My experience in Florida is that there will be a free water area for kids!

4. Special Events! 

Are you are looking for an Easter Egg hunt or a place to take your family trick-or-treating? Check out your local Zoo! Each year we have taken our girls to these special events for FREE. Thanks to our membership!
StorybookErin - 5 reasons to purchase an annual pass to the zoo
StorybookErin - 5 reasons to purchase an annual pass to the zoo

5.  Increase Conversation and Communication 

When we go to the zoo just as a family, we will often pick a nice shady park bench and have a snack. We like to sit near a large animal such as an Elephant or Giraffe this. During snack time, our girls seem to really open up and ask questions about the animals. Our most recent trip resulted in a 20-minute conversation about Elephants, and how they use their trunks to eat.  Toddlers have growing minds and lots of questions, let’s give them opportunities to ask questions and explore their world!
StorybookErin - 5 reasons to purchase an annual pass to the zoo
 

See you at the Zoo! 

Here are a few other zoo’s our family has explored!

Santa Fe Teaching Zoo, Gainesville FL

Jacksonville, Florida

StorybookErin - 5 reasons to purchase an annual pass to the zoo
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