My parents took the family to many zoos when I was young, from San Diego to the one in Boise, Idaho. After I was grown, I visited various zoos, including some in Europe and others in Asia, occasionally and usually only as part of the sightseeing that many of us do when visiting new places. Since I became a parent, zoo visits have become more frequent as our children, like most kids, really enjoy them. Recently, we visited Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and found it to be a terrific place to spend an afternoon.
It is not a particularly large zoo, nor is it very showy, but it is well-organized, very kid friendly, and not overly expensive, when compared to other area attractions. One thing that struck me about the place, and you will see it in these pictures, is that many of the animals have a lot of personality!
Also, you can get amazingly close to many of them, which really enhances the experience!
The petting zoo in particular includes many common animals, and some not as much so, that seem to thrive on the human attention or at least do a good job of pretending for their human visitors!
These African Penguins looked like they were at a pool party, with the one in the middle one appearing to strike poses for me.
You are actually able to walk into the Wallaby area and view them with no screen, gate, or fence in between, though there is a member of the staff who keeps a watchful eye nearby.
The Koi were very large but you cannot tell from this picture because there is nothing to compare it to. I liked this one because the color was so bright!
The Giraffes were very sweet and really enjoyed looking at us!
The Siamang Gibbons were interesting to see, though they were not as close as the other animals.
The Manatees were difficult to see clearly, and more so to photograph well, due to the thick glass and multiple tiny pieces of lettuce (their lunch apparently) that were floating in the water at the time. Still, they are fascinating to watch and were a special treat for us to see since we have yet to view any in the wild.
This Bald Eagle was unexpected and reminded me why this noble bird of prey was selected to be the national animal as well as appear on the Great Seal of the United States.
This zoo, probably not unlike one located near you, is a wonderful place to visit that is easily forgotten about when thinking of reasonably priced things to do. To me Zoos, regardless of where you are in life, are terrific places to reconnect with the natural world and forget about your personal challenges, at least for a few hours!