Disclosure: This sponsored post is written by me on behalf of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. All opinions and experiences are completely my own.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
I took the family to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo this past weekend and we had a blast. From Wallaroo Station in Australia to the African Expedition, we covered most of the zoo during our trip and the kids are already asking to go back! Another trip to Tampa is on my Summer to-do list, and so is another visit to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.
In this first post, I’ll be sharing our adventure at Wallaroo Station and what kind of animals you’ll be able to see and touch, as well as the fun to be had while hanging out in Australia.
Wallaroo Station Children’s Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has a new and improved Children’s Zoo called Wallaroo Station. Let me tell you that my kids had a blast being up close and personal with the animals! Plus, there is a small water park where the kids can run around in the fountains. Not to mention, the child-sized roller coaster that was the perfect size for my 5- and 6-year-olds. My husband rode with my daughter, who was just tall enough to ride, and my son sat in the seat ahead of them.
On May 11, 2002 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 cafe 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.
Some of our favorite pictures and animals from the day at Wallaroo Station.
This was in the Wallaby walk-about. Once you walk through the double entrance, you are in their habitat. Up close and personal, these yellow-footed wallabies are so cute. They had fresh veggies, including carrots in one bowl and hay in another. My daughter didn’t want to leave this exhibit because they were watching her as much as she was watching them.
Check out one of the adorable koalas. I’m not sure if this is the female (“Ceduna”) or the male (“Heathcliff”), but they were enjoying a nice meal while we watched. The kids have decided we need to go to Australia to see the animals. I’m thinking Tampa is a lot closer to home. 😉
When walking into the Bat’s habitat, we found these beautiful Green Tree Pythons. They are this gorgeous green color with what look like paint splatter all over their skin. They are pretty awesome to look at, even if they didn’t move from their spots on the pole.
The bats were probably my husband’s favorite animal in Wallaroo Station. They are much bigger that I thought they would be.
In each habitat, we found signs that told us a bit more about each animal in that habitat. My six year old read us all the info for each animal, so he was practicing his reading, while learning something new. I loved that aspect of the zoo. There was so much for the kids to see and do and learn.
We even had a little photo opportunity when we were leaving the Bat Habitat. We’re just ‘hanging around’ with the fruit bats. *Pay no attention to my white legs. Yes, I am a Floridian.
After leaving the bats, we headed over to the horses because my daughter absolutely loves horses. She won’t get too close because they are just too big for her, but she likes watching them and saying how beautiful they are. The zoo employees walk the horses to the front of the park and back a couple times a day and we were able to stand and watch the ‘parade’ of horses.
In this picture, the woman with the horse is rubbing its belly and the horse is leaning into it, so you can see how much the horse is enjoying this time with her.
My kids even got to go inside the goat area and pet the goats! I’ll also mention here to be sure and put anything that is hanging out of your pockets away because the goats like to grab onto anything they can eat. We found this out because one of the goats grabbed my husband’s map of the zoo and took a big bite!
While inside the goat area, we were able to look over a fence to see the llamas and the huge pig. I almost missed him the first time because he just kind of blends in!
Birds, Birds, and More Birds!
There were so many birds in Wallaroo Station and we even went to the Aviary in another part of the zoo. What I found interesting was the fact that there were hens and roosters in with some of the other birds. We found this sign that explains why. Great, right?
Mining for Fossils
We couldn’t resist letting kids mine for fossils. There were other options, too, like mining for gemstones. We actually purchased one 5 pound bag and split it between both children. The gentleman that was helping us brought out the bag and gave each of the kids their own ‘strainer’, he dumped some into each and then taught the kids how to run it through the water to get rid of the sand and look for fossils.
My kids loved this part of Wallaroo Station because they love exploring and finding new things. They each received their own little plastic bag to take home all their fossils. My daughter found the most shark teeth, and my son found a lot of Sahara gastropods. My daughter is wanting to make a necklace out of her largest shark tooth, so maybe I’ll work on a craft post for that.
Looking for rides? Wallaroo Station has them!
Like I said earlier, my kids and my husband rode the Tasmanian Tiger Family Roller Coaster. They loved that, but there are also some other great rides and a water park in Wallaroo Station for the kiddos. While you’re watching the kids play in the water park, sit down in the shade and grab a snack! That way the kids stay cooled-off and you stay in the shade. It’s a win-win for the family.
After the kids rode the rides and watched all the animals, it was time to cool off some more with the ICEE Mix-In Station! I swear there were 15-20 different flavors of ICEE. All you needed to do was grab a cup, fill it up and pay. We may have done that more than once last weekend.
There were so many wonderful things to see and do at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo that I’ll be posting more fun articles over the next week. Be sure to check back as I share our African Expedition experience and more.
About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. 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. Visit www.LowryParkZoo.org or call (813) 935-8552 for information.
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Planning a visit to Tampa or Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo? Print your $3.00 Off Admission Coupon now. It doesn’t expire until 12/31/2015 and is valid for up to 4 guests!