Today when I posted the reel of our ZooTampa visit, I mentioned that when I was a child I wanted to be a zookeeper. I have always been obsessed with learning about animals and conservation. While scrolling through Disney+ one day, I found NatGeo’s show Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa. I watched one episode and was hooked. The show takes you behind the scenes at ZooTampa and focuses on the staff and how they care for the animals at the zoo. What I like about the show the most is that it talks a lot about conservation, species survival plans and rehabilitation of the animals that are brought in from the wild in emergency situations.
Pretty much immediately, I wanted to plan a trip to the zoo. It is only 2 hours from us so we chose a day with beautiful weather to explore.
Exploring the Zoo
There are so many habitats to explore but we started with the Florida section. There were wolves, alligators, manatee, Florida Panthers and much more. The manatee exhibit was my absolute favorite part of this zoo trip. There is a rehabilitation area that you can visit. When we got there we saw two pools with manatees in it and a member of staff was answering questions. From there we went to an underground walk through where you can view the manatee underwater. We lucked out because it just so happened to be lunch time! We watched as the staff threw in romaine lettuce for the manatees to chomp on.
After that we went into the primate section and viewed a few different exhibits. There were the cutest baby orangutan lounging. We took a break to grab some hot dogs and drinks before heading to the kiddie coaster and water ride. The water ride has a splash zone if you want to get wet without riding. It’s definitely a smart way to cool down on a hot day in Florida.
We saw a little bit of the Asia habitats. Cassidy and Darrin saw their favorite animal, the tiger. He was walking around and being vocal, an incredible animal. I am so glad we caught him while he was awake.
Our next stop was Africa, where we saw beautiful elephants, a giraffe, rhinos and zebra. We went to an animal chat to learn more about the Okapi. Next to that we viewed some painted dogs taking a nap in the shade and some huge tortoises. Before leaving Africa we went to Penguin Beach. They were so cute.
Our last stops were viewing the koalas, kangaroos, and the Aviary before checking out the gift shop.
My Best Advice…
The tickets we purchased allow us to come back as many times as we want for the rest of the year so we will definitely be back! We want to check out some animal encounters and go on the Expedition in Africa.
I recommend arriving to the park early in order to make parking a little easier. We arrived in the afternoon and had to search for parking for about 30 minutes. I also recommend booking any animal encounters you would like to do online as far in advance as possible, we tried to book one the morning of and they were all sold out.
If you check out ZooTampa, let us know what you think!