Take a Day Trip to the Lowry Park Zoo on Your Next Vacation

There are so many things to do on Anna Maria Island, and there are tons of fun day trips you can take. One of the best things for the entire family is to visit the Lowry Park Zoo, located in Tampa. It needs to be on your itinerary for your next vacation! If you find yourself visiting our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals, know that the Lowry Park Zoo not only educates yourself and your children, but it has rides, a water park, classes, and so much more. You can spend an entire day at the Lowry Park Zoo and not get bored. You will be so glad you came! 

mother and two small children looking through glass zoo enclosure

About the Lowry Park Zoo

The mission of the Lowry Park Zoo is to rescue animals, help rehabilitate them, create a wonderful experience for people to see them, and show visitors exactly what these animals do regularly. 

The zoo started in the 1930s and just contained a handful of native animal species to Florida. It has since grown immensely, though it did struggle to keep up with modern zoo standards for a while. In 1982, the zoo was taken over by the Lowry Park Zoo Association, which later became the Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa, Inc. Since they took over, Lowry Park Zoo has become one of the most family-friendly and exciting things to do near Anna Maria Island. 

The Lowry Park Zoo has so many fantastic staff to help educate you and ensure you have a wonderful time with your entire family. It is a motivating place to learn and will help teach you to protect and preserve the amazing wildlife that is in the world today. The zoo makes sure to show different species from different climates. They enjoy highlighting areas of the world like Asia, Africa, Australia, and locally in Florida. 

The education that the zoo can bring your family is unlike any other. You won’t believe how much information you will learn; it’s fun and interesting! The programs within the zoo are both formal and informal. For example, the Zoo’s Florida Environmental Education Center is open year-round. Today, they are proud to say that they have educated more than 1.8 million people since 1988, allowing more and more people to gain awareness about wildlife. 

Lowry Park was voted one of the best things for children in the Tampa area by a magazine in 2021. In addition, it has won 5 TripAdvisor certificates (2010-2015) and is one of the most popular zoos within the Southeast United States. It currently has over one million visitors every single year! 

blue parrot


There are many amazing opportunities to be at Lowry Park Zoo and be up close and personal with the animals. Some of these experiences include feeding the giraffes, seeing the birds, observing the fish and stingrays, and many more. There is also a petting zoo, which your kids are sure to love. It allows them to feel like they are in the African Safari without actually being there. 

There is a fantastic event twice per day (at 10:15 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.) where zoo workers will let Macaws be released and fly around. You can see the amazing colors of these birds and appreciate the wildlife around you. They may even jump on your arm! 

If you have small children, you will also be happy to hear about a kids’ area with a small water park. It’s the perfect way to cool off from a long and hot day. Although the zoo keeps you entertained all day, it’s nice to know that there are also other fun things to be doing there too. 


There are amazing events at the zoo throughout the year as well, providing a unique experience depending on the timing of your visit. You might be able to experience specific holiday-themed events around such occasions as Halloween or Christmas, as well as fundraisers, kids’ parties, educational times, and much more! Some of their most recent events have included their Speakers of the Wild series, a Secrets of the Zoo Backstage Encounter, and a Fitness in the Wild yoga class! 

Other events happen regularly as well. One of the best things to do is check the website regularly. Toddler Tuesday is a fan favorite in 2021. This has adventures through the alphabet, so it’s great for learning. Children can see snakes and other animals while learning more of the alphabet since each month, a new letter is investigated. (Keep in mind, though, that this is a members-only event.)

Rides at the Zoo

Just walking around and observing the animals is not the only thing you can do at Lowry Park Zoo. They offer quite a few rides that you and your kids are sure to enjoy! One of the most popular is the Expedition Africa Safari Tram, a narrated tram ride that will take you right past monkeys, elephants, and more. 

Hop on the Roaring Springs water coaster to cool off on a hot day. The Carousel is great for both the young and the young at heart, while the Boomer’s Flyin’ Bananas allow you and your kids to soar up high above the zoo! Some of the other notable rides within Lowry Park Zoo include the Overland Express Train and the Tasmanian Tiger Coaster. All of the rides and trains are included in the price of your ticket. None of them are scary, and all are so fun for kids!

Plan Your Next Visit

The Lowry Park Zoo is a must-do if you are visiting the Anna Maria Island area! If you have yourself an Anna Maria Island rental, make sure to grab the kids and enjoy a fun day at the zoo. If you have any questions about this fun activity or booking your stay on AMI, contact us today! 

male peacock

Directions & Tickets to the Zoo

There are a variety of different tickets you can get. If you live in the area, it’s probably a good idea to become a member so you can return to the Lowry Park Zoo again and again. If you do decide to become a member, you not only get preferred parking, but you can bring a guest completely free. You also get invitations to members-only events such as Toddler Tuesday. You will receive discounts on dining and items sold within the zoo as well. 

If you are visiting for the day, then you will want to pick up a single ticket. For ages 12 and up, it is $42.95. For children 3-11, it is $32.95. You also can purchase your ticket online prior and save $3 per ticket. 

Lowry Zoo is located at 1101 West Sligh Avenue Tampa, Florida 33604. The zoo itself is about a 1.5-hour drive from Anna Maria Island. Luckily, the directions to Tampa, Florida, are easy. First, you’ll want to make your way to FL-64 E/Manatee Avenue and follow it for about 8.5 miles. You’ll then make your way to US-19 N (a toll road) before merging onto I-285 N and staying on it until Exit 48. That will bring you right to the zoo!