A giant animatronic ladybug at ZooTampa’s BUGTOPIA event.

There’s always something new and exciting to look forward to at Florida’s most visited cultural institution, and one has just begun in ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Join in with ZooTampa to experience BUGTOPIA, a limited-time family-friendly event that opened on February 25. This larger-than-life exhibit is free with zoo admission or membership and features 13 enormous animatronic bugs that will amaze and educate guests in fun and unique ways.

BUGTOPIA enables guests to glimpse into the world from a bug’s perspective, delight in their bizarre beauty and reflect on what we can learn from their brilliant behaviors. Roles will be reversed as guests venture into a bug’s world where they will find themselves looking up into the eyes of a larger-than-life Mexican red-knee tarantula or at the tail of a mighty emperor scorpion looming more than 10 feet in the air.

“Bugs are fascinating creatures, and we’re proud to be able to share them with guests of all ages in BUGTOPIA,” said chief operating officer Scott Rose. “This exhibit is full of enormous animatronic bugs and insects that show what these animals look like close up and how they’ve perfectly adapted to the world around them — our guests will never look at bugs the same way again.”

In addition to all the buzz from BUGTOPIA, the zoo is kicking off its extended springtime hours. During the days of Saturday, March 11 through Sunday, March 19, guests can enjoy the zoo from 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Also, during the months of March and April, the zoo will stay open until 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in conservation, education, recreation and research. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is recognized as Florida’s leading and most attended zoological cultural institution.

It is located at 1101 W. Sligh Ave. in Tampa and is open seven days a week (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., with extended hours for select events. For more information, visit www.zootampa.org or follow it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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