ZooTampa at Lowry Park continues to solidify its position as Florida’s most attended cultural attraction by once again breaking its own record of welcoming 1,171,319 guests in fiscal year 2023 (which ended on September 30). The zoo also amplified its leadership in wildlife preservation by sending staff to various countries to participate in field conservation and education projects.
“We are proud of our role as the destination for families to come together, be entertained and connect with each other and wildlife,” stated ZooTampa CEO and President Joe Couceiro. “We also celebrate our continued commitment to the conservation and preservation of wildlife not only in our backyards but also around the world.”
There were several notable conservation accomplishments during the 2023 fiscal year.
ZooTampa assisted FWC with 54 manatee rescues, transports and verifications. The David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center took in 34 manatees and released 14 back into Florida waters.
Animal care, education and conservation team members participated in field projects providing expertise and supporting conservation programs with Elephant-Human Relations Aid in Namibia (Africa), Macaw Recovery Network (Costa Rica) and South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Africa).
New members of the zoo family include six endangered Komodo dragons, two critically endangered red wolf pups, a nyala, bay duiker, and lorikeets.
The zoo is billing 2024 as the ‘Year of More’ with new additions and updates.
The new interactive habitat Stingray Shores opens this winter with the opportunity for guests to touch and feed stingrays. Guests will also have the unique opportunity to get into the water and be immersed in the aquatic world of stingrays during an unforgettable Signature Encounter experience.
Australia, the completely reimagined family area, includes a new ride, Aussie Trek presented by Outback, which will feature opportunities for parents and kids to go on a safari and learn about the land down under’s unique wildlife. The area, which will open in spring 2024, will have an expanded splash pad and dry play area and the addition of a wallaby Signature Encounter.
At Prehistoric Predators, a limited-time special event taking place from January through April, guests will come face-to-face with giant animatronic ferocious predators of the past. Animals not seen for centuries like the dire wolf from the Ice Age or the allosaurus from the Mesozoic Era come to life only at ZooTampa.
The zoo 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.