Big Kids Can Play at the Zoo Too!


Living in Tampa Bay, we are blessed with natural recreation in our gorgeous beaches, rivers, lakes and parks. I moved here from Ohio in 1994 and have never regretted my decision because there is so much to see and do – and I still haven’t done everything.

One thing I have done, though, is spend plenty of time at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, a nationally acclaimed zoo I can be proud of – a zoo once again recognized as the top family-friendly zoo in the U.S. by Parents Magazine.

No doubt, on a daily basis the zoo is an awesome place for kids, with over 1,500 animals, plenty of educational opportunities and fun activities. But the zoo also holds a lot of amazing cultural festivals and special events throughout the year, like ZooBoo for Halloween (runs from late Sept. – Oct.), complete with some haunted houses that I’ve heard are so terrifying I won’t go in. I stick to the kiddie ones, thank you very much. But still – it’s fun for kids and adults as well.

There’s also Wild Wonderland (during December), complete with holiday and winter themed animals, activities, food and events, but my personal favorite comes right in middle of the fall events: Zoofari. The tagline couldn’t be better. “Eat. Drink. Rock.” Well, maybe you could add “Dance” in there too?

Zoofari, scheduled for Nov. 2 this year, is the zoo’s oldest fundraiser, created 27 years ago to increase awareness and knowledge of the zoo and raise money for the care and conservation of the animals (90 species at the zoo are currently endangered). I always attend Zoofari as a participant and “eat, drink and rock” my way through the zoo – which is full of restaurants, dessert stands, coffee bars (and other bars) and bands, but every year I take note of all the people involved – the restaurants, the entertainment, the artists, the volunteers and the staff. It’s a colossal effort made by many to create a night of great tastings and fun for the guests, and I’m not surprised it was named “Best Festival or Event” by Tampa Bay Metro Magazine.

If you want to experience something really special – a night under the softly lit, sidewalks of the zoo filled with great scents, flavors and music – plan on attending this year’s event. Or volunteer. Or become a sponsor. Event information is online at the zoo’s web site,, or you can call 813-935-8552, ext. 275 for tickets.

One final thought – wear your comfy shoes that night, because you’re certain to want to explore all corners of the event, which spans nearly every part of the zoo grounds. Go once, and you’ll go every year. I guarantee it!



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