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Lowry Park Zoo in Downtown Tampa, FL

Here at the Westshore Grand, we’re proud to provide our guests such easy access to Tampa Bay’s finest attractions. And one of the shining stars among the metro area’s family-friendly destinations is unquestionably the Lowry Park Zoo, situated less than a half-hour from our doorstep.

Housing better than 1,300 animals and welcoming more than one million visitors every year, the zoo is one of the most popular in the Southeast. Whether you’ve got a gaggle of kids in tow or not, it’s always an utterly fascinating—and inspiring—place to visit.

From the Down Under Outback to the South American Rainforest

The earliest roots of the Lowry Park Zoo date back all the way to the 1930s, but the modern institution, run by the non-profit Lowry Park Zoo Association, opened in 1988. Amid its luxuriant, tropically accented grounds, you’ll find spacious and naturalistic exhibits featuring animals—many of them endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species—that hail from far corners of the globe that have similar climates to ours.

It makes for a wonderful menagerie: koalas, kookaburras, rock wallabies, and emus from Australia; orangutans, tigers, one-horned rhinos, and Komodo dragons from Asia; mandrills, giraffes, cheetahs, and meerkats from Africa; Cuban tree frogs, golden lion tamarins, and Orinoco crocodiles from the Neotropics—and many, many more critters.

Sunshine State Species

Florida’s rich native wildlife comes well represented, too: from bald eagles to American alligators, gopher tortoises to sandhill cranes, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes to black bears, Atlantic stingrays to Florida panthers.

The One-of-a-Kind Lowry Park Zoo Manatee Hospital

And one of the true highlights of the zoo is the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Hospital, where you can get an up-close look at the zoo’s worthy work rehabilitating wounded, ill, and orphaned Florida manatees. It’s not hard to spot these gentle marine mammals in the wild around

Tampa Bay, but you’ll get to enjoy unique underwater perspectives at the Lowry Zoo, and via the Manatee Hospital learn more about the many threats these “sea cows” face in the wild—from boat collisions to red tides.

Other Lowry Park Zoo Attractions

Behind-the-scenes tours and hands-on animal encounters get you even closer to the Lowry Park Zoo’s residents. And besides all the birds and beasts, the zoo includes many playgrounds, rides, and interactive displays for the younger crowd, and hosts regular special exhibits and events: from sunset shindigs and holiday galas to food festivals.

Don’t miss the globe-spanning animal roster and all-around gardened loveliness of the Lowry Park Zoo—and choose the Westshore Grand for your convenient hotel accommodations!

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