ZooTampa at Lowry Park Celebrates 3rd Consecutive
Year of Record Attendance and Expanded Conservation Work
New family adventures, interactive animal experiences and special events planned for 2024
ZooTampa at Lowry Park continues to solidify its position as Florida’s most attended cultural attraction by once again breaking its own record welcoming 1,171,319 guests in fiscal year 2023 (which ended on September 30). Furthermore, the Zoo 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’s 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.”
Some of the notable conservation accomplishments during the 2023 fiscal year include:
- Florida conservation: ZooTampa assisted FWC with 54 manatee rescues, transports, and verifications and helped with operations on the East coast during the winter Unusual Mortality Event. The David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center took in 34 manatees and released 14 back to Florida waters. Additionally, the team is working with fSTOP Foundation and FDOT to monitor two new wildlife crossing cameras between Tampa and Lakeland.
- World-wide partnerships: 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), South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Africa).
- Significant births: New members of the Zoo family include six endangered Komodo dragons, two critically endangered red wolf pups, a nyala, bay duiker, and lorikeets.
“Equally important to reflecting on a successful fiscal year is looking forward to our continued transformation,” added Couceiro. “In 2024 we will offer some unforgettable adventures for guests of all ages.”
The Zoo is billing 2024 as the “Year of More” with the following new additions:
- Stingray Shores: The new interactive habitat opening this winter features the opportunity for guests to touch and feed graceful 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 that connects guests with these amazing species like never before.
- Australia: The completely re-imagined family area includes a new ride, Aussie Trek presented by Outback, which will feature opportunities for parents and their kids to go on a safari and learn about the land down under’s unique wildlife. The area, which will open Spring 2024, will have an expanded splash pad and dry play area and more opportunities for up-close animal connections with the addition of a wallaby Signature Encounter. Additionally, new food and beverage locations, the Outpost Grab N Go Market and the Boomerang Bar will offer guests an array of delicious drinks and food options.
- Prehistoric Predators: At this limited-time special event taking place 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 an allosaurus from the Mesozoic age come to life only at ZooTampa. While enjoying the amazing creatures that roamed the earth long ago, guests of all ages will also learn the important role predators play in our ecosystem and how they relate to species of this century.
- David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center expansion: As one of only two critical care centers in the United States able to care for orphaned manatees, ZooTampa is expanding its capacity with the addition of two 16,500-gallon treatment areas for the direst (and smallest) patients.
“As one of USAToday’s top ten Zoo’s in the United States, we kick-off the 2024 fiscal year with excitement about our future,” stated Couceiro. “We will continue our commitment of excellence as one of the many gems of our amazing city and county.”
CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES
About ZooTampa at Lowry Park
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 attraction. ZooTampa and our David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care, were honored among the "Best Zoos" (#6) and "Best Zoo Exhibits" (#4) in USATODAY's 2023 10Best Reader's Choice Travel Awards. The Zoo is a twelve-time winner of the Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice Award (2010-2023), ranking us among the top 10% of attractions worldwide. A winner of 2021 Best of Tampa and is a leader in the rehabilitation and care of Florida species. The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa and is open seven days a week (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours for select events. For more information, visit www.zootampa.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.