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I’ve grown up in Tampa, FL pretty much my whole life. Lowry Park Zoo has been a staple of my growing up. My younger sister even went to Summer Camp there years ago. Flash back to thirteen years ago, to the beginning of Wallaroo Station being put in. I would take the children I was a Nanny for, to visit, and I couldn’t wait to have a child to enjoy it with. Now, with a 19 month old toddler, we were ready to see the all new renovated Wallaroo Station Children’s Zoo and see all it had to offer.
Before we entered we made sure to get sun screen on!
Earlier this year, Wallaroo Station temporarily closed for remodeling — the first significant updating of this award-winning attraction in its 13 year history. Newly re-opened for spring, guests to the “New Wallaroo” can expect this Aussie area to be even more “Auss-ome” with new animals and upgraded amenities, including:
· a female Queensland koala named “Ceduna” (a mate for our male “Heathcliff”);
· “Bushland Birds” habitat with feathered friends and Fiji-banded iguanas;
· more water features in “The Billabong” splash ground;
· redesigned café with “grab and go” food and beverage;
· expanded dining area with additional seats and shade canopies;
· a new nursing mothers area with baby-friendly features;
· a new and fun ride for young children – Lil’ Joeys Caravan;
· new midway games and activities;
· ponies on parade (twice daily) and a goat show; and
· livestock training demonstrations with ponies and llamas.
You could easily spend the whole day just in the Wallaroo Station. We spent a few hours and still did not get to do all that was offered. I really put the Mommy Center to use with being able to breastfeed my son in a nice shaded and cozy area. A few rides he is a bit too small for but he really loved the train. (Tip: When riding as an adult, grab the back row as they are wider, lesson learned the hard way!) My son refused to get off so my husband got in line to let him go again! If we would have let him, he probably would have rode the train twenty times! There are plenty of other rides too. Some do have height requirements that should be considered.
Next time we go we want to do the gem mining. We thought Davin may be a little too young but since this visit, we did test out mining with him and he loves it! The petting zoo was nice and laid back and a great way to introduce bigger animals up close and personal.
Inside the Cafe, you can grab a hot slice of pizza, a burger, and many other selections such as fresh fruit, chips, salad, wraps, and more. Prices are fair and you can grab a seat in a nice shaded area to enjoy lunch. You are able to bring water in to the park but they also sell water, sodas, and in the corner of Wallaroo Station at the front, have Slurpees!
If I had to say my son’s favorite parts of the Wallaroo Station, it would definitely be the Billabong Splash Ground. He loves playing in water! It was so refreshing that even the adults got in to playing. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face if you had tried!
This was technically my sons first visit to Lowry Park as the last time we went at night to visit Santa. He got to see many of the animals including Elephants, Giraffes, and the Tiger! Wallaroo Station was by far the highlight of the day and pays for itself with a season pass in just two visits pretty much! Don’t forget, right outside of Wallaroo Station is also the Carousal! You can also take the children to feed the Giraffes, the birds, and even pet the sting rays!
There is so much educational fun with a visit and I am blessed to live so close to this amazing Zoo. They do so many wonderful things for the community, children, and animals. They also have the best Manatee hospital around! Some say that traveling with a kids, let alone a toddler, can be stressful. Honestly, Wallaroo Station makes it so easy that I could take my son here weekly! (There is also the Manatee fountains at the entrance of the park for extra water play, at times they can be closed for other events so please check the website)
About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been rated No. 1 by Parents magazine, “10 Best Zoos,” (2009) and Child magazine, “The 10 Best Zoos for Kids” (2004). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Parking is free. Visit www.LowryParkZoo.org or call (813) 935-8552 for information. Also find the Zoo on Facebookand Twitter.
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.