The opportunity to watch 3,000-pound manatees, Komodo dragons, Persian leopards, and rare red pandas makes this a worthwhile excursion after the kids have seen the plains of Africa at Busch Gardens. With lots of greenery, bubbling brooks, and waterfalls, this 24-acre zoo displays animals in settings similar to their natural habitats. Exhibits include the Florida wildlife display, Asian Domain, Primate World, Aquatic Center, free-flight aviary with a birds-of-prey show, hands-on Discovery Center, and endangered-species carousel ride. The Wallaroo Station has kids' rides, a small water park, a kangaroo walk-about, and a petting zoo. Lowry Park has one of Florida's three manatee hospitals and rehabilitation centers. The Eco Tour is very popular, featuring a cruise on the Hillsborough River, where you'll see turtles, herons, and manatees. The cost is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $10 for children 3 to 11 (zoo and Eco Tour Package costs $29 for adults, $27 for seniors, and $21 for children 3-11). The zoo is also a sanctuary for Florida panthers and red wolves. There's also a rare African shoebill stork; an African safari tram-style tour; and a restaurant, the Garden Grille, inside the zoo's front gate.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2010