The Lowry Park Zoo, Trip 1 – 2009 – Tampa, FL

Since Lex Salisbury, tiger killer and despicable man, is no longer associated with the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa (as of December 2008), our boycott of the zoo has come to an end.

[Before you read on, please go read this heartfelt tribute to Herman and Enshalla]
St. Petersburg Times – October 1, 2006

Lefty, my animal and wildlife enthusiast, has been wanting to go to the zoo for ages, so for his birthday this year we bought him a membership to MOSI, for the primary intention of taking advantage of the “Swaptember” promotion.

And that, we have. We have actually taken two trips to the zoo this “Swaptember” month, in order to see everything.

Homeschool Field Trip #4
The Lowry Park Zoo
September 4, 2009

The children wasted no time. They were on a mission! — to see the zoo’s new Koala, Bundaleer — so upon arriving at the zoo they high-tailed it over to Wallaroo Station (animals from the continent of Australia).

This is what they saw:


Queensland Koala
Phascolarctos cinereus

Yes, Bundaleer was sound asleep. Go figure. Koalas spend at least 19 hours a day sleeping, and the rest eating. Just like teenagers .

But there was more to see in Wallaroo Station!


Bennett’s Wallaby
Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus
[subspecies of Red-necked Wallaby]


Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Macropus giganteus


Dromaius novaehollandiae


New Guinea Singing Dog
Canis lupus halstromi

You may think we took way too many pictures of the fruit bats, but we found these guys to be absolutely fascinating, and a joy to watch. We probably stood at the bat exhibit for 20 minutes!

Flying Fox Bat
Pteropus vampyrus



Above: Look at this Mama with her baby!
We spotted two different babies in this exhibit.


And in this photo (above) she is nursing!
I feel a certain connection with her.


Notice the two fellows in the photo above.
The one on the left was trying desperately to rest,
while the one on the right kept creeping over to him
and poking him to wake him up! They must be brothers!


I wish I could sleep like that!


Just a goofy photo op.

Before leaving the “Wallaroo Station”/Australia exhibit area, the children just had to stop by the Petting Zoo. We used to have goats when we lived in Alabama. The children really miss them. :(

I didn’t get any photos of the children actually petting the goats because I was too busy chasing Rey, trying to prevent him from picking up those cool “pebbles” that the goats kept leaving behind!


African Pygmy Goat
Capra hircus

Off to Africa! After leaving the petting zoo, we headed to the Safari Africa and Ituri Forest exhibits.

On our way to Africa, it began to rain; a sudden steady downpour. That brief, refreshing shower lasted only about 10 minutes, during which time we ducked under a tunnel for cover. We emerged from the tunnel at the entrance to Africa and came upon the meerkat exhibit first.

But there were no meerkats! We watched for a few minutes, and were ready to walk away, when we saw a small brown head pop up. They aren’t stupid! They did the same thing we did when it rained — ran into their tunnels for cover. We dubbed that first little guy who popped up “The Weatherman”. The other meerkats must have elected him to be their weather watchman, because he crawled out first, and stood alone for a few minutes, glancing repeatedly at the sky. After he determined that rain was indeed “over with”, the remaining meerkats began emerging from the holes one by one.



Suricata suricatta


The majestic giraffe, my favorite animal in the whole world!

Reticulated Giraffe
Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata

And what could be cuter than a miniature deer?!
With a weight range of 9-13 lbs., this little guy is about the same size as my cat!


Blue Duiker
Cephalophus monticola


Dromedary Camel
Camelus dromedarius


Baby’s First Trip to the Zoo!
(with big brother “Ant”)


Proof that God has a sense of humor:
Okapia johnstoni

I’m pretty sure this was Lefty’s favorite exhibit. He really enjoyed watching (and photographing, and videotaping) the penguins.


African Penguin
Spheniscus demersus

Back to Florida. After we left the Africa area of the zoo, we headed to “Florida Boardwalk“, the Native Florida area.

There were several species of Florida wildlife that I didn’t bother to take photos of, because they literally live in my backyard (like the sandhill cranes), and because I have already posted photos of them…many times.

The gators are an exception to this. While they do live in my backyard, they continue to fascinate me, so I snapped a couple more shots.


Look at that camouflage in action!
There is a reason I refuse to swim in freshwater lakes and rivers in this state.


American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis

Ahhh, the life! The bear and the wolf know how to properly spend a hot Florida day….resting. I don’t blame them!


Florida Black Bear
Ursus americanus floridanus


Red Wolf
Odocoileus virginianus clavium

And this poor gal. I felt so bad for her. She was “in estrus” so was vocalizing while we were there. Doesn’t she look like she’s miserable?



Florida Panther
Felis concolor coryi

I have stated over and over again that one of my favorite things about living in Florida is the diverse, exotic bird life. We have some beautiful and very unique birds down here! But….even though Florida is known for its flamingos, I have yet to ever see one in the wild.


American Flamingo
Phoenicopterus ruber

We do, however see plenty of these guys:


American White Ibis
Eudocimus albus


Bald Eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus

Poor baby (shown with big brother “Gator”) was all tuckered out after a long, hot, busy day. She fell asleep right in her brother’s arms.




During our walk along the Florida Boardwalk, and just before leaving the zoo for the day, we stepped briefly into the “Discovery Center” where many different species of both native and foreign amphibians were on display. They were difficult to photograph, due to their glass enclosures, but the children insisted that I try to get a photograph of these Poison Dart Frogs.



Aren’t they amazing?! They don’t even look real; they look like they’re made of plastic.


  1. says

    What a bunch of great photos! I’m really glad you’re not boycotting this great zoo anymore. Your children really need the opportunity to see the amazing variety of animals at this, one of the best zoos in America.

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America’s Best Zoos



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