Adventure and entertainment come together with nature at Tampa Bay’s zoo and aquarium events. Enjoy watching water shows and interacting with animals while learning about how creatures great and small share our world together.
Lowry Park Zoo
1101 W. Sligh Ave.
Tampa, FL 33604
Lowry Park Zoo is a great place to get wild during summertime and there is no shortage of fun events that the zoo hosts. On August 3rd, enjoy live music and food at the Wazoo Beer Festival, which features hundreds of different beers from around the world. For those who want to put on their running shoes, Zoo Run Run on August 24th is an event where children and adults can run through scenic trails and get a special event t-shirt.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
249 Windward Psge
Clearwater, FL 33767
Escape the sun and visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet our very own local movie star, Winter the dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. They have a dolphin stadium where you can see daily shows with Winter and her friend Hope. Tour the Dolphin Tail set and museum, interact with the sea animals or get a behind the sense tour of this marine research and rescue center. Go to their website for ticket and show time information, plus check out the Winter the Dolphin webcam.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
10165 N. McKinley Drive
Tampa, FL 33612
Home to some of the best wild animal exhibits in Florida, Busch Gardens in Tampa offers amusement park rides, animal shows and experiences like the Serengeti Safari and Bird Gardens. It’s also a great place to gather with friends and family for summer adventures that go on past dark. Make the night sizzle with the special Summer Nights event. Through August 18, you can top off a day at the park with great barbecue, live band music and acrobatics stage shows sure to entertain the whole family.
Big Cat Rescue
12802 Easy St.
Tampa, FL 33625
Go beyond the zoo experience with a guided tour of Big Cat Rescue. At this sanctuary for rescued big cats, you can learn about their environmental challenges and explore their world with specialized tours offered during the day and night, as well as special event public and private tours. There are also experiences specialized for children and parties. Big Cat Rescue is a favorite of celebrity guests including Harrison Ford, Leonardo DeCaprio, Bo Derek, the New York Yankees baseball team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jersey Boys. A trip to Big Cat Rescue can be an adventure that will make memories to last a lifetime.
The Florida Aquarium
701 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
There is so much to see and do at The Florida Aquarium, every day is an adventure in discovery. The Wetlands Trail is an ecological wonder filled with birds, reptiles and otters showcased in their natural habitat. Coral Reef offers an up-close view of the hidden wonders and beauty of the ocean, complete with a simulated dive. There are also shark and penguin exhibits, a Water Fun Zone and a Swim with the Fishes experience. Summer Fun Nights events run through August 8 and include live Mermaid shows and a Wild Dolphin Cruise.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
6131 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, FL 34606
Take a boat ride down the Weeki Wachee River where Florida manatees are often spotted floating peacefully in the clear, shallow waters. There are also animal shows, a water park, live mermaid shows and diving areas for the entire family to enjoy. This world famous park is also the site of film and television productions, including National Geographic and Animal Planet. Learn about nature, animals and our environment at an affordable price, all less than an hour from downtown Tampa Bay. Special events happen year round, including a special River Cruise, Animal Show and Fish Tales Mermaid Show on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
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Maryann Tobin is an award-winning writer based in Tampa, Florida. She has appeared on the History Channel’s ‘DECODED’ series, and her investigative reporting on animal welfare issues led to a WTSP 10 News Investigators report. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.