Lowry Park Zoo

Buggy’s spring break was a couple of weeks ago, which meant we packed the week full of fun activities.

**Side note – spring break in preschool?  Yes.  Or, you can pay $34 a day to not have spring break.  I vote spring break + free.  Thank you for family that lives close by.**

This was Bug’s spring break:
Monday: Splash pad with Nana & Great Nana
Tuesday: Beach with the Momma
Wednesday: Pool with the Momma (which lasted 5 minutes before Bug decided he was more interested in playing “bastaball” (basketball).
Thursday:  Lowry Park Zoo
Friday: Playtime at the farm with Grandma & Papa
Seriously.  Good week for a boy.

So, back to what this post is actually supposed to be about.  The zoo.  Nana & Pops took Bug & me to the zoo in Tampa.  It was awesome.   Lowry Park is geared really well towards small children.  I was a little worried that an almost-2-year-old might get a little bored, but I was way wrong.  Bug had a blast.

I was surprised and impressed at how interested Bug was in the animals.  So interested, in fact, that we couldn’t get him to look at the camera for even one picture.  All I could get was the back of his head.  We spent the couple of days prior talking about how we were going to go to the zoo and what kind of animals we were going to see there.  If you asked him what we were going to do tomorrow, he’d say “animal!”  (I normally try to spell his words the way he says them, ’cause it’s cute & funny, but he actually says that one correctly.)  If you asked him what kind of animals we were going to see, he’d start spouting off zoo animal noises… roaring like a lion, hooting like a monkey, hissing like a snake, trumpeting like an elephant.  The only problem we had was coming with a giraffe noise.  After our zoo visit, we decided that giraffes eat a lot and therefore make a chewing noise, which is awful cute to watch the Bug imitate.

So anyways, Bug loved the animals.  At each exhibit, he’d ask “up peees” for someone to pick him up so that he could see whatever animal was waiting there.  He especially loved the giraffes and the monkeys.  We got to see one Siamang swing across a rope, which was really cool. We saw lions and elephants and camels and snakes and rhinos and penguins.

There were two parts of the zoo that Bug didn’t like.  First was the lorikeets.  They are these beautiful, colorful little birds that you can feed with nectar.  You walk into their cage/home/area and hold the nectar out.  They come perch on your hand and eat away.  Bug was helping me hold some nectar and doing great, until some of the birds got in a fight over Nana’s nectar and one flew onto Bug’s head.  I’m sure it hurt, because their feet have some sharp little talons.  He freaked out, but not for long.  We didn’t leave the area right away, because we wanted him to see that it was okay.  He wasn’t crying anymore by the time we walked out, but he didn’t want to get near the birds again, either.  The other thing he didn’t like was the petting zoo.  You can walk right in and pet goats and a llama.  My kid does not like goats… just like his grandma.  He refused to pet them and got mad when I tried to pet them.  Too bad, because we really wanted to get a picture of Bug petting a llama… they are Scary Uncle Adam’s favorite.

Quite possibly Bug’s favorite part of the zoo featured, what else… WATER!  They had two different splash fountain areas and at the end of our visit, we changed Bug into his bathing suit and let him loose.  He couldn’t have been happier… or more fearless.

I have mixed feelings about zoos in general… or really about anybody who keeps large exotic animals in an enclosed space.  I won’t even go look at the tigers they bring to our local county fair.  Makes me angry.  I know that zoos like Lowry Park are trying to preserve endangered species, which is why I have mixed feelings.  One of the reasons that I love Mote Marine (the aquarium here in Sarasota) is because a majority of the large animals they house are rescues.  For the most part, they haven’t purchased creatures just for the sake of entertaining the masses.  That being said, I was pretty impressed by the enclosures at Lowry Park.  Most of them are pretty large, though certainly not large enough for the animals to run at their normals speeds for more than a moment.  The monkey enclosures have lots of climbing structure and aren’t caged in and it appears as though they have tried to replicate the natural habitats… as much as is possible in super hot & super humid Florida.

Bug is really funny when it comes to park and fairs and museums… he is normally a pretty chatty kid, but when we’re doing something with a lot going on, he gets pretty quiet.  He takes it all in.  He really pays attention to what’s going on.  I love that about him.  Needless to say, there was no nap on the way home, because Bug couldn’t stop talking about the zoo.  Apparently, his first zoo trip really sunk in, too, because that night, before bed, the only books he wanted to read were animals books.



2 thoughts on “Lowry Park Zoo

  1. We just took Sullivan to the zoo for the first time this past weekend and he loved it! The primate house and the penguins were his absolute favorite things. Your comment about the goats made me laugh. My hubby hates goats due to one school field trip where the goat ate his name tag and part of his shirt. He refuses to go anywhere near one now.

    • My brother-in-law (Scary Uncle Adam) got spit on by a llama at a petting zoo as a child and now sincerely hates them. It makes for a lot of fun for us 🙂

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