I mentioned earlier on that I will begin a Focus Post series called Transit Staycations. This series will profile various tourist sites that you can easily get to by using public transit. For my inaugural post; I will talk briefly about Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and how you can get there using the HART bus system.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is a non profit zoo that has been around since 1957 and was recently rated #1 on the top 10 Best Zoos for Kids list by Parents Magazine. The zoo is located on the corner of Sligh Ave and North Boulevard in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa, and is open each day from 9:30am to 5:00pm (though the zoo is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). Over the years, I’ve had a few opportunities to visit Lowry Park Zoo and witness all of its wonderful animals! From Elephants to Owls, Manatees to Koalas; Lowry Park Zoo has eight themed exhibits on 56 acres with over 1,500 animals! At first glance, you may think that the zoo is small, but on the inside, it’s actually a very good size facility.
One of my favorite exhibits is the Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center, where you can view manatees, as well as a wide variety of fish and other aquatic life. I’ve always had a love for manatees and am always saddened when I hear that a manatee has been injured. Lowry Park Zoo’s wonderful manatee hospital is the only non profit manatee hospital in the world and has cared for nearly 300 manatees, according to the zoo’s website. Other exhibits include Wallaroo Station, an interactive family-friendly, Australian-themed area where kids can play in a water/splash area, feed goats, watch koalas and wallabies, and much, much more!
The Lowry Park Zoo website has all of the up-to-date information on exhibits, ticket prices, special events, and more. Single day admission tickets are very reasonably priced and annual passes are also available. All ticketing information can be accessed through the zoo’s website. Because Lowry Park Zoo is a non profit zoo, it relies heavily on donations. If you would like to make a donation to the zoo, click here for more information.
In addition to the zoo, Lowry Park also encompasses a city-operated park located across North Boulevard, by the Hillsborough River. The park is equipped with boat ramps, picnic tables, grills, and even a riverfront trail that is perfect for a morning jog.
Lowry Park Zoo is easily accessible from all points in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and Manatee counties. If you use I-275, you will need to exit at Sligh Ave (Exit 48) and proceed approximately 3/4 of a mile until you reach the corner of North Boulevard and Sligh Ave. Signs will point you to the zoo entrance. Parking is free by the way!
- If you’re coming from South Tampa/MacDill, you can use Route 36 (Dale Mabry Hwy) and transfer to Route 41 at the West Tampa Transfer Center. Please note that during events at Raymond James Stadium, the West Tampa Transfer Center will be closed. During these times, buses will transfer from a temporary location at Gomez Ave & St. Isabel St, a few blocks away from the transfer center.
- If you’re coming from the WestShore Business District, you can use Route 45 from WestShore Plaza. Since Route 45 stops at the West Tampa Transfer Center, please be aware of detours caused by stadium events (which I noted in the last bullet).
- If you’re coming from the Town-N-Country area, you can use Route 16 (Waters Ave) and transfer to Route 45 at North Boulevard. However, Route 16 does not operate on Sundays. You can also use Route 39 (Busch Blvd) and transfer to Route 45 at North Boulevard.
- If you’re coming from the USF/Temple Terrace area, you can use Route 45 from the University Area Transit Center (UATC).
- If you’re coming from Carrollwood/Lutz, you can use Route 33 (Fletcher Ave) and transfer to Route 45 at the UATC.
- If you’re coming from East Tampa, Brandon, and other points in eastern or southern Hillsborough County, please check with HART as to which routes you’ll need to use. For instance, if you reside in around the NetPark Transfer Center (formerly Eastlake Square Mall), you can use Route 41. Brandon commuters will need to use Route 37 (Brandon/NetPark) to transfer to Route 41 at NetPark.
For the latest transit information, please visit HART’s website or call 813-254-4278.