Category Archives: Lowry Park Zoo – Tampa

Look at all the babies!

My buddy Tom M. suggested that we go by the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida.  You may remember this post I wrote about it back in 2013.  I haven’t been since then and haven’t kept up with what’s going on there.  So I was surprised to spot this pair way in the back when we visited the Orangutans:

Baby Orangutan and Mom are both a little sleepy.Baby Orangutan and Mom are both a little sleepy

Baby GoJo is less than a month old – born on Dec. 21, 2015 to Josie, a 30-year-old Bornean Orangutan.  You can read more about them including info on the zoo’s Orangutan conservation efforts at their website:    www.lowryparkzoo.org/about/newsroom/2015/12/29/santa-baby…

Next we wandered over to see the Chimpanzees and immediately saw another very cute young one scampering about:

Baby Chimp and foster MomBaby Chimp and foster Mom

This one’s name is Keeva, and she was born on March 12, 2015 in a Maryland zoo. When her birth mother was unable to care for her, they brought her to Tampa where she’s been  adopted by Abby.  Abby has a lot of experience successfully fostering orphan chimps and was specifically picked to care for Keeva.  It was wonderful to see the youngster thriving with her foster Mom.  You can read more of this story at the Maryland zoo site, which also talks about their chimp conservation efforts:  www.marylandzoo.org/2015/05/keeva/

After seeing these two small ones, I started looking for others.  Next, I spotted a baby white Rhino.  Ahati was born at the zoo on May 21, 2015 to Alaka.
www.lowryparkzoo.org/animals/southern-white-rhinoceros

Baby Rhino and MomBaby Rhino and Mom

And there are two young elephants.  Mpumi was born on Dec 23, 2012 and was there the last time I visited.  Mavi was born on July 29, 2013 – I think that’s who this is.

Baby Elephant and MomBaby Elephant and Mom

We also saw a Zebra foal (Penda, born November23, 2015) and her Mom, although my long distance photo through two fences isn’t very good.  When I got home, I did the research I should have done before I went and found out there are other babies there that we didn’t spot.  Check out the Lowry Park Zoo’s baby page for more info.

If you like zoos and babies (who doesn’t like babies?) – now is a great time to visit the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida.  While I sometimes have mixed feeling about zoos, this one seems very deserving of our support.  The animals appear well cared for and they’re doing important work in conservation of endangered animals such at the ones pictured in this post.  For a limited time, you can pay for a one day pass and use it during the rest of the year.  See here for details.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, Florida

Intro / Description

I’ve wanted to visit the Lowry Park zoo in Tampa, Florida for a long time.  I finally made it over there for the first time last week with fellow Photography Interest Group member Tom M.

This non-profit zoo opened in 1957.  It’s 56 acres in size and houses more than 1500 animals including many native Florida species.  There are eight major areas in the zoo, divided into typical habitats.  Some of them are quite large and natural and there are also free flight aviaries with a variety of birds to interact with.

Hornbill
A Sulawesi Tarictic Hornbill at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida

We spent a good bit of time in “Primate World” watching the family of Orangutans.  The young one (I think this is RanDee, born in August 2008) was full of energy, swinging all around on the platforms and ropes.  The adults watched her with very human-like  “where does she get the energy” looks.  Finally, RanDee rested for a bit behind her mom (DeeDee).

Resting behind mom
Resting behind mom – A young orangutan rests after play.

Parents.com has rated this zoo #1 for kids in the US based on the strength of its educational programs, safety, hands on exhibits and other factors.  But I rate it highly for photographers too – based on the many available, close and unobstructed views.  One example is the Giraffe feeding station.  You can buy food for the kids to give to the Giraffes, but if you’re a photographer, you can stand to the side and photograph the animals from very close range.  There are also a number of children’s rides at the zoo.  These can be great family photo ops – so don’t forget to use your camera there.

Info for Photographers

Hours are 9:30 to 5, every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas and admission is $24.95 for adults, which is a relative bargain when compared to theme parks costs.   Parking is plentiful, close and free.  I think many of the photo-ops are even better than at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (and cheaper too).

Their photography policy is fairly standard:  photos / video are permitted “for personal use”.  Permission is required in advance if your photos or video will be used for commercial purposes.

Eye contact
Eye contact – A Mandrill evaluates my camera technique.  And doesn’t seem to like it.

Photo hints:

Travel as light as you can, you’ll be walking a good bit.

Tripod/Monopod:  I didn’t see any signs allowing or prohibiting tripods and I didn’t see anyone using one.  I usually leave mine at home for zoo visits, since it’s easy to find something to prop your camera on to steady it, and using a tripod when it’s crowded can block other visitors.

Lenses:

A moderate to long (or all in one) zoom would be the best single lens to bring.  At this zoo, you can sometimes get quite close to many of the animals so a shorter focal length is handy too.

Best time to visit:

If you’re a Florida resident, you already know that the cool time of the year is best for outdoor parks.  Arrive as early in the day as possible.  You’ll beat some of the crowds and the animals are more active then.

Other:

A few of the animals are behind glass, so you might want to bring a polarizing filter – although you can probably make do by placing your lens right up against the glass to avoid reflections.  A small flash may be handy in some instances to fill in shadows.

Do a little research before you go to make sure you’re up to date on recent arrivals.  The young ones are extra fun to see.  As I watched Mpumi make her way across the elephant enclosure (closely watched by two adult females), I remarked  “cute baby”.  The woman standing next to me (holding her own infant) said “thank you”.  Her baby – which I hadn’t noticed before then, was cute too.

Baby elephant Mpumi
Baby elephant Mpumi – She was born in December 2012.

This zoo has had some controversies.  But it seems well run now and the animals appear happy and well cared for.  They’re also participating in many conservation projects and have a manatee hospital where injured animals are treated and released.

Summary

As usual, you can click on these photos to go to Flickr, where you can see larger versions.  You can also see a few more photos from the Lowry Park Zoo in this set on Flickr.

My Gallery /  Flickr photo set:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157632970940629/with/8550695583/
Website:  http://www.lowryparkzoo.com
Address / Phone: 1101 West Sligh Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604-5958
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating:  Great for the kids, photo-ops for the grown ups

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.