On select evenings through the end of the year, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo becomes a winter wonderland with lights, holiday themed entertainment, and sweet treats at Christmas in the Wild. The zoo recently granted us free admission to check out the event; all opinions are our own.
The zoo is decorated with a number of lights, trees, and other holiday themed items. The main pathway from the entrance to the carousel has the most lights and a number of Christmas trees, including one that stands at 50 feet, with lights that dance along to favorite holiday tunes.
Santa’s Village is located near the front of the park where guests can meet the big guy, and also enjoy some photo ops like the poinsettia wall.
Wallaroo Station becomes Holiday Hoedown, and part of the Africa section becomes Candy Cane Lane, and both also have a large number of lights and other decor. Elsewhere in the park the decor is a little more sparse, with some sections having no holiday lights at all. Polar Paradise, just past the carousel heading towards the Africa section, does have an artificial snow machine and a blower that spreads it out across the whole pathway. On cold nights such as the ones this past weekend, it really does feel like snow falling.
Keep an eye out for special holiday themed entertainment across the zoo. The wild part of Christmas in the Wild comes in to play with a variety of special animal encounters and presentations as well. Pick up a guide on your way in – there’s something going on pretty much every half hour throughout the evening.
Several special food booths are set up as part of the event, and they all participate in the Holiday Dining Plan. With the plan, you pre-pay to get either 15 or 30 points, and each menu item has a point value assigned. We found most items to be in the 3 to 5 point range. Unfortunately at most of the stands we stopped at, there was some confusion as to how to ring up the items. At one location that featured hot chocolate, we were told they were out and directed to a nearby concession. But at that stand, hot chocolate was seemingly the only item not available with the Dining Plan card. We would suggest skipping the Dining Plan option and just paying out of pocket as you go. Zoo members do get a discount on the Dining Plan or when purchasing items a la carte.
Check out a few scenes from Christmas in the Wild at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo:
If You Go…
Christmas in the Wild
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
December 15-17, 21-23, & 26-30
Starting at 4 p.m.
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