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Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is sprawled over 56 acres (22.7 hectares). It boasts of a dual distinction of being Tampa's oldest zoo as well as one of the most kid-friendly attractions in the city. Its fauna are sheltered in eight habitat zones that recreate the natural environment of the wildlife. These include the Wallaroo Station for Australian species, the Asian Gardens and Sulawesi Aviary for giant cats, and the Florida Boardwalk for native animals. Its rehabilitation and preservation programs extend well beyond the efforts of a typical zoo. Its most notable initiative is the hospital, Manatee and Aquatic Center. After an engaging day with animals, kids can delight in safari tours, bumper boats, roller coasters and pony rides. Its traveling exhibits and talk shows educate the public on environmental conservation. This venue is also ideal for camps and sleepovers. Celebrate a birthday party, business event or a wedding in style amidst wildlife.
At Busch Gardens, animals roam free and you are the outsider. You can see the park by monorail, cable car or train. Roller coasters, wild animals, entertaining shows, rides, food, shopping, sightseeing, bird shows, exotic flowers, train rides, Serengeti adventures, river rapids...the list goes merrily on. Wear comfy walking shoes and spend the day at this 300-acre park. You can even taste the Anheuser Busch brew that started it all. Busch Gardens is open year-round with varying schedules. Call or see website for details.
Seeking the refuge of the warm canal waters near the old Big Bend Power Station, manatees were seen flocking to this area. From this, the Manatee Viewing Center was born and has since been designated a habitat sanctuary for these peaceful creatures. The onsite educational center features colorful displays and exhibits along with a hurricane simulator. A butterfly garden encapsulating the centers solar panels rounds out this ecologically and environmentally friendly tourist attraction.
Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. They are home to over 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species, most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. Their dual mission is to provide the best home they can for the cats in their care and educate the public about the plight of these majestic animals, both in captivity and in the wild, to end abuse and avoid extinction.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit Aquarium dedicated to public education, animal assisted therapy, marine research and the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick or injured whales, dolphins, otters, and sea turtles. Activities include a Day with a Dolphin, Trainer for a Day, Biologist for a Day, Dolphin Encounter, and Marine Life Adventures - customizable adventures to test your wild threshold. See rescued dolphin, otters, and sea turtles. Learn about the biology and behavior of dolphins, otters, and sea turtles, how we care for sick and injured marine animals, what is happening in CMA's marine research programs, and how you can help protect and conserve these wonderful sea creatures.
At The Alligator Attraction you can get up close and personal with Florida's spookiest native. Come and feed, train and hold real live alligators. They have several foot long little gators, as well as one eight foot adult to view. While you're their you can also pay a visit to the tortoise and lizards that also call the attraction home.
Clearwater Beach is an exciting place to visit; and at Little Toot Dolphin Adventures, you can add to the excitement by cruising along in the warm Gulf waters and observing the dolphins as they swim close by and observe you. The trip schedules begin at 11am and run every two hours until 5pm, providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sun and the views and to take plenty of pictures of these inquisitive aquatic acrobats. They also have a sunset trip where you'll be able to witness a spectacular sunset panorama while dolphins frolic nearby.
Years ago, conservationist and zoologist Ralph Heath, Junior set up a non-profit organization designed to rescue, repair and rehabilitate wild birds suffering from the injuries of contemporary civilization. Pelicans with hooks in their beaks, gulls with broken wings and all the casualties of the injured bird world recover here, making this a squawking stop where birds eat from the hands of their keepers. This sanctuary will tug at your heartstrings, and if the tug's hard enough, you can adopt your own bird with a donation. Open daily 9am onwards.