A new era is dawning for ZooTampa at Lowry Park. The longtime Tampa Bay institution is planning a $125 million expansion that would surely to transform the feel of the park over the next 20 years.
Notably, the zoo’s plans include adding a link to the Hillsborough River, allowing explorers young and old to arrive via water taxi. The riverfront connection would be integrated into a new South American-themed realm — complete with sea lions, giant river otters, jaguars, and other wildlife. The zoo would also add entertainment, retail, and dining options to the zone for visitors and the public alike to enjoy on the Riverwalk.
The plans also include a new Manatee Rescue that will educate Tampanians on the gentle giants. Large glass panels will allow vsitors to take in the teams’ rescue work in real time and watch our fellow mammals as they recover. Plus, the zoo plans to stock the realm’s “riverbank oasis” with lots of jellyfish and playful otters.
Visitors will also interact with stingrays in a new habitat next fall. Guests will touch and feed stingrays while the marine life swim and, even better, wade into the pool to see the creatures up close.
ZooTampa also plans to reimagine both the Africa and Asia realms of the current complex by expanding the habitats and adding endangered species like Malayan tigers, Masai giraffes, and white rhinos.
Leaders predict the expansion will boost Hillsborough County’s economic activity by 42 percent (to $274 million) and bring in almost $1 million in additional tax revenue annualy.
Read more about the upcoming plans here.