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If you’re looking for a sweet, not-so-scary, kid-friendly, and fun Halloween event, head to Creatures of the Night at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.
Lowry Park Zoo, now Zoo Tampa, is consistently rated one of the best zoos in the country, by Parents magazine and many others. They are part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The zoo, in fact, has been in operation at Lowry Park since 1957.
What I love about this zoo, is the wide-open spaces and close up encounters with the animals. They focus on education and preservation throughout the park with signs and talks by animal caregivers. This is also an easy to navigate zoo, making it perfect for families with young kids. Additionally, the zoo has plenty of play areas for the small set, allowing young kids to run around and burn off some of that extra energy.
Lowry Park Zoo is part of Tampa’s City Pass. Save 52% or more on Tampa Bay’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS – Shop Now!
For their Halloween event, the zoo puts on Creatures of the Night.
Creatures of the Night
The animals are the real stars of this Creatures of the Night event. While this is an after-hours, nighttime event, I recommend getting there before the sun goes down to still get in on the animal interactions at the zoo. During the event, the zoo is open until 10 pm and offers an after 4 pm ticket.
Special animal exhibits include animal mingles with nocturnal animals. My favorite, however, was the elephant pumpkin smash. Who knew elephants enjoyed pumpkins? They take the elephants back to their overnight pens while they scatter full-size pumpkins (cut in half) throughout their area. When they opened up the gates for the elephants to return, the babies ran to the pumpkins to gobble them up… whole!
Additionally, they provide pumpkins to the Orangutans. Plus up close talks with animal handlers.
In addition to the animal encounters, family-friendly Halloween fun is scattered throughout the park. Attractions include costumed characters, decorations and indoor and outdoor dance parties.
ZooTampa isn’t the only place that does Halloween events. Check out more on my Halloween Travel article here.
For those just a bit older, who might be able to handle a friendly fright, the park has a Whispers in the Woods walk. This is the after-dark walk with scare actors hiding behind the corners. It isn’t much more than jump scares and definitely no Halloween Horror Nights, but I would not recommend this for very young children.
A beautiful photo opportunity exists in the center of the park. Slightly creepy ghosts float through the carousel area. They are beautifully dressed and even a tad tragic in their appearance.
Yummy Eats & Drinks
The zoo also works to engage adults in their after-hours events. They have a beer garden, with a nice selection of beers, as well as covered tables. They also offer a selection of fun, Halloween themed mixed drinks. I did not see wine, but I am sure it was there as well.
As for food, it’s more than your average theme park fare. Gloria and I enjoyed a mac n’ cheese bar with an enormous serving of cheesy goodness topped with whatever we choose. For larger families, a chicken and waffles bucket served four.
ZooTampa Lowry Park Zoo Events
The zoo offers seasonal events throughout the year. Coming up is the Christmas in the Wild and a Noon New Year’s Eve. If you are in the park for the day, the events are included. Additionally, an after 4 pm ticket is available at a lower price.
In town for a few days? Don’t miss the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter the Dolphin
Need a Place to Stay, check out these 6 Sunny Suncoast Family Friendly Hotels