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Amusement Parks: Lowry Park Zoo – a Potted History

The Lowry Park Zoo is an amusement park located in Tampa, Florida which originally opened in 1957. 

When the amusement park first opened, it shared its space with another amusement attraction called ‘Fairyland’ where concrete statues were used to depict different nursery rhymes and fairy tales. At the time, the amusement park itself only housed a small collection of exotic animals. Over the next few decades, however, other attractions and additional rides were added as well as an increasing number of wildlife species. By the 1980s, the amusement park had added a small rollercoaster, a kiddies’ train, a Skyride and several other rides for young children. Unfortunately, the amusement park as an attraction was outgrowing its space to the extent that the zoo element of the amusement park had become far too cramped and was in desperate need of repair and renovation. This led to immense criticism from the Humane Society which ultimately led to a complete reconstruction of the entire amusement park, including its zoo, in the mid-1980s.

The totally revamped zoo and amusement park reopened in 1988 and from once being described as “one of the worst zoos in America”, in 2004, it was voted the Number 1 Family Friendly Zoo in the entire USA by Child Magazine. The amusement park has also been recognised as a ‘centre for Florida wildlife conservation and biodiversity’ by the State of Florida.

Today, the zoo at the amusement park has several programmes aimed at protecting threatened and endangered species, including a hospital for injured Florida manatees with the aim of rehabilitating them and then returning them to the wild.

The zoo at the amusement park also features more Florida species than any other zoo in the state and includes alligators, deer, Florida panther, crocodiles, flamingos, river otters and many other species. As well as native Florida wildlife, other areas of the amusement park include Safari Africa and the Asian Domain where you can see native species of both continents including African elephants, giraffe, meerkats, Sumatran tigers and Indian rhino.

The amusement park also features a number of rides. The latest ride, Gator Falls, is a log flume ride which opened in 2008 and features a 30 foot drop, carrying riders above its albino alligator exhibit. The amusement park also has a merry-go-round, a mini roller coaster, a skyride and both pony and camel rides.

See also:
Amusement Parks: West Midlands Safari Park – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: The Flambards Experience – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Theatre of the Sea – a Potted History

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