Our Future

Exciting Plans for Our Future Transformation

a multi-year vision aiming to continuously and gradually add new realms and immersive wildlife experiences across multiple habitats over the next 20 years

As Florida’s most attended cultural institution and recognized leader in wildlife conservation, including our renowned work in the rescue and rehabilitation of Florida’s manatees, we are raising funds for a planned $125 million transformation, which will progressively increase opportunities for friends and families to form lasting connections with animals, expand public education initiatives, and drive local and regional economic growth.

The Zoo’s transformation began earlier this year with the opening of Florida Wilds, featuring expanded habitats for endangered and threatened native species, and moves forward in four areas: Manatee Rescue, South America, Africa, and Asia.

Manatee Rescue

As the home of the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center, the largest non-profit and one of only four critical care centers in the world, the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of Florida’s iconic species has been at the heart of our mission for more than 20 years. The new Manatee Rescue (opening January 2026) will be an innovative multi-dimensional environment that will immerse guests in the manatee’s world, the state’s fragile marine ecosystem; from rivers, to the intracoastal, to the Gulf. The area will offer unforgettable moments of education and eye-level viewing with manatees as guests witness the real-time life-saving work taking place every day to save these gentle sea cows. Importantly, this newly designed area will expand the capacity of the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center with the addition of acute care and nursery pools for the direst patients (opening Fall 2023).

Manatee Rescue will also feature graceful jellies floating weightlessly with the current and a riverbank oasis home to playful otters that will glide by so closely that families will feel like they are swimming alongside them. Stingray Shores (opening Fall 2023), a newly reimagined interactive habitat, will give guests a chance to touch and feed stingrays while they swim carefree, and also offer a truly unforgettable opportunity for the more adventurous visitors to wade into the water for a rare up-close-and-personal encounter with these amazing animals!

Click or tap a photo to enlarge it in our gallery view.

“As our world-class Tampa Bay community continues to evolve, we will raise the bar on distinctive and interactive conservation experiences with the potential to engage and inspire future generations.”

-President and CEO Joe Couceiro.

South America

In collaboration with the City of Tampa, we are developing plans to expand to the Hillsborough River, creating a new realm connecting Tampa to its cultural roots. Guests will encounter multiple South American species including sea lions, giant river otters, jaguars, and a variety of other rarely seen wildlife. The expansion will also offer a new way of getting to the Zoo itself – via water taxis!

The South America realm will include a vibrantly themed entertainment, retail, dining and nature district in Lowry Park that renovates green spaces and multiplies public access, allowing more of the riverfront to be enjoyed by local residents and Zoo visitors alike.

Click or tap a photo to enlarge it in our gallery view.

“ZooTampa is a community treasure, and we look forward to reviewing the parts of the proposed expansion that requires City of Tampa approval.”

– Nicole Travis, Tampa’s administrator for Development and Economic Opportunity.


The reimagined Africa realm will feature expanded habitats that create a new experience on every visit and reinforces our commitment to the care and protection of species in peril.

At ground level, guests will see red river hogs in their natural environment. A higher climb will bring them side-by-side with mighty gorillas and ultimately, high in the treetops, safely face-to face with a variety of playful primates. The realm will also feature multiple-species habitats that bring together endangered African elephants, Masai giraffes, and white rhinos, and a unique opportunity for guests to sleep within the roar of the king of the jungle.

Click or tap a photo to enlarge it in our gallery view.

“Our plans will energize the community, improving the quality of life for neighbors and area residents. As ZooTampa embarks on an even more extraordinary future, we remain committed to transforming with the resilient Tampa Bay community, creating worldclass zoological experiences, providing the highest standards in animal care, and inspiring action to be responsible stewards of the natural world.”

-President and CEO Joe Couceiro.


The transformed Asia realm will immerse guests amid the habitats of some of the world’s most endangered species. Featuring stunning overhead paths that blur the line between guests and animals, the area provides new unforgettable–and safe–ways to connect with wildlife such as Bornean orangutans and Malayan tigers.

A rendering of ZooTampa's plan for expanding habitats in the Asia realm.

We have been engaging our neighbors and members about the project, including inviting representation from the Zoo’s nearest neighbors in focus groups and broader community surveys. Feedback has been positive, seeing the project as a vibrant rejuvenation to the historical Lowry Park Central and Seminole Heights areas, advancing economic development for small business owners, and improving neighborhood safety, traffic flow and beautification. Further neighborhood meetings are planned, as well as opportunities for local residents to share thoughts and stay up to date with developments. 

The Zoo’s transformation promises to be a boom for the local economy, bringing more jobs and tourism dollars to the community while enhancing the beauty of Tampa’s natural areas. The proposed expansion would enhance the riverfront and boost the direct economic activity of Hillsborough County by 42 percent, to $274 million, and bring in nearly $1 million in additional tax dollars for the county annually.

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Please review our booking tips before continuing

1. Please make one field trip per reservation order. Complete one and start a new one if you have multiple days you are booking.

2. Headcount can be approximate. Please include children and adults in your headcount. Please do not include pass holders in your headcount for a ticket.

3. On the ticket page, choose the correct grade level (to the left of your screen) to receive the correct chaperone ratio.

4. On the ticket page, when on the calendar section, the number of tickets available will appear in the top right corner for each particular day. Tickets available include children and adults. If you have more people than tickets available, please choose another day.

5. Anyone that is ordering lunch, even pass holders and adults that receive free chaperone tickets, do need to pay for a lunch IF they are ordering one. Free chaperone tickets and pass holders are for admission only.

Boxed lunch orders must be received 5 business days prior to your field trip arrival. Groups will be responsible for all boxed lunches that were confirmed at that time.

6. Payment does not need to be paid at the time of registration. Choose the pay upon arrival option if you would like one person to pay for your entire trip on the day of your visit.

7. The prices of adult and children’s tickets are different.

8. You will receive a confirmation number and confirmation letter via email when your trip is confirmed. If you do not, please contact Jamie.Elkington@Zootampa.org right away.

Outside Food & Drinks Policy

ZooTampa at Lowry Park offers a variety of delicious food for guests at several restaurants and concession stands throughout, but we understand that guests may need to bring outside food for special dietary needs. Acceptable and prohibited food items are listed below. For the convenience of our guests, there is a picnic area located outside the park near the main parking lot.

 Acceptable Items
  • Bottled water (max 20oz bottle, sealed) one per guest
  • Small snacks for young children
  • Baby food/baby formula
  • Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep (limit one per child)
  • Pre-purchased empty ZooTampa souvenir cups
  • Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
 Prohibited Items
  • Prepared or packaged food or meals
  • Alcohol
  • Glass or any open containers or water bottles filled with beverages
  • Hard-sided coolers of any size
  • Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep
  • Suitcases and soft-sided bags with wheels larger than 24” long x 15” wide x 18” high

Prohibited Items

For the safety of our animals, guests and employees, the following items are not permitted to be brought into ZooTampa:

  • Any type of explosive or weapon 
  • Knives or other sharp objects
  • Pepper spray
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Marijuana
  • Illegal drugs
  • Straws
  • Clothing likely to create a danger or disturbance
  • Any hazardous items or materials

The following items are also prohibited to avoid blocking of walkways and/or trip hazards:

  • Segways
  • Hover boards
  • Two-wheeled scooters
  • Self-balancing electric vehicles
  • Shoes with wheels
  • Drones
  • Hard-sided coolers of any size
  • Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep
  • Suitcases and soft-sided bags with wheels larger than 24” long x 15” wide x 18” high

Please leave any unnecessary articles secured within your vehicle to expedite your entry into the park.

We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone not observing Zoo Rules.

Pay For A Day Tickets

With a new Pay For A Day, Rest of Year Free ticket – for a limited time – you get unlimited admission through December 31, 2024 including access to our seasonal event series. Some blockout dates apply — see below for details. Not valid with any other discounts.

When does my Pay For A Day ticket expire?

Pay for a Day Get the Rest of the Year Free tickets purchased in October, November, or December of 2023, are valid from the day of purchase until 12/31/2024. Any Pay For a Day Get the Rest of the Year Free tickets purchased prior to October 1, 2023 expire on 12/31/2023.

What are the blockout dates?

11/24/23 – 11/26/23
12/26/23 – 12/31/23
3/9/24 – 3/17/24
11/24/24 – 11/26/24
12/26/24 – 12/31/24

Blockout dates apply to admission before 4:00 PM on the above dates.

Can I purchase a Pay For A Day ticket on a blockout date?

Yes! You can purchase a Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free ticket for first-time use on a listed blockout date and have full access to the park on that day. Blockout dates apply to repeat visitation.

Can I use my Pay For A Day ticket on blockout dates? If you already have your Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free ticket and wish to visit during a listed blockout date, please stop by the Zoo’s ticketing windows for alternate options:
  1. During blockout periods, Pay For A Day ticket holders have access to significantly discounted single-day tickets.*
  2. For a limited time from the date of purchase, Pay For A Day tickets can be upgraded to a Zoo Membership (with no blockout dates).
I purchased a Pay For A Day ticket online. How do I get my actual ticket?

Bring a copy of your confirmation (or show the confirmation email on your mobile device) to expedite entry into the Zoo. At your convenience during your visit you can stop by the Tours & Guest Services kiosk located just inside the Zoo to print your physical pass. No need to stand in line at the ticket windows. Walk right in!
Still have questions? Email us or call (813) 935-8552 ext. 0.