Flamingo Love

Written by: Animal Care Professional,  Micah Carnate


Summer is rolling into the blue skies overhead with the sun’s rays penetrating with its heat.  Along with the needed warmth after this past chilly winter and spring, the afternoon thunderstorms creep in to provide cool showers for all to enjoy, especially our very own flamboyance of Caribbean Flamingos! The introduction of these rainy seasons help to signify the beginning of many journeys of love, starting a family, and creating new life for all the flamingos around the world.

The first chapter in a flamingo’s journey is to find love.  At the start of the breeding season, flamingos prepare to become the best and most attractive dancers in their colony in order to catch an eye of a potential mate.  To do this, flamingos will first go through a quick molting event in which they lose their old feathers and grow in new vibrant pink feathers that drape from their backs.  Once they have their beautiful fancy feathers all in place, the flamingos are ready to show off their passion and romance in a ritual dance consisting of synchronized marching, head-flagging (turning their heads from side to side while stretching out their necks), loud short bursts of honking, and wing-flapping to show off all of their new colorful feathers.  Through this flashy dance, a female flamingo will choose the best male in the colony and both will begin to form their lifelong bond together and embark on their next chapter – starting a family.

An essential step before producing any offspring, the flamingo parents must work together to build a mound.  Contrasting to their bright pink feathers and fancy footwork in their courtship dance, they build their unexciting mounds (or nests) out of plain mud.  Typically, when you see flamingo mounds, they look like little volcanoes standing about 1 to 2 feet high to protect their eggs from any flooding from the rains and any heat from the ground. The mounds will also dip in the middle like a shallow bowl so the egg does not roll out at any point when mom or dad are incubating it.  After their mound is perfect to their standards, the female flamingo is ready to lay an egg!

The female flamingo will only lay one egg per year and both parents will be extremely devoted to the care of their chick for the next two months.  Mom and dad flamingos will each take turns sitting on the egg for 28 to 32 days until their chick emerges.  When the chick hatches, the chick will stay in the mound hiding under mom or dad for another 5 to 12 days and it is during this short time that the parents will be feeding it a milky substance called “crop milk.”  Crop milk is type of milk produced in the flamingo’s upper digestive tract.  It is highly possible that the parents may lose their pink color in their feathers during this time because most of the nutrition is given to the chick in the crop milk; however, once the chick is ready to fledge from the nest, both parents will be able to gain their bright pink colors back. While the family is on the mound, mom and dad become territorial and fend off any other flamingos from invading their space, providing their chick the ultimate protection.

At around the 12th day after hatching, the chick becomes a fledgling and begins to explore the immediate surroundings of their mound.  Mom and dad will still be nearby to keep an eye on their chick as it learns to walk and swim.  All the fledglings in the colony will then merge into a large grouping called a crèche, in which they get socialized into the flamingo community!  At this point, mom and dad will continue to watch over the group and feed their chick when it calls for them. Flamingos are a great example of exhibiting strong family bonds because despite a crèche possibly having hundreds of fledglings, both mom and dad are able to locate their own offspring by their distinctive vocalizations.  Juvenile flamingos will continue to grow up in the same colony with their parents.  At ages 3 to 5 years old, they will become mature and eventually begin their own life journeys.


Fla-mingle with these additional facts:


  • There are a total of six flamingo species around the world: Caribbean (or American), Andean, Chilean, James (or Puna), Lesser, and Greater.
  • Flamingos are social birds and live in colonies called flamboyances. Some flamboyance populations can reach well into the thousands or even tens of thousands!
  • The largest flamingo is the Greater Flamingo standing at 4 to 4.5 ft tall and weighing between 4.5lbs to 9lbs. The smallest flamingo is the Lesser Flamingo standing at 2.5 to 3 ft tall and weighing between 3lbs to 4.5lbs.
  • Flamingos get their pink colors from a pigment called carotenoids found in some of their favorite foods such as small crustaceans and algae.
  • Although no flamingo species are considered endangered, they still have declining numbers due to habitat loss from urban development.


A Family Plus annual Zoo membership makes it easy for your family to visit our flamingo flock in the Florida realm of the Zoo! You can learn more about memberships here.



Job Fair

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 FieldTrips@ZooTampa.org right away.

Join our Summer Camp Waitlist

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Important Information

To complete your camp registration, you must:

  • Add camps to your shopping cart.
  • Enter roster information for each camp.
    • List all people that are authorized to pick-up your child from camp.
    • No camper will be released unless the adult picking up the child is on the authorized pick-up list and shows a photo ID.
  • Read and agree to the following documents:
  • Make payment.
  • Upon payment, you will receive a Confirmation Email with the above documents attached. Please print, sign, and return the Camp Waiver and Liability Release to EducationPrograms@ZooTampa.org or ZooTampa Summer Camp, c/o Jamie Elkington, 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604. All waivers MUST be received no later than 2 weeks prior to the start of your camp program or your registration is subject to cancellation.

By clicking the registration button below, I confirm that I have read and agree to the Camp Waiver and Liability Release and Camp Handbook and will print, sign, and return the Camp Waiver and Liability Release to complete my registration.

‘Tis the Season For Giving!

Donate to the ZooTampa Giving Tree

Trustees of the Lowry Park Zoological Society, Directors of the Lowry Park Zoo Endowment Foundation, and the Employees and Volunteers of ZooTampa understand and appreciate the vital role of philanthropy to accomplish our work. That’s why we subscribe to the Donor Bill of Rights developed by the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, National Society of Fund Raising Executives:

“Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes that they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

  1. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  3. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
  6. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.”

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is committed to protecting your privacy. We value the trust of our donors, volunteers, employees, and other supporters and recognize that maintaining this trust requires us to ensure the confidentiality of personal information that you share with us.

As a non-profit organization, ZooTampa relies on your support, depends on the support of generous contributors, and achieves ambitious fundraising objectives by communicating with and understanding donors. We know that it is essential to protect the privacy of that information. ZooTampa, the Lowry Park Zoological Society, and the Lowry Park Zoo Endowment Foundation will neither sell nor trade a donor’s personal information to any other entity without the written permission of the donor.


Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa, INC.: Registration No. CH140
Lowry Park Endowment Foundation, INC.: Registration No. CH20389



Phone: (800) 435-7352

Christmas in the Wild Reservation Changes

  • This can be found in your original purchase or reservation confirmation email.
  • We will do our best to accommodate your request, however changes are based on availability. A member of our team will reach out to you via the contact information provided above within 48 hours. Note: an additional fee may apply to event tickets being changed to a higher priced event night. Thank you!


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).