Zoo staff use several tools to keep animals engaged, entertained, and cool despite the sweltering Florida heat
TAMPA, Fla. (June 28, 2023) – Summer temperatures reaching the upper 90s are being felt across the Tampa Bay area and the team at ZooTampa at Lowry Park is finding ways to keep its animals cool amid the surging heat.
The Zoo’s animal care professionals have added cooling activities to the animals’ daily behavioral-based enrichment program. As essential to the well-being of the Zoo’s residents as proper nutrition and veterinary care, enrichment stimulates each animal physically and mentally, yielding the opportunity to engage in species-appropriate behavior within a dynamic environment.
Throughout the year, guests can observe various species interacting with numerous enrichment items ranging from barrels and boxes to boomer balls and puzzle feeders. Sometimes enrichment encourages animals to traverse their habitats in new ways, perhaps exploring newly added logs or branches.
Food enrichment is always popular and is also a tool the Zoo’s care team uses to keep the animals cool during these sweltering summer months. From water playtime for orangutans to buckets of ice for the otters, the Zoo’s Nutrition Center is constantly busy creating frozen treats and activities that provide ZooTampa’s animals with welcome refreshment. Other summer enrichment items include sprinklers, pools, and mud wallows. Daytime access to air-conditioned night houses also ensures the animals have the option to chill out behind -the-scenes.
VIDEO & PHOTOS here (features orangutan water play, otter ice tub, sun bear ice toy, red river hog ice treat, panther frozen popsicles, & sound bite from Tiffany Burns, Sr. Director of Animal Programs)
About ZooTampa at Lowry Park: ZooTampa at Lowry Park is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in conservation, education, recreation, and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is recognized as Florida’s leading and most attended zoological cultural institution. ZooTampa is an eleven-time winner of the Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Award (2010-2022), ranking us among the top 10% of attractions worldwide. A winner of 2021 Best of Tampa and is a leader in the rehabilitation and care of Florida species. The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa and is open seven days a week (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours for select events. For more information, visit www.zootampa.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.