Plastic Free July

Written by: Katie Murray

Environmental experts estimate there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently in our ocean, with millions of tons coming from land every year. Plastic never truly degrades in the ocean, but instead continues to break down into smaller and smaller pieces that continue to add up. With Americans using an estimated 500 million plastic straws and 100 billion plastic bags each year, this is a huge problem. Disposable plastic items such as these easily end up in the ocean, where they have devastating effects on marine life. Reducing usage of all single-use plastics is a critical first step in keeping plastic out of the ocean. This is why employees here at ZooTampa are participating in the Zoos and Aquariums Plastic Free EcoChallenge and encourage YOU to join us!

The goal of the challenge is to raise awareness of the issues surrounding single-use plastic. While you can go completely plastic free, you are also encouraged to pick a few small changes you would like to make to your normal day-to-day life and log them on your EcoChallenge dashboard.

Some common lifestyle changes include:

  1. Refusing a plastic straw
  2. Bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store
  3. Using a reusable mug instead of to-go cups

Some people who already incorporate these into their everyday lives can choose to go a bit further and choose to do things like:

  1. Using bar shampoo to avoid plastic bottles,
  2. Writing to an official about reducing single-use plastic in your area
  3. Bringing a reusable container for leftovers after visiting a restaurant.

You pick the actions you’re willing to take and log them any day. There are no penalties for not participating in an action (say, if you forget your bags on your grocery trip), you simply miss out on gaining points for that day.

In 2018, ZooTampa placed 9th out of 54 teams. This year, we are aiming even higher and can use YOUR help to get there! Visit: and click “JOIN THIS TEAM”. From there you will be prompted to enter your information. Then, you will be a part of the ZooTampa organization in the ZooTampa Friends team, and will be able to choose the actions you’d like to take and start earning points starting July 1st. The ZooTampa friend with the most points by 9:00am on August 1, 2019 will receive a FREE penguin painting!* We look forward to working with you to keep plastics out of the environment!


* The penguin painting prize is being offered as a community engagement incentive for ZooTampa at Lowry Park, a not for profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, with a company address of 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, FL 33604. Eligibility is limited to adults residing in Florida ages 18 and up.  To enter, simply join the “ZooTampa Friends” team on the Plastic Free EcoChallenge website:  No purchase or contribution is required. The following are ineligible to win: non-Florida residents, employees, contractors and volunteers of ZooTampa, persons under the age of 18. The winner of the penguin painting will be based on number of points earned on the Dashboard during the EcoChallenge, with the highest point-earner being deemed the “winner”. In the event of a tie, ZooTampa reserves the right to award prized to all tied entrants, or to conduct a drawing of the tied entrants to award the prize.  ZooTampa reserves the right to make changes in the rules of the contest, including, without limitation, the substitution of a prize of equivalent value, which will become effective upon announcement or posting.  Winner agrees to allow ZooTampa to publicize participant and winner names in conjunction with the contest.  Tax consequences, if any, are the responsibility of the recipient. The prize is to be awarded/announced on August 1st, 2019. No cash value.

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 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.