Saving a Species

Saving a Species - ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Sudan, a 45-year-old Northern white rhino who lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, passed away from age-related complications on March 20th, 2018. He was the last remaining male Northern white rhino of his kind. Today, only two female Northern white rhinoceros remain in the world.

With  50 years of zoo experience, Dr. Larry Killmar is the Zoo Director for ZooTampa at Lowry Park.  In the 1970’s, he was a zookeeper at the San Diego Wild Animal Park (now called San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park).  Dr. Killmar had the privilege of working with two male and two female Northern white rhinoceros. At the time there were no Northern white rhinos in the US.

“Little was known about the reproductive history of these four animals and given the information we had, we determined they were older.  The rhinos adjusted well to the large habitat but reproductive viability was our biggest worry,” said Dr. Killmar. “Our concerns and interest in this species did not stop with these four animals.  We took an additional step to acquire a single male that was living by himself from the Khartoum Zoo. We hoped he would reproduce with our other two females, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case”.

In the early 1990’s, Dr. Killmar was asked to participate in a meeting hosted by White Oak Plantation. This meeting brought together all interested parties from the U.S. and the range countries of the species in an effort to develop a plan to save the remaining wild population.  The group met for three days, but did not come to a mutual agreement. The clock was ticking and the end of this species was near. The goal of moving 20 remaining rhinos in the wild to a safe environment in Kenya did not happen.

“We tried,” said Dr. Killmar. “All we could do is try. And we did.”

In response to the death of Sudan this week Dr. Killmar was asked to reflect on what this death signifies.

“We slowly watched a species disappear, which could have been prevented. Many species have disappeared over time and the rate of extinction is rising. There is a long-term consequence that affects each and every one of us. All animals contribute to our way of life,” said Dr. Killmar. “We are not in the position to pick and choose what species disappears next. If we dig deep, we can see the connection of each animal to each other and to us.”

“Our mission at the Zoo is to support local and global conservation initiatives. Our job is to tell these stories and educate guests on the perils animals face in the wild. Our goal is to inspire guests to take an action of conservation and to connect them to these incredible species.  Our hope is that other animals don’t suffer the same tragic fate of the Northern white rhinoceros.”

It is up to us, to end extinction. You can join us in our mission of conservation in the following ways:

  1. Reduce, reuse and recycle!
  2. Buy sustainable seafood.
  3. Be a conscious shopper and purchase products that are made with sustainable palm oil.
  4. Donate to the Zoo here:
  5. Adopt a Zoo animal here:
  6. Visit the Zoo – every dollar, every ticket, every membership makes a difference!

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.