All About Storks

By Animal Care Professional Marcus Kowitz


[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

African Open-billed Stork

This particular species stands 3-feet-tall and is characterized by its all-black plumage with hints of iridescence found on the feathers, especially on the chest. They get their name from their uniquely shaped beak, which helps to acquire food. African Open-billed Storks can remove snails with their beaks without even breaking the shell! These storks are currently classified as near-threatened due to habitat destruction and pesticides. In the wild, Open-billed Storks can be found through central Africa in rivers and swampy areas. At ZooTampa, our Open-billed Stork can be found in the large free-flight aviary near the Manatee Fountain.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Yellow-billed Stork

This stork is commonly found throughout Eastern Africa. They are mostly white with a red face and a large yellow beak. A fun fact about this species is that traces of pink coloration appear on their wings during breeding season. While most birds rely on their vision to hunt, yellow-billed storks use their sense of touch instead. They will wade through the shallows with their beak slightly open, swinging it back and forth through the water. When something touches their beak, they will snap it closed lightning fast and eat whatever they catch whole – woah! This species in particular have legs that appear to have a chalky look to them, this is due to the urates they deposit on their legs to help cool down their body during extreme heat. The water left behind evaporates and helps draw heat away, similar to how sweat helps us cool off! Although their conservation status is considered as least concern, populations have declined over the recent year due to poaching and habitat destruction. The yellow-billed storks at ZooTampa can currently be seen in our Sulawesi Aviary on the Asian boardwalk.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Wood Stork

This stork is North America’s only native stork species and can be found primarily in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. This species can also be found throughout Central America, the Caribbean and South America. Wood Storks are sometimes referred to by their nicknames (‘Wood Ibis’ or ‘Flinthead’) due to their unique beak shape and shiny scales that appear on their head and neck. Wood Storks live in swampy areas usually near water, where they feed on all sorts of aquatic animals. This species is currently classified as threatened due to habitat destruction, pesticides and disruption of natural hydrological processes, usually because of agriculture. Native Wood Storks can be seen throughout ZooTampa, around the Florida Boardwalk and Safari Africa.


Please review our booking tips before continuing

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, 2023 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?

For a limited time, new Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free tickets are valid from the day of purchase until 12/31/2023 Pay for a Day, Rest of Year Free tickets which were purchased prior to October 1st, 2022 are valid until 12/31/2022.

What are the blockout dates?

3/11/23 – 3/19/23
11/24/23 – 11/26/23
12/26/23 – 12/31/23

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.