The Bond of a Mom & Baby

MOM. It is a word that makes us think of someone who loves us unconditionally, and who is always there for us. For our babies in Primate realm of  ZooTampa at Lowry Park, it is no different. Watching the interactions between our moms and their babies, it is easy to see the strong bonds that exist between them. Each one is special and different in their own way, and this is evident in the different personalities exhibited by each of the babies.

The Bornean orangutan family is made up of 8 – Goyang, DeeDee, Dira, RanDee, Josie, Gojo, Hadiah, and Topi. DeeDee is the mother of both RanDee and 4-month-old, Dira. For the first few months of their lives, baby orangutans cling to their mother constantly, and Dira is just approaching the age where she wants to explore her surroundings. You can see Dira reach out and touch the other orangutans, or attempting to taste whatever foods DeeDee is eating. Dira doesn’t have any teeth at the moment, but she is showing signs that her first teeth are emerging. She will have “baby teeth” until approximately 6 years of age and then her permanent teeth will grow in. Dira also spends lots of time watching the other older orangutan babies, and is eager to try to do all the things they are doing. DeeDee is a very patient mother, and encourages Dira to practice her climbing skills, and shares her banana peels with Dira so that she can use them for teething. As Dira grows and becomes more independent, she will start to have play sessions with her older sister, RanDee. This will not only help Dira build her muscles and perfect her social skills, it will also help prepare RanDee for the day when she becomes a mom with a baby of her own.

The older babies in the group, Gojo and Topi, are both 2 years old.  They are larger and stronger than Dira, and are capable of climbing all around the habitat all on their own. The older of the two is baby boy, Gojo and he is the most adventurous of the babies. He is often seen climbing at the very top of the habitat, or making his way down to the ground to forage for food. His mother is Josie and is a great mom. She has a way of instilling independence into her kids at an early age, but is always nearby if Gojo ever needs her. However, she lets him explore and try to do new things without her help. Topi is the younger of the two and isn’t quite as independent as Gojo. Her mom, Hadiah, is a first time mom and is much more protective over Topi as a result. She keeps Topi close to her most of the time, and isn’t as eager as Josie to let her venture off on her own. Topi is a very strong willed little girl, and will push the limits to see how far Hadiah will let her go. Under Hadith’s watchful eye, she will climb as high as she can or swing on the nearest swing. Topi loves to play with Gojo, and will soon have another playmate once Dira is old enough to join them.

The bond between the orangutan mothers and their babies is one of the strongest in the world.  The babies are completely dependent on their mom for the first several years of life, remaining in very close physical contact with her throughout this time. Mom teaches them everything they need to know to survive and grow up to be a strong, healthy orangutan. This includes everything from what foods to eat to how to build a nest every night to sleep in. A baby orangutan will stay with its mother up to 9 years before it is ready to become independent. That is quite a commitment from mom!

This Mother’s Day weekend, please join us at ZooTampa as we participate in the annual MOM (Missing Orangutan Mothers) campaign to raise awareness of the threats faced by wild orangutans. There are 3 species of orangutans in the world, and all three are Critically Endangered due to loss of habitat, poaching, and the illegal pet trade.  As habitats are destroyed for the development of Palm Oil plantations, orangutans are driven out of areas that were once their homes. Mothers are often poached, and their babies are taken to be sold in the illegal pet trade. The lucky ones are rescued and taken to rehabilitation centers, with the hope of one day being able to return to the wild. There are currently more than 1,000 orphaned orangutans being cared for in rehabilitation centers in Borneo and Sumatra.  However, without their mom, it is very difficult and time consuming to teach them everything they need to know to survive. If it takes an orangutan mother up to 9 years to teach her baby all it needs to know, imagine how difficult this task is for human caregivers. Our orangutan babies at ZooTampa are very fortunate to have such wonderful moms watching over them every day. Your gracious support of ZooTampa helps support the conservation efforts working to save those orangutans in the wild and the daily care of the Bornean orangutan here at the Zoo.

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.