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Traveling with Autism: Lowry Tampa Zoo

Our son, Bryce, is ten years old and has become increasingly more interested in visiting places with animals. In the past six months, his room has filled up with LARGE size stuffed animals which include a 5' giraffe, 3' elephant, and the largest dolphin and orca whale available at Sea World!

We are going to begin blogging about our travels, so we can share our experiences with other families who have been touched by autism. Hopefully, it will provide helpful insights

that will be beneficial when others are planning their travels.

Lowry Tampa Zoo is one of my personal favorites. Bryce also loves to visit this zoo. Although we live on the other side of the state of Florida, it's always a fun time and worth the three hour trip. Tampa has other kid-friendly things to do, and we also have several friends that we visit when we are in the area.

What are my top five reasons to visit Lowry Tampa Zoo?

  1. Bornean Orangutans - They never fail to make me smile!

  2. Regular day admission price includes free visits through the end of the year with a handful of blackout dates. Guests can pay a small additional fee if they want to attend on a blackout date.

  3. The park is well shaded and has cooling fans and mist water sprays throughout the park to help with the heat and humidity, when needed.

  4. Different interactive experiences can be purchased at this zoo. Bryce fed an Indian rhino during our prior visit! I was hoping to encounter the clouded leopard who is featured this month (April 2024), but he was not available that day. I like the fact that their adventures change, so it gives us new opportunities each time.

  5. We found an exit that does not require us to walk through the gift shop to go leave!

More importantly, what are Bryce's top five favorites at Lowry Tampa Zoo? ☺

  1. Australia - This area has a new expanded splash-pad area! As we left, he told us it felt like Heaven and followed up with the question "Will God have a splash pad for me in Heaven?"

  2. Carousel Circle - Bryce loves the soothing feeling received from the up-and-down motion accompanied by calming music. We were able to get him to the next adventure after two rides this visit, but he would have continued to ride it again and again.

  3. Africa - Giraffes, Elephants, Southern White Rhinos, and African Penguins are his favorites in this section of the zoo. His Auntie Sue's favorite animal is the elephant, so Bryce loves them, too. He always wants us to take pictures and videos to send to Auntie Sue. We saw a baby elephant and a baby southern white rhinoceros this visit which was a special surprise for us!

  4. Primates - A trio of siamangs put on a swinging show for us this visit! Bryce was fully engaged for 20-30 minutes while we watched them play. The orangutan family went into hiding shortly after we arrived, so we were happy that the siamangs were in a playful mood.

  5. Asia - During our last two visits, the Bengal tigers were a favorite animal for Bryce to see. There was a sign that the tigers were not available to see the day of our visit. This was unusual, so I want to still list them as a favorite sight at this zoo.

This zoo has a small roller coaster in the Australia area designed for kids. Bryce has significant sensitivity to sounds, so he did not want to try to roller coaster this time. Oddly enough, he road this coaster during our last visit while wearing his headphones. He loved it! He also just road a roller coaster at our county fair several weeks ago. We have noticed that his relationship with rides is very unpredictable, so we just roll whichever direction he's going.

This park is laid out well. We were able to visit everything on our list and give Bryce plenty of play time in the water area within our two hours at the zoo. Taking into consideration past visits and the opportunity to return for free by the end of the year, two hours at the zoo is plenty for our little family.

If you have any specific questions about this zoo, please reach out to us via email ( or through our website (

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