One of the planet’s most beloved animals, and a favorite for visitors at The Florida Aquarium, is in danger and on the brink of extinction. This year’s worldwide Earth Day theme—”Invest in Our Planet”— has inspired The Florida Aquarium to work with partners around the world to launch a plan to save the endangered African penguin.
Today the current African penguin population is only about 10,000 breeding pairs in South Africa and 4,000 breeding pairs in Namibia, the lowest numbers ever recorded. African penguins are faced with a combination of pressures that are driving their decline: food shortages, expanding harbors and increased ship traffic, marine noise pollution, humans disturbing breeding colonies, and more.
Led by South Africa’s Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, #NOOW (Not on Our Watch), is a public awareness campaign designed to engage people in direct conservation action. By working with other aquariums, zoos and non-profits, The Florida Aquarium is leading an international movement to unite communities in participating in this conservation cause.
The Florida Aquarium is kicking off an extended #NOOW campaign, engaging with visitors, and encouraging everyone to participate in the ‘Email the South African Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment’ action alert highlighted on the Aquarium’s website. In the coming weeks and months, the Aquarium will be leading photo opportunities, activities, and special events throughout the campaign.
Florida Aquarium and ZooTampa, two of Florida’s best loved attractions have combined forces to offer you an amazing two for the price of one experience over on the west coast in beautiful Tampa Bay – its called Tampa’s ZooQuarium and here’s what you need to know….
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park has its sights set firmly on conservation – it’s a fun packed visit for families and very educational all at the same time!
The same can be said for The Florida Aquarium which has a similar focus – and some superb under and over water exhibits to surprise and delight visitors!
ZooQuarium tickets include admission to BOTH of these world class attractions and an experience your family will not soon forget.
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
The fun begins as soon as you step foot through the Zoo’s Main Entrance! Visit the Main Free-Flight Aviary just inside, or splash around in the Manatee Fountains. You can also grab a bite to eat at Garden Grille, take fun photos with the Zootastic photographers, relax at the Mommy Stop or macaw pond, or simply continue on your adventure to one of our 5 continent areas.
Florida is home to a wide variety of exotic animals – including 760 species that exist nowhere else in the world. Here, there are 548 species of plants and animals that are threatened with extinction, including the critically endangered Florida Panther. You can see many of these species, including the Panther and the Manatee, in the Native Florida Wildlife habitat at ZooTampa.
Leopards and tigers and bears, oh my! Get up close to the many rare and endangered animals in the Asian Gardens. Watch as the tigers explore the water’s edge. Observe the Indian rhinos at play, then come across the Clouded leopards and all their spots.
Swing into Primate World where monkey business is a daily occurrence. See Bornean orangutans, chimpanzees and brilliant-colored mandrills. Catch a glimpse of the tiny squirrel monkeys and many more primates from around the world. The majority of these primates are endangered in the wild. As you visit each one, learn about where they are from and what you might be able to do to protect them.
Follow Zoo Boulevard from the Zoo’s Main Entrance to Carousel Circle where you can ride the Jungle Carousel, or grab a sweet treat from the Sweet Shoppe.
G’day, mates! Fancy a walk-about with a wallaby? Or a close encounter with a koala? Then take a stroll through Tampa’s own land down under, Wallaroo Station. This Australia-themed family area provides hours of enjoyment and discovery, including an interactive petting zoo, a water play area, delicious dining and the Tasmanian Tiger Family Roller Coaster.
It’s a jungle in here! See some of the finest natural wildlife at close hand – elephants, zebras, meerkats, white rhinos, cheetahs, pygmy hippos, okapi, African penguins and much more! Guests can stand on the feeding plateau of Safari Africa and get eye-to-eye with the tallest animals in the world – the giraffe. You can also feed the giraffes lettuce, on sale at the feeding station.
Zoo Tampa also offers some incredible signature backstage animal encounters – make sure you check out what’s available the day you’re going to visit…..
Southern White Rhino Backstage*
Did you know white rhinos can weigh up to 5,000 lbs.? Come experience the massive presence of this animal by getting up-close, and learn amazing facts from those who care for them at ZooTampa! * Children must be age 5 or older to participate in these tours. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult in order to participate in the experience.
African Elephant Backstage*
Experience first-hand how our Animal Care Team utilizes learned behaviors to ensure our African elephants are maintaining optimal health and welfare. Watch a training session, see our state-of-the-art elephant barn, and talk to the professionals about how we care for the largest land animal on earth .* Children must be age 5 or older to participate in these tours. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult in order to participate in the experience.
The Florida Aquarium
Come see why The Florida Aquarium is rated as a top aquarium in North America!
The Florida Aquarium experience is designed to take you on a journey, starting with a drop of water from one of Florida’s many freshwater springs, all the way out to the open waters of the Florida Keys. Sights include a large simulated wetlands environment located under a tall glass atrium, shallow bays and beaches, and a coral reef ecosystem encompassed in half a million gallons of natural seawater.
In the No Bones Zone touch and learn about unusual creatures that have no backbone: anemones, sea cucumbers, sea stars and more!
In Journey to Madagascar, you’ll see lemurs, chameleons, geckos and a colorful Indian Ocean reef. You can even crawl inside a tree full of hissing cockroaches!
Take a hike on Florida’s Wetlands Trail and see alligators, otters and free-flying birds. Invasive pythons live here too!
The secrets of Florida’s coral reefs are revealed – occupants include Stingrays, Porcupine Fish, Sand Tiger Sharks, Barracudas, Green SeaTurtles, Moray Eels , Nurse Sharks & Lion Fish.
Some undersea creatures are hard to spot – seahorses, dwarf seahorses and pipefish live in a miniature world all of their own. See how their camouflage helps them sneak up on prey and hide from predators. The Florida Aquarium successfully breeds dwarf seahorses. Keep an eye out for their babies; they are even tinier than the adults!
At Waves of Wonder check out some very amusing Clown Fish, cool jawfish, several varieties of jellies & learn what makes an Octopus one of the oceans most fascinating creatures.
Moon Bay is a unique experience where guests may touch moon jellies (more commonly called jellyfish) and learn about these creatures that have existed for over 500 million years.
Over at The Splash Pad children 11 years of age and under can experience fantastic fun in the kids’ outdoor play zone with both wet and dry play elements! The zero-depth water area features water dump buckets, spray zones and a designated water play area for toddlers.
Check out the 4 Ducks Theater for a 4-D experience Movie Experience combining the visual drama of a 3-D film with a variety of sensory effects built into the seats and theater environment. The 4-D experience brings on-screen images to life with added effects such as bubbles, snow, scent, FX lighting, water mist, seat vibration and wind.
The Wild Dolphin Cruise departs twice daily from The Florida Aquarium (weather permitting.) This 75- minute cruise includes an informative tour and an opportunity to spot wild dolphins aboard the 72-foot, powered catamaran, the Bay Spirit II.
Get up-close to our animals with a SeaTREK Experience! Walk underwater side-by-side with many types of sea life including reef fishes, rays, a loggerhead sea turtle, bonnethead sharks and much more. This experience is designed for non-divers age 10 or older. Aquarium admission is included for all in-water experience participants. Just bring a swimsuit, towel and shower items but you must book SeaTREK in advance.