Tampa is a great destination for any animal lover to visit, as there are so many different animal-related attractions to choose from. For those who want to experience some endangered species up-close, these are the top places to head to.
While Busch Gardens may primarily be a theme park, it is also known for its animal conservation efforts, and is home to around 40 species of endangered animals. From the Asian Elephant, which is now successfully reproducing at Busch Gardens, to the Western Lowland Gorilla, there are some truly magnificent creatures to be seen here. There are a number of different animal tours that can be taken here, including personal, up-close encounters that you would not be able to experience anywhere else.
Big Cat Rescue
One of the largest accredited exotic cat sanctuaries in the world, the Big Cat Rescue is dedicated to ending the abuse of big cats, saving them from everything from circuses to backyard breeders to roadside zoos. Stretching out for over 67 acres, the sanctuary is home to over 100 cats from 16 different species and subspecies, many of which are currently either threatened, endangered or extinct. These include the likes of tigers, lions, bobcats, leopards, lynx and more. While the only way to actually visit the cats is by taking a guided tour, these are available throughout the day, with different types of tours to choose from, but you should still try to book your tickets in advance if possible.
Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is another organization that is dedicated to animal conservation, and is where you will find a wide range of endangered animals. For those interested in birds, you will be able to see everything from the African Penguin to the Red-Browed Amazon Parrot, the latter of which is excellent at camouflaging itself, so may take some time to spot. For those who prefer larger animals, the Pygmy Hippopotamus, Siamang Gibbon, Malayan Tiger, Florida Panther and the Chimpanzee can all be seen at the zoo, as can certain endangered herd animals, such as the Grevy’s Zebra.
Croc Encounters Reptile Park and Wildlife Center
There are 23 species of crocodilians, and the majority of these are either threatened or endangered in the wild, making facilities like the Croc Encounters Reptile Park and Wildlife Center absolutely vital in keeping these breeds going. While large reptiles such as these are often perceived to be intimidating and aggressive, this park highlights just how important these creatures are in each of their different ecosystems, showing you a side to them that many never get the opportunity to see. For those who plan on visiting, there are guided tours available each day, which last around one and a half hours and include some heart-thumping feeding opportunities.
Florida is known for being quite the wildlife haven, and, in addition to endangered native species, you will also be able to see creatures from all over the world in Tampa. From the Asian elephant to the African Parrot, Tampa is a city that strives to showcase just how important these animals are to our planet.