Welcome to Florida: ZooTampa set to make the holidays wild

Welcome To Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – If you’re still looking to have a wild time even though summer is winding down, ZooTampa will soon be host to holiday events for locals and tourists alike.

First up is Halloween and the zoo’s “Creatures of the Night” event.

The zoo will have all kinds of animal encounters as well as haunted houses and special food.

The zoo will have some new haunts this year, but many areas such as the enchanted fairy forest will remain kid-friendly.

Melina Mendolusky, Animal Care Manager of the Animal Ambassador Program told us the zoo’s animals are of course stars of the show during Halloween.

“Well for Halloween, of course we’re going to bring out a lot of the creepy crawlies, things that go bump in the night, and we love to do that to talk about the conservation efforts that we have put forth for all of these different species,” she said.

If creepy crawlies aren’t exactly your thing, Mendolusky said some of the zoo’s other animal ambassadors will present as well, such as owls, porcupines and sloths.

The zoo welcomes children ages 11 and under to wear costumes. Adults and children ages 12 and up may not wear wigs, masks, face paint or costumes. Toy weapons are not allowed.

Creatures of the Night is held on Fridays and Saturdays in October from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

As for Christmas celebrations, ZooTampa will start that party on Black Friday. “Christmas in the Wild” runs through select dates in December.

“So we have thousands and thousands of twinkling lights. You can come and see a 50 foot tall Christmas tree. It really gets you in the spirit of the holidays,” Mendolusky said.

Mendolusky reminded us that even though the zoo doesn’t have any holiday events going on just yet, every day is a great day to visit the zoo, especially when things begin to cool down.

“We all know the weather. You get that break from the summer sun. And the animals start to get more active because of that,” she said. “So it’s a really great opportunity to come and see them when they’re a little more active and out and about because they feel the heat just like we do!”

Guests can also take advantage of ZooTampa’s animal encounters with things like rhinos and giraffes.

Here is some more information to help you plan your next trip to ZooTampa.

Admission Prices (Normal Operations):
Advanced Purchase:
Adult: $33.95
Child, ages 3-11: $24.95

Single day tickets:
Adult: $36.95
Child, ages 3-11: $27.95

Creatures of the Night:
Fridays in October & Oct. 5: $26.95
Saturdays in October: $29.95
**NOTE: Guests who purchase a Creatures of the Night ticket receive admission to the zoo for the full day, including the event.

Christmas in the Wild:
Stay tuned to zootampa.org for Christmas in the Wild admission prices!

Travel time to ZooTampa (links will update to current traffic conditions, weekday afternoon conditions listed):
– From Downtown Tampa: 12 minutes
– From Brandon: 24 minutes
– From New Port Richey: 50 minutes
– From Lakeland: 46 minutes
– From Bradenton: 59 minutes
– From Sarasota: 1 hour, 8 minutes
– From Orlando: 1 hour, 28 minutes

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