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press release
Nov 15, 2017


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… as Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo transforms again into a world of festive holiday wonder for Christmas in the Wild!

The Wild Family Tradition Continues Starting November 24

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… as Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo transforms again into a world of festive holiday wonder for Christmas in the Wild! For 18 delightful nights, experience a merry and memorable evening with this unique holiday event. Only at the Zoo, can families be nose—to-horn with an Indian Rhino and then stroll hand-in-hand with Santa’s Elves. From the stunning sights of countless lights, the taste and scents of seasonal holiday treats and refreshments, the magic and enchantment of wildlife at night, Christmas in the Wild will offer guests of all ages a truly charming holiday experience.

More merriment awaits with dazzling entertainment, including carolers dressed in Dickens era costumes performing traditional classics as well as contemporary favorites, and holiday story time with Mrs. Claus. All-new this year, guests will be captivated by a 50-foot animated Christmas tree complete with 12,000 dancing lights, 2,000 ornaments, and an 8-ft star!

Wildlife will also get into the holiday spirit with special themed activities including Presents for Primates and Ornaments & Elephants. Guests will also have the opportunity to have an even closer look at our African penguins. All new this year, families will enjoy “Hazel’s Christmas Gift” a holiday themed animal show, featuring our famous animal ambassadors.

The big guy in red will return to Santa’s Village, which is situated in a new whimsical elf village.  Guests will have the opportunity to make reservations to ensure they don’t miss jolly St. Nick before he goes back to the North Pole. Other holiday themed areas include Holiday Hoedown, Polar Paradise and Candy Cane Lane!

When people think of the holidays, they think of delicious holiday treats! The Zoo’s Head Chef, Itza Henderson, has created a unique menu to satisfy every foodie’s taste buds. Savory dishes include braised short rib with smoked Gouda mac and cheese, S’mores bacon, an amazing holiday burger and much more. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s a variety of decadent desserts to indulge in from a selection of gourmet hot chocolates, peppermint mousse and deconstructed apple pie. A special beverage was also created for kids, they can sip on a frozen hot chocolate. Adults can add some spice to the evening with a candy cane martini or hot toddies.  Guests of all ages should get their appetites ready – they can only enjoy these dishes at Christmas in the Wild!

Christmas in the Wild will take place Fridays and Saturdays on November 24-25, December 1-2, 8-10, 15-17, 21-23 and 26-30. The Zoo will remain open late on select nights. A variety of admission values are available online or at the Zoo’s front gate:

  • Pay for a day - and visit the rest of this year - and all of 2018 FREE 
  • Zoo Memberships allow unlimited admission for a full year and include special guest privileges
  • A special “After 4 pm” ticket on event days is also available for $24.95 (ages 3 and up).

‘Tis the season for giving, and by attending Christmas in the Wild, guests are helping support the Zoo’s mission to rescue, rehabilitate and care for animals; create exceptional personalized experiences that connect people with wildlife and each other in fun, immersive ways. 

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is featured among the “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S” by TripAdvisor (2015) and “10 Best Zoos in the U.S.” by Trekaroo (2015). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 

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