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12 Best Animal Attractions in Tampa Bay

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Whether you’re a sea animal lover or an avid bird watcher, Tampa Bay has plenty of wildlife centers that are open for you to visit. With viewing centers and hands-on experiences, it is a great way to mix up weekend activities.  We’ve done our research on the best animal attractions in Tampa Bay, so that you don’t have to go searching.

Check out our master guide on animal attractions in Tampa Bay for our tips and recommendations!

Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park

Previously known as Lowry Park Zoo, Zoo Tampa has been serving the Tampa Bay area for years. With 63-acres of animals, fields, sanctuary areas and rides – this place has it all. Additionally, the animals are well taken care of, as Zoo Tampa has been recognized by the State of Florida as the center for Florida’s efforts of wildlife conservation and biodiversity.

We’ll let you in on a local favorite – the annual passes! You can spend the day at Zoo Tampa as you please throughout the year. Plan a day, grab some food, and view interesting exhibits – we never get tired of it. We highly recommend this spot if you have little ones, or planning to bring the whole family for a day out.

Monday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Tuesday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Wednesday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Thursday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Friday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Saturday | 9:30am-6:00pm
Sunday | 9:30am-6:00pm

📍 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, wildlife meets a thrilling theme park! Known for their innovative roller coaster rides, this park is also well known in the area for their dedication to animal research and conservation. For any adrenaline junkies out there, this is the place for you, and you may have to make several trips!

Busch Gardens features 335-acres of African themed animal attractions and rides. Here you can catch a glimpse of rhinos, sloths, lions, elephants and more! If you think of a jungle animal, it is certainly located at Busch Gardens. We love their viewing areas and their interaction centers – especially their spot to hand feed kangaroos!

Monday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Tuesday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Wednesday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Thursday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Friday | 10:00am-8:00pm
Saturday | 10:00am-10:00pm
Sunday | 10:00am-9:00pm

📍10165 McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612

Watch Our Experience Riding the New Iron Gwazi Rollercoaster! 🎢

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

If you’re planning a beach day in Clearwater or just heading down for the day, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is one of our favorite marine animal attractions in Tampa Bay. This spot is a non-profit organization, dedicated to saving marine animals and animal conservation.

There’s no shortage of unique exhibits, you can even view the rescue and rehabilitation of sick or injured marine life. This is a great spot to take the family or spend a date night.

If you’re a fan of the movie Dolphin Tale, here you can view the movie set! The star of the movie, Winter the Dolphin, unfortunately passed away November of 2021. You can now experience Remembering Winter – A musical 360 VR tribute to Winter’s legacy and free spirit.

Monday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Tuesday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Wednesday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Thursday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Friday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Saturday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday | 10:00am-6:00pm

📍 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, FL 33767

Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium is a gem to the Channelside and Downtown Tampa area. This non-profit aquarium is a huge 250,000 square-foot area with a maze of exhibits, or in other words, a must-visit spot! Their interactive exhibits are one of our favorite things to engage with when we go. You can touch stingrays, dive with the sharks, or cool off in their water pad Fun Zone.

The Water Fun Zone is a popular place for families to take kids to play in a shallow water area, complete with a water playground of spouts and fountains. Our favorite animal viewing exhibits in the Florida Aquarium are the black light lit seahorses tanks and the fun lemur jungle gym area!

Monday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Tuesday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Wednesday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Thursday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Friday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Saturday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday | 9:30am-5:00pm

📍 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602

Wildlife Survival Sanctuary

Wildlife Survivial Sanctuary has been serving the Tampa Bay area since 2000. These ten acres of land are dedicated to taking care of exotic animals that previously were in poor care. Fueled by volunteer staff, the Wildlife Survival Sanctuary is full of love for animals – especially big cats.

This spot features tigers, leopards, cougars and bobcats. But it’s not all big cats here! You can also view different variations of lemurs, reptiles, and livestock. Schedule a tour with them today to view these heartwarming grounds!

Available by appointment only, visit website for details.

📍 18212 Booming Rd, Spring Hill, FL 34610

Croc Encounters

Everyone knows that Florida is a center place for alligators and crocodiles, and Croc Encounters is the best place to view these reptiles! This is a great place to spend the day and learn more about reptile wildlife.  

Croc Encounters offers guided tours, educational sessions, and close-up encounters with a variety of reptiles. We recommend experiencing the self guided tour on Saturdays through the park! We love that they offer packages for birthday parties and events, which is a great spin for any special occasion.

Monday | 8:00am-8:00pm
Tuesday | 8:00am-8:00pm
Wednesday | 8:00am-8:00pm
Thursday | 8:00am-8:00pm
Friday | 8:00am-8:00pm
Saturday | 8:00am-8:00pm
Sunday | 8:00am-8:00pm

📍 8703 Bowles Rd, Tampa, FL 33637

HorsePower for Kids & Animal Sanctuary

HorsePower is a hidden gem near Oldsmar. This non-profit location offers interactions with horses, shetland ponies, goats, guinea pigs, and more!  The most popular attraction at HorsePower has to be the horseback riding experiences – great for beginners or people that just want to have the experience!  

This is the perfect spot for young kiddos as well. With a child-size zip line, playground, and picnic area – your child is sure to have an amazing time.

Monday | Closed
Tuesday | Closed
Wednesday | Closed
Thursday | 10:00am-2:00pm
Friday | 10:00am-2:00pm
Saturday | 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday | 9:00am-5:00pm

📍 8005 Racetrack Rd, Tampa, FL 33635

Alligator Attraction - Wildlife Learning Center

Alligator Attraction brings hands-on animal experiences to the Madeira Beach area. This homegrown attraction features alligators, amphibians and other reptiles. They also feature some marine life! 

We love how up close and personal you can get with the animals – especially with the tortoise exhibit! Be sure to check out their “Kiss A Gator” exhibit – a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else unless you recreate it in the wildlife, which we do not recommend.

Monday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Tuesday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Wednesday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Thursday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Friday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Saturday | 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday | 12:00pm-6:00pm

📍 12973 Village Blvd. Suites A-J, Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

Located in Palm Harbor is the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary. This spot is a non-profit organization that houses over 100 different types of animals, focusing on monkeys and orangutans. Here, you can view chimpanzees, reptiles, tropical birds and more!

The Sanctuary offers a place for animals to live after they are no longer being taken care of as a personal pet or if working in testing labs or movies. We love that you can feed the primates – a must-try experience! Suncoast focuses on investing in the spaces for their animals, without the souvenirs and theatrics.

Pro-tip: We definitely recommend bringing food to Suncoast, as they do not offer concessions at the park.  

Monday | Closed
Tuesday | Closed
Wednesday | Closed
Thursday | 10:00am-4:00pm
Friday | 10:00am-4:00pm
Saturday | 10:00am-4:00pm
Sunday | 10:00am-4:00pm

📍 4600 US-19 ALT, Palm Harbor, FL 34683

Swim with the Fishes at RumFish Grill

While RumFish Grill is a great restaurant, they also offer an even cooler “Swim With The Fish” experience! Go snorkeling in their 33,500 gallon tank – full of tarpon, snook, sharks, and even a green moray eel! The experience is offered to swimmers ages 8 and up, and they provide all the supplies that you need. RumFish also has trained lifeguards, so you don’t have to worry about any mishaps!

Monday | 5:00pm-10:00pm
Tuesday | 5:00pm-10:00pm
Wednesday | 5:00pm-10:00pm
Thursday | 5:00pm-10:00pm
Friday | 5:00pm-10:00pm
Saturday | 5:00pm-10:00pm
Sunday | 5:00pm-10:00pm

📍 6000 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Mote Aquarium

Mote Aquarium in Sarasota is a non-profit animal attraction dedicated to marine research and educating the Sarasota area about marine life. We love their up-close exhibits, one of our favorites is Shark Zone, a beautiful display of bonnethead sharks and stingrays. You can also view the goliath grouper – a larger than life grouper species!

The Mote Aquarium offers tons of experiences you can’t miss out on. From breakfast with sharks, kayaking, family programs, even boat tours!

Monday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Tuesday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Wednesday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Thursday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Friday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Saturday | 9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday | 9:30am-5:00pm

📍 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236

Seaside Seabird Sanctuary

Seaside Seabird Sanctuary is a one of a kind animal attraction in Tampa Bay. This wild bird rescue takes care of sick and injured sea birds. Also operating as a tourist attraction, you can visit this beautiful attraction – with 3 acres of beach front property. 

There are over 100 birds on display – can you believe that?  From Eastern Brown Pelicans, American White Pelicans, Hawks, and more! We love how different this sanctuary is and how the focus is on birds.  Check out their website for special events for kids in their youth activities classroom!

Monday | 8:00am-4:00pm
Tuesday | 8:00am-4:00pm
Wednesday | 8:00am-4:00pm
Thursday | 8:00am-4:00pm
Friday | 8:00am-4:00pm
Saturday | 8:00am-4:00pm
Sunday | 8:00am-4:00pm

📍 18328 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores, FL 33785

Animal Attractions in Tampa Bay and More

Excited about exploring different animal attractions in Tampa? Let us know your favorite! Tag and follow us @StuffToDoInTampaBay on Instagram, FacebookTikTok, and YouTube for the best things to do in Tampa Bay.

Jacky Saunders

Jacky Saunders

Jacky is a blogger for the Stuff to Do in Tampa Bay City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Tampa Bay area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinTampaBay on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok.
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