Last weekend my kids and I got to do a very exciting blog review for Lowry Park’s annual Zoo Boo. Thank you so much to Tampa Bay Moms Group for the tickets!! My daughter (M) is eight, my son (C) is ten and we had a friend with us (D) who is nine and autistic.
We got to the zoo at about 6:45 PM and there was a short line. There were several employees to direct you to the ticket window if you needed to purchase tickets or to the line if you already had them in hand. You will need the tickets for everyone in your group in order to get into the line. I have a feeling that the closer it gets to Halloween, the sooner you will want to get there so you don’t have to wait in a long line.
The kids wanted to see a few animals first so we headed towards Sting Ray Bay. They saw a pig along the way but not much else since most animals were put up for the night. They enjoyed visiting the manatee and even the fish were decked out with Halloween decorations.
There were fantastic inflatables and lights throughout the park.
We spent some time petting the sting rays before heading over to the rides and houses.
The Haunted Houses are rated with skulls. Seven skulls is “scary to the extreme,“ six skulls “only for the brave at heart,” three skulls “spooktakular” and one skull is “suitable for all ages.”
Wake the Dead was rated six and the first one we visited. “Tampa Bay has many scary legends…and this year one of the most terrifying is unearthed! Meet your ghost host in person and listen carefully as he warns you of the perils to come as you venture into the graveyard darkness with the un-dead…” As we reached the entrance to the house my son tried to change his mind. A male employee reminded him that nothing in it was real, which I had to repeat to my daughter as well. There were only two or three live people that jumped out to scare the kids and everything else was animated and decorated to look scary. It was just the right length for older kids and not too scary for eight and up. I was a little worried about D but he walked in front of us without a care in the world. At the end he turned around, stuck his tongue out and said, “Take that House!”
Pharaoh’s Tomb of Revenge is rated a six- “Far from the burial ground discovered in the Egyptian desert, a tomb full of finding is being reassembled for display by all. Everything seems well, until spirits hidden in the tomb’s artifacts come back to life and unleash the curse of the Pharaoh.” I reminded the kids that nothing in it was real and tried to look forward as far as I could to warn them of people jumping out- there were none. There were a lot of human and animal mummies and some were animated but the kids weren’t scared of this one much at all. The décor was awesome and very much like being in an Egyptian tomb.
French Quarter Phantoms 3-D is rated a three. “Haunted by phantoms and the city’s notorious past, New Orleans is often called one of the “most haunted cities in America. Explore the secret and sinister side of the Big Easy and discover where the spirits still dwell….” My kids loved this one. It was cool to see the trees and scenery in 3-D and neon colors. I loved the front of the house and how it looked like an old plantation house. I asked D about 3-D and strobe lights but he shrugged his shoulders, put on the glasses and walked on. Like the other houses, he just wandered on through! The next day my eight year old said it was for babies and she wasn’t scared at all- but it was still cool.
Little Beasts Bungalow– “Walk into a world of dazzling lights and many friendly and spooktacular scenes. This attraction is appropriate for young children.” This is by the Wallaroo station. D didn’t want to go on the carousel so while my kids were on it we walked around this area. We checked out the Flying Bat House (which is also rated one skeleton) and checked out the llama and goats.
London Frightmare– “Join us in our Frightmare and become part of London’s horrifying history. Travel back in time to an age of adventure and suspense. Uncover the dark secrets that lie within and beneath the streets of the most frighteningly haunted city in England.” This one is new and the kids stayed far away from it. I’m hoping next year they venture through it if the zoo has it again. In this same area is the Spooky Fun Fair with “goulish games, kiddie slide and bounce houses.” There’s a lot to do for all ages.
My kids tried to go on the roller coaster but after waiting fifteen minutes it started to pour and the park shut it down. By the time the rain stopped the kids were ready to go to the haunted houses. D didn’t want to ride this either but he was kept occupied by the llama and goats that were close by. There were also several food vendors in the area. They stopped by the Metro PCS tent to play Plingo. M got a lanyard, C got a key chain and D got a pencil sharpener.
I was a little nervous about taking D because he’s autistic and I didn’t know how he would handle going through the haunted houses. His mom was thrilled that he had such a good time with us and that he did so well going through them. He was less scared than my kids!!
From a fitness point of view, this was a fun way to get a couple miles of walking in. Because my kids were latched onto me in each of the houses I got a great ab and leg workout since I was mostly walking on my tip toes, bent forward to watch for scary creatures. I got a few weird looks doing push ups on the railings but hey, sometimes you have to squeeze in a workout when you can! I made sure to eat before we left since most zoos and amusement parks aren’t health conscience. I had a hard time resisting the cotton candy, popcorn and especially the pretzels but I did!
Lowry Park has done an amazing job with Zoo Boo and making it a fun time for families with kids of all ages. My seventeen year old went a couple of years ago with her friends and they had a really good time. We saw families with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary age and all seemed to be having a lot of fun. Two ghostly thumbs way up!
Lowry Park is located at 1101 W. Sligh Ave, Tampa 33604 and the phone number is (813) 935-8552. Select dates for Zoo Boo are October 10-12, 17-19, 23-26 and 30-November 1. The hours are 7-11 PM Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10 PM Thursdays and Sundays. Ticket prices are $18 (12+) and $14 (3-11). Children under 3 are free. If you order tickets on line make sure you PRINT them out. Emails will not be accepted. Skip the line with a BooPass with VIP access to haunted houses and rides. $18 per adult and $18 per child which can be purchased at the main gate. Guests ages 11 and under are welcome to wear costumes, 12+ may not wear masks, wigs or face paint. For more information please visit their website- Lowry Park Zoo Boo.
I’ve seen some Groupon deals on tickets so keep your eye out for them!