for Kids Creative Chaos (Activities)

Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium Museum

Visit Winter Clearwater Fl

Are you planning a trip to Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium? One important thing to remember is that it began as Clearwater Marine Hospital. Before the famous Hope Dolphin and Winter Dolphin movies, it was just a place that cared for sick animals. Make sure you score some marine aquarium coupons or find a marine aquarium discount code, because for what you get- it is a little pricey. Be prepared to go through the gift shop a couple of times as you navigate the museum.

Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium
The carnival exhibit at Clearwater Marine Aquarium was a hit!
Like most Clearwater Beach vacationers, we were on a tight schedule and even tighter budget. As a blogger, I searched the internet for every possible deal or media pass available. Upon crossing the bridge into Clearwater, Florida I immediately second guessed my decision. It is a very busy, very commercial place. I remember visiting as a child. Nothing is the same.

Crowded.

As far as tourist attractions go, this one is clearly a hospital first. If you go with that in mind, you will have a better experience. If you are on a limited schedule or budget, I'd suggest skipping this attraction. The worst part was how much my kids disliked it. It wasn't what they'd hoped.

Clearwater Marine Hospital
Scenes from Clearwater Marine Museum and movie exhibit.

There was a long line of people (who'd paid a lot of money) waiting for their photo op with Hope and Winter. Since we didn't shell out the money for a photo, we really didn't get to see them. They were just sitting in the water. Though, they are the draw to the aquarium, they were the least exciting attraction. We preferred the otters.

We also saw a turtle show, er "talk". You know, the kind of show you might see at a zoo, but it wasn't much of a show. The presenters even said so... we just feed them. I mean what can a turtle really do? They fed them and talked about them... it was monotonous. Both kids tried to sneak off and eventually succeeded. If you have never been to an aquarium, by all means go-- enjoy it. If you have been to another aquarium, this one is just another aquarium.

Movie set display: Visit Winter Clearwater Fl.

There are a lot of volunteers, but none of them could answer our questions. Each time we asked, they had to find someone else to help. They weren't actively engaging with the guests.

On a more pleasant note, the best part of the experience was the FREE boat ride across the bay to the movie exhibit in downtown Clearwater.

They do offer a few paid boating excursions which sound like a lot of fun, but I noticed they had lukewarm reviews on TripAdvisor. Still, we were looking forward to our ride to the island, despite the reviews, but upon arrival we were told the last boat had left. I had scored passes for the boat too --- but I wasn't aware of the schedule. If you have your heart set on it, beware of boarding times and get there 30 minutes early!

Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium Museum.
Turtle exhibit at Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium Museum.
My father enjoyed the ride to the movie exhibit as much as the kids did. You can also take a trolley, but take the boat. It is a great deal and a fun, free way to enjoy the bay. Do you mind an uphill climb? "No", I said. "Of course not!" You might mind! It is about a quarter of a mile up a steep sidewalk... In that case, take the FREE trolley ride.

Once inside the movie exhibit, breathe a sigh of relief. It is air conditioned and awesome. The actor's and director's chairs greet you as you walk in (though no one else really does). You tour at your own pace. The kids still weren't thrilled. They were grumpy. They'd just walked a mile up a steep hill in Florida heat! After awhile, they began to relax, stop complaining, and enjoy the atmosphere.

Dolphin Tale movie exhibit at Clearwater Marine Museum.
Dolphin Tale movie exhibit at Clearwater Marine Museum.

The kids thought the best part of this exhibit was the carnival set, but it was all good. Excited to find a real concession stand after the long hike up the hill, Mayhem rushed to the exhibit. A real life mirage. Once she got past the fact that it was all fake, she began to enjoy the hands-on carnival games. The hurricane exhibit was also a big hit. You can see a fuzzy picture at the top of the collage above.

Visit Winter Clearwater Fl


You get back to your car in the parking lot the same way you arrived... You know, back down the steep "short walk" to the boat or hop on a trolley that is sitting right outside the door waiting for you. Yep, we took the trolley. No seat belts across the curvy bridge with a very confident trolley driver... another bonus! Ha, felt more like a roller coaster. Hang on tightly!

I remember when you could see the beach... now you have to drive through hotels and restaurants to find it. Some of the roads looked like dead end streets. Watch for signs that direct you to the beach. We scored a parking meter spot close to a beach access.

The kids loved the crowded beach. They wanted to stay after dark. I hear there are lots of things to do in Clearwater Beach at night, but the grandparents were over it. They wanted to head back to their quiet, little town and find an inexpensive place to eat. We would have enjoyed eating somewhere along the beach, but we had headed to Clearwater without eating lunch. We thought we'd grab a bite at a McDonalds (no luck) or maybe at the Marine Aquarium, but the aqaurium's concession stand was closed. Instead, we found a nice, little sandwich cafe across the street from the museum.

Don't get me started about the museum's cafe! We waited for the boat, but there is no place to sit, so we sat at the concession stand tables. A museum employee (or volunteer) came around and chained all the chairs to the tables. She didn't ask us to move, but the museum was at least an hour from close.

Hospitality.

I come from a event venue background. May I suggest letting your paying museum customers enjoy the seating (even though the concession stand is closed) until the whole museum actually closes... or keep the concession stand open until close.

I don't know. We felt kind of lost during the whole experience. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of volunteers around. We asked a lot of questions. Every answer seemed vague. Maybe it was just us. Maybe we were tired. Still... the kids didn't like it - they wanted to leave right after they caught a glimpse of Winter and Hope.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium needs a Visitor Experience Manager. They need to drive up, get directed to a parking spot, find their way to the ticket booth, squeeze through the gift shop to find your way to the exhibits, interact with volunteers, hope to see the dolphins up close, wait in line for the boats as suggested... yep, they should do all that while they are hungry.


Recommended:

Things to do in Tampa: Lowry Park Zoo.
Suncoast Primates need your donations.
Touch a manta-ray in Tarpon Springs Aquarium.
National Geographic Kids Everything Dolphins: Dolphin Facts, Photos, and Fun that Will Make You Flip*
Look for a Manatee at Apollo Beach.
Hope for Winter: The True Story of A Remarkable Dolphin Friendship*




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Parts of Speech Activities for Middle School and Elementary

Parts of Speech Videos, Lessons, and Activities for Middle School

Grammar, grammar, grammar. I write everyday. I have novels waiting for completion. I'll be honest; I can't remember or didn't learn most of these terms. However, I am able to speak and write clearly. These parts of speech activities are targeted toward middle school and elementary students, but many adults will also find them educational too. Scroll down for our online lesson.

Parts of Speech Activities for Middle School and Elementary
Parts of Speech Activities for Middle School and Elementary.
We use these grammar activities in our daily homeschool classes. We don't focus on grade levels. We all learn the same things at the same time. Everyone works at their own pace, so we try to find fun activities that all ages will appreciate. Enjoy!

What are the parts of speech?






Now, play this Parts of Speech Game to test your knowledge.

What is a Subject and Predicate?

Take this quiz about Subjects and Predicates.

Review the Parts of Speech with Tim and Moby. You must be a BrainPOP subscriber for this one.

Did you know Yoda speaks perfect English?

What is a participle? Watch this video to learn about participles and gerunds. More about participles.




VERBALS: What is the difference between an infinitive, gerund, and participle?






Now, play this Past Participle Game to test your knowledge.

Want to be an English Major? Here is a more in depth look on gerunds, participles, and infinitives.

What are coordinate conjunctions? You use them in nearly every sentence.




What is a subordinate conjunction? It isn't as complicated as it sounds!





Be careful, this one tries to trick you, Compound Sentence Game.

Master your Proofreading Skills with this game from Quill.com

Why do you need to diagram sentences?

Diagramming Sentences (for BrainPOP subscribers only).

Online worksheet for review of types of sentences.

All done? Open a Google Document, and write a 5 paragraph story about your favorite animal. As always, tell me what you are going to tell me (first paragraph), tell me (detail each sentence from the first paragraph in the following 3 paragraphs), tell me again (summarize what you have written). While you are writing focus on the parts of speech. Include descriptive adjectives and adverbs, compound sentences, simple sentences, gerunds, infinitives, and participles. Share your paper with your homeschool educator or classroom teacher.


Recommended:

Using Adjectives and Adverbs in Poetry

Parts of Speech Grades 3-4 (Language Arts)*

Schoolhouse Rock History Lesson

How to Use Parts of Speech, Grades 6-8*



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Plan a Ladybug Picnic Party & Learn about the Ladybug Life Cycle too!

A Ladybug Picnic Party is a Fun Way to learn about the Ladybug Life Cycle

Spring and Summer are the perfect time to throw a Ladybug picnic or Ladybug theme birthday party! We love to sneak in educational elements whenever possible, so we've come up with some fun Ladybug activities and added an educational one too. Learning about the Ladybug's life cycle is fun - Scroll down to find more Ladybug learning activities from Teaching Mama. Enjoy!


Plan a Ladybug Picnic Party & Learn about Life cycle too!
Plan a Ladybug Picnic Party and Learn about the ladybug Life cycle.
Online, you will find lots of different Ladybug tic tac toe games. Some are made of construction paper, others use painted rocks, blocks of wood, or even sticks.

Ladybug and Bumblebee tic tac toe and checkers game with walnuts
Collect walnut shells and paint them like ladybugs and bumble bees
for Tic Tac Toe and Checkers games.

We enjoy taking hikes around our property. It is like our very own nature park. So, on a recent hike, we collected broken Walnut shells to paint like Ladybugs and Bumble Bees in honor of the book, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy!

These are so cute and perfect to leave sitting out for an impromptu game of Ladybug Tic Tac Toe or Checkers. 

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Party
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Party.  Want your own? Let us know in the comments.
Just store your bugs in a woven basket, and leave them sitting on a table or bench as an invitation to play. We tossed in sidewalk chalk, so that kids can make a board anywhere they want! Sticks make a perfect natural Tic Tac Toe board.

Make and play Ladybug Tic Tac Toe and Checkers
Make and play Ladybug Tic Tac Toe and Checkers.
Playing games are a great way to build friendships and teach about compromise too! Read the book, LADYBUG GIRL AND THE BUMBLEBEE BOYthe theme is “friendship and compromise.” 

In the story, Lulu and her dog Bingo meet up with Sam on the playground and want to play together. Sam likes the sandbox but Lulu thinks the monkey bars are better. They just can’t agree…until Lulu asks, “Have you ever played Ladybug Girl?” Quickly, Sam becomes the brave Bumblebee Boy, and he and Lulu, a.k.a Ladybug Girl, are superheroes who save the playground from scary monsters and mean robots. New friends want to join their game too, and soon the Bug Squad is formed with Ladybug Girl, Bumblebee Boy, Dragonfly Girl, and Butterfly Girl using their imaginations to keep the playground safe.

make a Ladybug Tic Tac Toe game.
Gather walnut shells, paint, and brushes to make a Ladybug Tic Tac Toe game.

Paint walnut red to make a ladybug game.
Paint walnut red to make a ladybug.

Paint walnut yellow to make a bumblebee game.
Paint walnut yellow to make a bumblebee.


Hop over to Teaching Mama to print a ladybug life cycle printable activity the kids can make at the party!

Ladybug life cycle printable get details at TeachingMama.org
Ladybug life cycle printable available at TeachingMama.org

This is one of my all time favorite Sesame Street Videos: Ladybug Picnic.



Don't forget to leave a comment to enter to win Ladybug Girl items for your own party!


Recommended:

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy*

Things to do with Walnuts

Paper Ladybug Tic Tac Toe Valentine

Frog Birthday Party Ideas 



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Genetics Activities for Elementary: Lessons and Games

Fun Lessons and Activities about Genetics

Science is fun with lessons and games! These genetics activities for elementary and middle school (suitable for highschool too) will teach you about Punnet Squares, DNA, RNA, and more. Be sure to click all of the links, and do the activities. In our homeschool class, we start the lesson on Monday and work through the week doing the experiments and lessons. Don't miss the just for fun section at the end. Watch how Game Theory discovers the parents of Princess Peach. Enjoy!
Genetics  Activities for Elementary: Lessons and Games
Genetics  Activities for Elementary: Lessons and Games.


First, learn about Probability:





Brainpop Subscribers can learn more here: Basic Probablilty for Elementary.



Print (or do the work online) this Probability Worksheet and this Names Probability Chart.

Preview what you know with these questions about genetics. When you get there, hover over each question to reveal the answer.

More about Gregor Mendel. What traits are dominant?

Start with this FREE Movie on Genetics and Heredity from Brainpop. Do the activities here: Traits Graphic Organizer. Be sure to click through the 3 tabs and do all activities. You can fill out the chart and vocabulary on the screen and then save it and send a copy to your teacher or homeschool instructor. (Mom?)

Take this quiz from BrainPop: Online Genetics Quiz.

Watch the video, and learn What is a Punnet Square.




Scholastics Video on Heredity.

Hand Clasping Experiment 
Have you ever folded your hands together by interlocking your fingers? Do it now without thinking about it. Which thumb is on top – left or your right? A study found that 55% place their left thumb on top, and 45% place their right thumb on top. The other 1% have no preference!

University of Utah shares this Downloadable PDF about dominant and recessive traits. This information is a solid background for a genetics lesson. You'll also find a fun game to learn about genetics.

Watch this Video, The Story of Fido, about DNA and then do the following lesson.





This is a fun lesson to learn about traits. The printable PDF to Make your own Dog Recipe (with DNA) is also form UU.

Play a Free Online Game about Dog breeding.

Science Lab: Genetics with Pasta (Free Printable PDF from University of Washington) Tip: We're always looking for uses for our leftover Halloween or Easter Candy, so we used different candies in place of the colored pasta. It saves time, reuses, and you can eat it if you want.

What is DNA? Once on the page, click through at the bottom to learn about genetic engineering and more.

Wathc this fun Video about DNA. Then do the FYI segment. At the top of the FYI, you'll see images; click each one to learn more. Now, do all the tabs of the DNA activities.

What is RNA?
Find out: What is RNA? at Brainpop.com

Click over to What is RNA? to read about it. If you want to do the activities and watch the video, you'll have to subscribe. If you are a Brainpop subscriber, be sure to watch the video and take a quiz.

Can you answer these questions about RNA?

Review, All About Genetics. When you pop over click the speaker to hear the article.




Just for Fun

Game Theory: Rosalina and Mario Genetics. Peach is her mother, who is her father? Learn about DNA with Super Mario Bros. and Punnet Squares.





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5 Earth Day Activities for Adults

5 Adult Activities for Earth Day

Looking for something to do around the office to celebrate Earth Day? These 5 Earth Day activities for adults will help you have a fun and enriching celebration. Enjoy!

Earth Day Activities for Adults
Happy Earth Day! Earth Day Activities for Adults.


  • In the Fall of every year, Indianapolis, Indiana has a day of community service. Indy Do Day is a mini vacation from the office. We think incorporating something like this into an Earth Day celebration would make an awesome experience. Get the whole office on board. Plant a community garden or better yet, make it personal. Find local senior citizens in need, and do some yard work, gardening, or recycling for them. Find a way to give back to your community that will have an impact on the environment.


Earth Day Activities for Adults
Indy Do Day activities are perfect for Earth Day. Photo from Indydoday.com
  • Another, simple way for adult co-workers to celebrate Earth Day is to go on hike! Sure, you'll get some complaints. Plan ahead, and make it a field trip of sorts. Make sure everyone comes prepared with water, comfortable shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, and bags to collect any trash you find along your journey. 
Everyone needs the fresh air. It is a great way to bond with your office mates. You'll feel like you are playing hooky, but use the time to brainstorm ideas to make the office more green.

simple way for adults to celebrate Earth Day
A hike is a simple way for adults to celebrate Earth Day.

  • Have you ever been to a recycling plant? We have. It is a very interesting experience. Most people are surprised to discover all of the different things that can be recycled. Find an incentive (maybe a gift card) and then ask your co-workers to bring in some recyclable items- not trash! Think real recyclables like an old, broken, bronze lamp, metal scrap, old appliances... Collect all the aluminum cans from the office and take them with you (rather than letting the recycling truck pick them up as usual).

Now, take a caravan to your local recycling plant! We go on Saturdays and have to wait in a long line. They pay with a receipt that you cash out at an ATM like machine. After you go, you'll understand why so many people offer free pick up of old appliances. You might even want to become a dumpster diver.

The cash for junk is pretty impressive, especially when you think about it being trash that you saved from going into a landfill!


Get Cash for recycling metal.
Get cash for metal at Ray's Recycling plant.

What about that gift card? Award it to the co-worker whose junk brought the most coin! What? You think they don't deserve it because they already got a big payoff? Use the money you earn from recycling to donate to a save the earth cause.




  • Get a group of adults involved in Earth Day activities by volunteering in a preschool, shelter, or nursing home. Find some fun Earth Day crafts like the ones below, and take the day off while you educate and enrich the lives of others. 

Help children grow an indoor garden.

Make an Earth Day Pin Craft.

Whatever you choose to do, have fun, and make a difference!


Recommended:

Christmas Games for the Office Party

Ways for Kids to Celebrate Earth Day

Visit a Nature Park

When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story *

Earth Day - Go Green Adult Organic T-Shirt*



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English Verb Conjugation Practice Lesson for Homeschool

English Lesson: Verb Conjugation Practice with focus on Irregular Verbs

Verbs. In American English, they are confounding! We learn that words end in "ed" and the we go changing it. How many times have you heard a child say, "He hitted me!". We teach to add "ed" and then we make so many exceptions! This lesson for homeschoolers (or anyone interested in learning the nuances of American English) focuses on irregular verbs. Scroll down for videos, practice lessons, and free online games to help with learning proper verb conjugation. Enjoy!


English Verb Conjugation Practice Lesson for Homeschool
English Verb Conjugation Practice Lesson for Homeschool.
What is a verb? A verb is a word that describes action. How do verbs change to tell when the action happens? Did it happen in the past, present, or future? How do you know? 


Start with this game about verbs. It makes practicing verbs fun!

Game about Verbs

The best way to learn verb forms is to practice. What better way to practice than to play a game. The next online lesson for kids is suited for grade 3: Subject Verb Agreement by Turtle Diary.

Have you learned anything yet? Test your knowledge with this Google Doc: Verb Conjugation Practice Worksheet.



This VIDEO on Irregular Verb Tenses is very helpful. Grab your daily journal. As you watch, pause the video at the first word, and practice writing all the tenses. Press play to see how you did! It is a fun way to test yourself.





If you are a BrainPOP subscriber, watch this video on Irregular Verbs. Not a subscriber? Try these free lessons on verbs.

Now, test yourself with this verb tense online worksheet. Check your answers at the bottom of the page.

Find more verb games at FunBrain.com



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Online Poetry Lesson

Homeschooling Lessons by Grade



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Country Study Lesson India

8 Creative Ways To Teach Your Child About The Indian Culture

In this country study lesson, our guest blogger, Aradhana, shares about the homeschooling experience in India. Scroll down to learn creative ways to learn about Indian Culture and to watch some Indian videos. Enjoy!


Country Study Lesson on India includes dress up time!
Country Study Lesson on India includes dress up time!

Long before the arrival of our little one, my husband and I had decided that we’d homeschool our child. Having understood all the pros and cons of homeschooling, we made this choice for our child to be able to shape up his future in the best way possible. In India, the concept of homeschooling is still in its nascent stages, and unsurprisingly, our decision wasn't received well within our community. Even today, we battle people’s preconceived notions about our choice. 

We know, however, that homeschooling is the best way to ingrain the importance of culture and values in our child along with training him on various academic concepts. Being so artistically 
inclined myself, I always opt for fun and creative means to train my child on various subjects, especially cultures. Not only does this improve his grasping power, but it also makes learning a lot of fun. 


Here are eight creative ways you can teach your child about the Indian culture:


1. Traditional Dress Up – Whenever I begin teaching my son a lesson about a particular Indian state, I always team it up with a fun traditional dress-up activity. My little one looks forward to the exotic costumes that he gets to wear each time. I also hold group learning sessions where both, little boys and girls can understand what the respective male and female costumes of each Indian state look like. We end the session by taking lots of pictures and making memories for a lifetime!

2. Exploring Local Cuisines – I am lucky to be a part of a family that loves food! My son (thankfully) has no qualms about trying out new cuisines, which makes my life a lot simpler! 

Every Sunday, we as a family go out to try authentic Indian meals where I also share fun facts about that particular cuisine with my child. After the dining session, I organize a quiz for him by including questions about a region’s cuisine, the dining style of people there, their cultural and religious symbolism, etc. For example, in many South Indian states of India, people eat with their hands because according to ancient Vedic wisdom, doing so benefits the mind, body and spirit.


Authentic Indian meal.
Authentic Indian meal.

3. A Trip To The Houses Of Worship – I have been brought up with the belief that all religions are equal, and there is something beautiful to learn from every caste and creed. Though my husband and I follow two different religious beliefs, we have given our child the freedom to practice whichever religion wants. Along with imparting him the knowledge about all religions, I also take him on regular visits to places of worship, so he gains a better understanding on what every religion practiced in India stands for.




4. Dance and Drama – Me along with my group of friends, organize a monthly dance show put up by the kids in our locality. Since the locality we live in has families from different parts of the country, each month we follow a new theme focused on regional dances from different Indian states. This gives the kids abundant cultural exposure while it also promises the audience a visual treat!


Indian dances and culture.
Indian dances and culture.

5. Handmade Cultural Keepsakes – My little one thoroughly enjoys craft activities! He insists that each of his lessons have at least one craft activity. He loves to decorate his room with the outcomes of his artistic endeavors. Given his fondness for art and craft, I try to teach my child as many Indian crafts as I can. Diyas for Diwali, Indian flag for Independence day, rangoli for auspicious occasions and collages and coloring activities inspired by the Indian ancestry are a few of his favorites! 


Handmade Indian crafts and  Cultural Keepsakes.
Handmade Indian crafts and  Cultural Keepsakes for Diwali.

6. Historic Storytelling Sessions – One of the most amazing things about India is its glorious heritage and history. It has a marvelous collection of folklores that can be dated back to many centuries together. My son loves hearing fanciful stories from the Mahabharata, Ramayana,  Panchatantra, Puranas, Hitopadesha and Jatakas. I also read to him about our struggle for independence and the notable personalities whose sacrifice and patriotic fervor got the country where it is. He is always intrigued about India’s history and refuses to sleep until I read out at least one tale to him.





 Panchatantra Stories in English.
 Panchatantra Stories in English.

Here's a video for The Monkey and the Wedge.



7. Cultural Movie Marathon – Thank God for technology to have sparked kids’ imagination by leaps and bounds! Whenever I teach my little one any lesson on Indian culture, I try to end it with a movie. Doing this helps him remember even the little details about a subject, better. Especially while teaching my son about Indian mythology, films work the best! He is better able to connect with the characters, visually. My Friend Ganesha and Chhota Bheem are his favorite films. 



8. Travel – I have always been fond of traveling and adventure, and I think it’s from me that my child gets it too! In about every three months, we plan a trip to a new part of the country we haven’t seen before. The diversity of India can never cease to amaze you. There’s something new to see and learn from each and every city, town or village of the country. My son carries a travel journal where he makes a note of all the places he has visited and the stories behind each of those places. He also loves to stick a “memory’ of each place in his travel journal.

I love the concept of homeschooling for the very fact that my child gets a lot of first-hand and practical exposure than mere bookish knowledge. It helps widen his horizons and makes learning a memorable and enriching process! You could try these activities to teach your child about other cultures as well. 



 Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.



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Things to do in Tampa with Kids: Lowry Park Zoo

Have you taken your kids to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa?

The Lowry Park Zoo is the perfect thing to do in Tampa with kids. The zoo is consistently voted the #1 zoo in America. We were lucky enough to visit the zoo during Zoominations. Admission to the zoo is all inclusive. That means, buy one ticket and ride as many rides as you want! 

Tampa Zoo African Safari Ride
Don't miss the African safari ride.
We loved Zoominations so much, that it wasn't until we returned home that we realized we hadn't taken any pictures of the animals! Rest assured, the animals are the highlight! Scroll down to learn more about them and other activities at the Lowry Park Zoo. Enjoy!

Things to do in Tampa with Kids: Lowry Park Zoo
Things to do in Tampa with Kids: Lowry Park Zoo.
Zoominations at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.
Zoominations at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.
Sure, every zoo is similar. Every zoo has animals, but the way they live at the Lowry Park Zoo is special. The Aviary is amazing. You walk down a path where birds walk next to you or fly over your head- they aren't afraid. So many beautiful species call this aviary home. The parrot aviary at Busch Gardens (which is near the zoo) was nice, but if you wanted a bird to come see you, you had to buy special food to feed them. 

Chinese dragon picture
Chinese dragon lantern at the Lowry Park Zoo.

What is the meaning of the Chinese Dragon?
What is the meaning of the Chinese Dragon?
Beautiful elephant, Chinese lanterns.
Beautiful elephant, Chinese lanterns.

Cool dude enjoying the food at Wallaby Station.
My kids enjoyed the cafeteria just as much as the rest of the zoo! We have a membership to the Indianapolis Zoo, so we spend a lot of time there. Usually, we pack a lunch. At the Lowry Park Zoo, the food is in a room. Chefs are behind a wall. They have the most popular items ready to grab and go! If you want something else, they will quickly prepare it for you.

Once you've grabbed your main course, you walk to other windows and grab fruit, vegetables, water, drinks, and sides. The cash register is outside the room. There is very little wait time.

During our trip, the kids had their own money to budget. They were thrilled to be able to choose whatever they wanted and pay themselves! Jake didn't want to spend too much. He had a large slice of pizza, fries, and a soft drink for about $8. Mayhem... well, if you are a regular reader, you know how it goes. Mayhem spent about $20! She had the pizza, some fruit, chips, dessert, and drinks. The point is, you don't have to spend a lot of money, but you can if you go crazy! Self-serve isn't for everyone.  :)


Panda lanterns in front of the carousel at the zoo.
Panda lanterns in front of the carousel at the zoo.
Parade Chinese Dragon.
Chinese Dragon.



The elephant lanterns were right outside the Zoo Safari. This is the best safari ride we've ever taken. It is worth the wait. The safari area is enclosed with netting and gates that separate the animals. Many times, the safari vehicle stopped to wait for animals to pass. The guides are excellent! The information is interesting and informative. Feel free to ask questions.

Coy pond lantern sculptures.
Coy pond lantern sculptures.

Dinosaurs at the zoo.
These dinosaurs are Chinese lanterns too!
The primates are fun to watch. Just don't be like Jake! While watching the chimpanzees, he decided to climb a nearby tree. Oh my! I was busy chasing Mayhem, when I realized he wasn't with me. The grandparents found him in the tree. I thought they were joking! Not Jake. Yes, Jake.

While relaxing in a branch, he lost his sandal down the box that surrounded the tree. Yep, it looked like a scary place to go. I kept thinking about snakes, scorpions, and fire ants. Unhappily, (and forced by Mom) he jumped down into the sandy pit and got it. Life has consequences. Luckily, the chimpanzees didn't notice.

Beautiful peacock lanterns.
Beautiful peacock lanterns.

More peacock lanterns.
Koalas, tigers, rhinos, elephants, primates of all sorts, birds of all kinds, ponies, llamas, wolves, black bears, oh my! These are just some of the animals you'll see. There's a log ride, a carousel, train, bumper boats, mini-coaster and more! Shows and talks, and even a manatee hospital! The zoo has lots of vegetation, so it doesn't get too hot. Everyone will find something they enjoy.


Traditional Chinese Lanterns.
Traditional Chinese Lanterns.


Want discount admission? Enjoy the zoo for free on your birthday! If you are a member of your local zoo, you might get discounts or be admitted free with the zoo's reciprocal program.


Recommended:

Make a Chinese Dragon Craft

National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia: 2,500 Animals with Photos, Maps, and More!*

Visit the nearby Manatee Viewing Center

Make a Panda Craft

Zoo by Gail Gibbons*




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