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Wild Wonderland at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

by Meghann on December 8, 2012

It’s beginning to look like Yelp-mas around here!


This month’s Yelp Elite event brought us to Wild Wonderland at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. For select nights in the month of December, the zoo lights up with over a million twinkling lights for Wild Wonderland. Visitors can take photos with santa, meet a real reindeer, and ride down a 100 ft arctic slide.


I’d never been to Lowry Park Zoo before, but I heard great things about it and anything with a festive theme is an automatic win in my book. We arrived minutes after the park opened for the Wild Wonderland festivities and couldn’t believe how packed it was. There were families with kids everywhere. I jokingly told Derek we should have borrowed a toddler for the night, we were definitely the kid-free oddballs in the crowd.


I was immediately impressed with all of the gorgeous lights everywhere. As soon as you walk in you’re hit with bright twinkling lights, a flurry of fake snow, and Christmas music blasting over the loudspeaker – if you weren’t feeling the Christmas spirit before you walked in, then you were definitely feeling it after.



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We oohed and awed at the lights, then headed to the special Yelp “VIP” area for snacks and drinks.



You can always count on Yelp for free drinks – score!


We had light apps to snack on with our drinks.

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They were light, but tasty. I went back for seconds on everything (with plans of getting a real meal after the event).


After we got our drink and grub on, we headed back out to see some of the beautiful winter sights the zoo had to offer.


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Yes, I wore shorts. It was a muggy 80 degrees this evening – where did all that cool weather we enjoyed over Thanksgiving disappear to?!



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So. Much. Fun.


My only complaint was the heavy crowds – the zoo was PACKED! Good for the zoo, bad for anyone too impatient to wait in long lines for anything. We gave up on a couple of things (including the arctic slide!) because we didn’t want to wait, but the good news is you could skip a lot of those things and still have a great time. We entertained ourselves admiring the endless light displays and saying hello to the animals. If you have kids, Wild Wonderland would definitely be a win. There’s a fun game area they an hang out in and there’s never an age limit on admiring the magic of twinkling lights!

Thank you Yelp and Lowy Park Zoo for getting us in the holiday spirit tonight!

We made a late night pit-stop at Taco Bus for tacos after our Wild Wonderland adventures.


I ordered the pollo verde taco and stole some bites of Derek’s burrito. Taco Bus ROCKS!

Are you heading to any holiday themed events this month?

1 Annette @FitnessPerks December 9, 2012 at 12:12 am

That looks so fun! I love all the lights & the cool displays.

Yay for fun holiday evenings!
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Last Chance Survey (a bit late…)

2 Charlie (therunnerbeans) December 9, 2012 at 5:34 am

I went to Winter Wonderland in London last week. I could definitely have done with some warmer weather, it was freezing cold and wet!! Your evening looks so fun!
Charlie (therunnerbeans) recently posted..Fancy Dress Ball

3 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 9, 2012 at 6:58 am

what a fun event! I love Christmas lights; they almost make it impossible to be a Grinch during the holiday season. 🙂
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

4 Sara December 9, 2012 at 7:51 am

Looks like fun! Is that a wedding ring Derek is wearing??

5 Brittany December 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

I thought I was seeing things and had to make sure I remembered my right hand from my left. Yes, is he wearing his ring?

6 jane December 9, 2012 at 10:25 am

i noticed the same thing! is he already wearing his wedding ring?!

7 Meghann December 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

ha! Yes, he is. He’s been wearing it around the house, I guess he forgot to take it off before we went to the zoo. What can I say? He loves his ring and is eager to start wearing it full time. 🙂

8 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles December 9, 2012 at 9:05 am

I’ve had my two Christmas parties, I think that’s it until the actual family celebrations. I love zoos and haven’t been to one in so long! Thinking I’m going to get the boyfriend to take me to Metro Zoo in Toronto this summer.
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..It Tastes Like Christmas.

9 Dione December 9, 2012 at 9:33 am

If you would like to experience cooler weather come to Edmonton! Currently -22c this morning with a -31c windchill. And we have had some major dumps of snow that began in October. You can even borrow my goose down parka and alpaca scarf and toque:). The deep freeze should be lifting later this afternoon and warm up for a couple days (-6c) so I should be able to switch back to my lighter wool coat, and it will feel balmy.

10 Sara @ fitcupcaker December 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

Our zoo has a festival of lights and we are going to the holiday train display at the childrens museum! I love the holidays.
Sara @ fitcupcaker recently posted..25 Days Christmas – Days 1-8

11 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats December 9, 2012 at 11:40 am

I am a huge zoo fan so this would have been my dream night lol I am super jealous of all these yelp events too. Fl weather has def not been wintery this season :/
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Ooey Gooey homemade cookies

12 Tiffany @dynamics of happy December 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Has anyone ever said that Derek looks like marko jaric aka Adrianna Lima’s hubs?
Tiffany @dynamics of happy recently posted..Lucky girl

13 cathy@1970kikiproject December 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

great photos of the lights and displays! boy, i would love to be in tampa right about now (i am canadian!).
i live right across from waterloo park where we currently have “the wonders of winter” light displays – i love walking through there at this time of year! (as long as i am bundled up!).

14 Jenny December 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Is Derek already wearing his wedding ring? How sweet!

15 Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper December 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

This. Is. AWESOME. I’ve never really gone to the zoo in the winter (probably because it’s too cold where I live), but events like this would definitely make me go!
Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper recently posted..Links For All: 12/9/12

16 BroccoliHut December 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm

My hometown’s zoo (The Birmingham Zoo) has a “Zoolight Safari” every year, which is a smaller scale version of Wild Wonderland. They’ve been doing it for years–I even had my 12th birthday party there! We stopped going for a while after that, but now that my sisters have children we’ve started making it a holiday tradition again.

17 Liz December 10, 2012 at 3:30 am

Those lights looked amazing. Great photos. I wonder if all that action freaked out he animals. I’m sure they are use to it being quite and dark at night. 🙂 Looks like you guys had a lot of fun. It’s Florida wonderful. I love the weather there.
Liz recently posted..FD213 – Hazardous Waste Pit in My Sink?..Soap Box Sunday

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