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Tampa, Fla - Public Transporation In and Around

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I'm planning a short getaway to Tampa, but I'm stumbling over some of the arrangements and was hoping someone here could offer advice.

We're flying into Clearwater/St. Petersburg (PIE) airport and spending the first night near there (saw lots of hotel listings near the airport, with shuttles, so that shouldn't be a problem).

The first day, we'd like to go to Lowry Park Zoo. I checked out the public transportation but it would take 2 hours to get there? Thinking a public taxi might be the fastest alternative. How would that work with entering the park, drop-off, walking distance to the gate, etc.?

From there we're thinking about staying at Gram's Place (could we walk there from the zoo?) because we like hostels and it seems close to everywhere we want to go -- plus they offer transportation.

But when the trip is done, getting from Gram's Place back to PIE airport ... would you think a cab is the fastest way, or is there a fast public transit route?

Thanking you in advance ...

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