Natural-habitat exhibits include Safari Africa, where a herd of African elephants (including two calves) is free to roam, make the 56-acre Lowry Park Zoo one of the best midsize zoos in the country. Asia gardens features two clouded leopards, and residents of Ituri Forest include a cheetah and lovably plump pygmy hippos. As you stroll through, keep an eye out for okapis, a rare forest giraffe from Central Africa. The stars at Primate World range from cat-size lemurs to a family of heavyweight Bornean orangutans that love to ham for the camera.
For hands-on experiences, Lowry has more options than most large parks, including chances to feed a giraffe, hold a colorful lorikeet, or touch a slippery stingray. Majestic red-tailed hawks and other raptors put on a show at the Birds of Prey Center, and a flock of majestic macaws soars through the zoo in a one-of-a-kind free-flight experience each day at 10:15 and 2. You can come face-to-face with Florida manatees at the Manatee Aquatic
Center, the only nonprofit manatee hospital on the planet.
Dwindling native species like Florida panthers, black bears, and red wolves may be tough to find in the wild, but you can easily find them at the Florida Wildlife Center. Adorable koalas, wallabies, and emus populate the Wallaroo Station children's zoo. There are also water-play areas, rides (all of which are included with zoo admission), shows, and restaurants.