Go Wild In Tampa

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Florida is well known for its almost perennial sunshine, enormous theme parks and breathtaking beaches. However, what you might not realise is that it is also a great place to get down and dirty with some incredible wildlife – for the best of this wilderness head on over to Tampa for some rip-roaring family fun.

Help a Cat Out at Big Cat Rescue

Tampa big cat rescue
[Photo by stefanie kraus – Flickr]
If you like your big cats without a smidgeon of guilt, Big Cat Rescue is the place for you – founded as a sanctuary in 1992 it houses animals which have been kept as circus animals, bred in to the fur trade or kept as pets. It now houses around 80 big cats, including lions, tigers and cougars. In order to witness this in action, book a tour in advance and support this amazing charity.

Go on Safari

tampa wilderness safari ranch
With 260 acres of land, The Wilderness Safari Ranch has a truly authentic feel. In order to see the lemurs, zebras, tortoises and deer that the ranch houses you can explore either by jeep, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, on a camel tour. There are opportunities to feed the lemurs, but what really appeals to us is the chance to feed a colony of guinea pigs – who doesn’t want to be approached by a group of these furry critters, happy to see you?

Canoe Down the Hillsborough River

tampa hillsborough river
[Kerry Wixted – Flickr]
The Hillsborough River creeps between 16,000 acres of lush national wildlife preserve and the best, and most exhilirating way to explore this area is on a canoe tour down the river. On the way you can expect to see turtles, ibis and even alligators! This is a serious work out with a difference. Companies such as the Canoe Escape offer self guided tours to allow you to linger on the critters that catch your interest, and paddle swiftly away from those that frighten you a bit more.

Go Deep Sea Fishing

tampa deep sea fishing
[Lauren Liston – Flickr]
If fish are more your forte, then Tampa still has plenty to offer for you. Deep Sea Fishing is a seriously popular activity in this Florida city and it’s not hard to see why. With fishers not only catching dinner, but seeing whale sharks and rays, it’s a fab day out even for those who are not big fishing fans. Itrekkers gives you the opportunity to compare the different fishing charters available allowing you to make a well informed decision.

Head to the Zoo

tampa lowry park zoo
[Matthew Paulson – Flickr]
For more traditional family fun head on over to the Lowry Park Zoo – the zoo is separated out into continents and highlights include the playful African penguins, the unusual looking Cownose Stingray and the Florida manatee, unique to this area of the world. As a bonus, there are currently two elephant calves at the zoo and seeing them frolicking around could warm the coldest of hearts.

Visit a Working Dairy

tampa dakin dairy farms
[Rick Schwartz – Flickr]
Venture a little further out to Dakin Dairy Farm – a sustainable farm which every year from October to June allows the public on to its 1000-acre site. From bottle feeding long-lashed calves, to pig races and the chance to make your own butter this is a great place for a family day out! As well as offering some seriously endearing opportunities, this dairy farm acts to educate the public on the production of milk – making you appreciate the finished product that you buy at the supermarket!

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