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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo celebrates ZooBoo’s 13th year of family frights

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Halloween is coming to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. One of Tampa’s largest family Halloween events is getting ready for its 13th year. Meander through monstrous marshes and escape carnivorous creeping vines during ZooBoo.

The Lowry Park Zoo is offering guests a “Shriek Peek” preview of ZooBoo on Sept. 23 and 24 for $10 per person. Event nights continue Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23 and 27-30. Hours are 7-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7-10 p.m. on select Sundays and Thursdays.

At the zoo, guests will experience five hair-raising haunts, seasonal lights, free rides, creepy creatures, and eerie adventures for guests of all ages.

The haunted attractions at ZooBoo provide a haunting experience without using violence or gore. Local drama club students appear as costumed character actors in some of the haunted attractions. A “skull” rating system of one to seven is assigned to each attraction to indicate the scare factor. Seven is the most intense and is intended for mature audiences and one skull is family-friendly.

This year’s five haunted attractions are Tangled Terror (7 skulls*), Pharaoh’s Tomb of Revenge (6 skulls*), Declassified: Project Alien (7 skulls), Shipwrecked! Terror of Doom Island (5 skulls) and Fright Theater 3D: Trapped in Time (3 skulls*).* Designates haunts with costumed character actors.

Family events that are all rated one skull include the Spooky Fun Fair an all new inflatables area with Mega Raptor Dino Slide and games of skill like Monster basketball, and Pumpkin Pitch. The Little Beasties Bungalow allows families a chance to walk and view friendly Halloween scenes, holiday lights, and smiling monsters in a not-so-scary forest.

A number of Halloween themed rides will also be open during the event. These rides are the popular Zoo’s rides re-named for the occasion: Pumpkin Patch Express (kiddie train), Roarin’ Roller-Ghoster (family coaster), Flyin’ Boo-nanas (kiddie flying bananas ride), Flume of Fear (water flume ride), and Scary-Go-Round (carousel).

Most of the Zoo animals are not available for viewing during night events but specific wildlife will be hanging around waiting to entertain. At Creepy Crawlers Lane arachnids and insects will be crawling about. Inside the bat house guests can see a group of “Flying Fox” bats which are the largest bats in the world.

Admission for Shriek Peek weekend (Sept. 23-24 only) is reduced to $10 per person ages 3 and up. General admission for all other nights is $17 for adults, $14 for children ages 3-11, and free for children age 2 and under. Parking is free. Tickets may be purchased online or at the Zoo’s front gate during normal business hours.

The Zoo School at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is also getting into the Halloween spirit with spooktacular seasonal programs: a ZooBoo Family Sleepover is scheduled for Oct. 8; Halloween-themed birthday parties with ZooBoo admission are available from 5:30-7 p.m. on select ZooBoo nights; and “Family Flock” Boo Zoo classes (for ages 2-5 with a parent or guardian) are Oct. 25-28. Registration for education programs is required no less than one week in advance, and is available online. Space is limited.

ZooBoo is a fundraiser for the zoo, a nonprofit organization, with proceeds benefiting animal care and education programs.

Visit LowryParkZoo.com for more information.

Here’s a look at the Pharaoh’s Tomb of Revenge haunted house from the 2010 event:

Lowry Park Zoo Boo haunted house walkthrough of Pharaoh's Tomb of Revenge 2010
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