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ZooBoo celebrates its 15th anniversary at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

by Banks Lee

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Tickets are now on sale for the thrills, chills and family frights of ZooBoo, Tampa’s largest family Halloween event, opening Sept. 27-28 with Shriek Peek Preview Weekend.

The ZooBoo experience includes five hair-raising haunts, seasonal displays and lights, mysterious music, a specialty gift shop, night rides and eerie adventures for “monsters” of all ages. The newest haunt, “French Quarter Phantoms 3D,” explores the secret and sinister side of one of one of the “most haunted cities in America,” the Big Easy.

The haunted attractions at ZooBoo are designed to provide a frightening experience for those who choose to participate without depicting violence or gore. Extensive decorations, animatronics, lights, sound effects, and costumed actors in designated haunts scare up a good time.

HAUNTS
A “skull” rating system is assigned to each attraction to clearly indicate the scare factor. Seven is the most intense and is intended for mature audiences. One skull is family-friendly for little boys and “ghouls.” Because of their outdoor settings, Wake The Dead, Tangled Terror and Fright Theater 3D do not open until dusk.

• NEW! French Quarter Phantoms 3D (3 skulls): Haunted by phantoms and the city’s notorious past, New Orleans has been called “the most haunted city in America.” Explore the secret and sinister side of the Big Easy and discover where the spirits still dwell. Enter through a mysterious mansion, cross the dark waters of the bayou, and escape the foreboding French Quarter, if you can.

• Wake the Dead (6 skulls): Tampa Bay has many scary legends… and this year one of the most terrifying is unearthed! Meet your ghost host in person and listen carefully as he warns you of the perils to come as you venture into the graveyard darkness with the un-dead. Zombies and giant ghostly apparitions do their best to keep you as one of their permanent residents.

• Tangled Terror (7 skulls): A hybridization experiment with carnivorous plants fails. The subject plants all die…but come back to life! Ravenous, they begin their terrifying hunt for food. But only one thing will devour their undying hunger…revenge on their mad scientist creators. Don’t get tangled up in their path or you might become dinner.

• Pharaoh’s Tomb of Revenge (6 skulls): Far from the burial ground discovered in an Egyptian desert, a tomb full of findings, purchased and relocated by an eccentric tycoon, is being reassembled for display by all. Everything seems well, until unsettled spirits attached to the artifacts come alive and unleash the curse of the Pharaoh.

• Fright Theater 3D: Trapped in Time (3 skulls) A famous movie palace called “The Lowry,” once located on the banks of the Hillsborough River, has mysteriously re-appeared. The films from the 1950s are still burning up the screen in the now dilapidated theater. Enter the movie screen itself and become part of the films shown long ago.

FAMILY FAVORITES (All rated 1 skull)

• Little Beasties Bungalow: Walk into a world of dazzling lights and friendly Halloween scenes, smiling monsters and not-so-scary characters.

• Flying Fox / Bat House: Fly by the Zoo’s Bat House, featuring a group of “Flying Fox,” the largest bats in the world.

• Spooky Fun Fair: A frightfully fun inflatables area with NEW Dora/Diego Adventure Bounce and games of skill like Monster Basketball, Pumpkin Pitch and more.

• Fun and Free Rides: Shake, rattle and roll for free! Take a spin on our one of the Zoo’s wild rides, re-named for the occasion: NEW Batty Bumper Boats, Pumpkin Patch Express, Roarin’ Roller-Ghoster, Flyin’ Boo-nanas, Flume of Fear, and Scary-Go-Round.

Children (ages 11 and under) are invited to come to ZooBoo in their most spooktacular attire. Toy weapons of any sort will not be permitted. For the comfort and safety of all guests, adults ages 12 and older are prohibited from wearing masks, wigs, face paint or costumes of any kind.

The Zoo’s signature spooktacular event takes place Sept. 27-28 (Shriek Peek Preview Weekend) and continues October 4-5, 11-13, 18-20 and 24-27. Hours are 7-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7-10 p.m. on other select nights. Purchase tickets online at lowryparkzoo.com/zooboo or at the Zoo’s front gate.

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