Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo debuts rhino encounter

By Sara Belsole, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017, 4:18 PM EDT

If you wanted to check out the rhinos at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo in the past, you had to do it from a bridge overlooking their habitat.

But now, you can get up close and personal with Indian rhinos at the zoo's new rhino encounter.

"You are going to be able to come nose to horn with these really rare, amazing creatures," animal care professional Katie Sheppard said. "One of their nicknames is a plated rhino because they look like they have plated armor and their skin is leathery, so that's going to be a new experience for people."

Visitors get to pet and feed the rhinos, but be careful, they are messy eaters. They eat with their mouths open and drool.

The lettuce you get to feed them is just a small snack. The rhinos eat about 120 pounds of hay a day.

"They actually have a finger on their top lip that they use to reach up and get branches so they can eat the leaves off of them," Sheppard said.

Zoo visitors will need to purchase a separate ticket for the rhino encounter. It is $18 per person for members and $20 per person for non-members.

You can buy tickets online by clicking here.