It’s not all about lions and tigers and bears.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo recently announced a refreshed identity, including a new name. It’s now known as ZooTampa at Lowry Park, and has a new logo to match.
But those aren’t the only changes the zoo has ushered in.
“I joined the zoo about two-and-a-half years ago, and when I came on board, I identified one of our needs was to clarify our identity and purpose,” ZooTampa CEO Joe Couceiro tells Coffee Talk.
The zoo started on a discovery process to find its brand essence, or what Couceiro calls its North Star. The nonprofit also developed a mission and vision that helped the brand came to life, he says. “I felt from the start the zoo had good infrastructure, good bones, and we just needed to point ourselves in the right direction.”
Couceiro also announced plans for physical changes at the zoo, including a new water adventure ride called Roaring Springs and upgrading its center that rehabilitates injured manatees.
He says ZooTampa looked to several zoos for inspiration, but it didn’t model itself after any one zoo in particular. Instead it borrowed ideas from different institutions and put spins on them so they were more conducive to ZooTampa’s market, Couceiro says.
“In order to be successful, relevant and financially sustainable, we need to entertain folks when they go to the zoo,” he says. The zoo is focused on creating experiences for visitors, Couceiro says, especially moments within trips to the zoo they hope people will remember long after leaving the gates — experiences such as seeing a giraffe for the first time.
It’s also important, he says, that the zoo conveys its wildlife conservation mission to visitors while educating and inspiring them on the preservation of animals. “The expectation for quality is very high,” Couceiro says. “There are an awful lot of options for people’s leisure time. We have to be more than a zoo, but never lose sight of the focus on animal protection and conservation.”
The updates at the zoo will also include a transformation of its Florida Wilds section, expanding its ability to care for Florida wildlife, such as black bears, Key deer and panthers.
“We feel we’re a vital component of the Tampa Bay region and the surrounding counties, and we want to make sure we live up to that,” Couceiro says. “We’re very proud of where we are, and we’re excited for the future.”