In case you somehow didn’t realize it, Lowry Park Zoo is a world-class zoo located less than 20 minutes from Tampa Palms.

I was therefore thrilled to attend one of five community outreach programs put on by the zoo earlier this month at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club (TPGCC), in support of the zoo’s annual black-tie fund raiser, “Karamu,” which will be held at the zoo on Saturday, April 13.

Lowry Park Zoo CEO Craig Pugh, development director Debbie Duncan and a couple of animal handlers had more than 20 kids, their parents and grandparents and a certain news magazine editor spellbound for about two hours as the kids got up-close-and-personal with (and, in some cases, got to touch) a two-toed sloth, a porcupine, a great horned owl, an alligator, an iguana lizard and a small python. The event was fun, informative and every attendee got a ticket to visit the zoo in the future.

For more info about Lowry Park Zoo and the 25th annual “Karamu” fund raiser, entitled “The Magic of the Silver Screen,” call 935-8552, x225, or visit — GN

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