I really love animals! What are some fun places near USF for animal lovers?

For those of us who can't get enough of animals, the USF Tampa area is the perfect place to live. Some apartments may accept your beloved dog or cat but a bear is out of the question! Don't fret –residents who choose apartments near USF have the opportunity to visit rare and exotic animal species just miles away from their home. Don't forget to bring your camera, because many of these places offer close and personal interactions that you won't want to forget.

One of the most popular attractions in Tampa is the Lowry Park Zoo, which has more than 1,500 animals and 56 acres of habitats for visitors to enjoy. If you're looking for interactive exhibits, you won't be disappointed by Lowry Park Zoo's multiple hands-on and educational opportunities to meet and even feed several species of animals. Fascinated by white rhinos? Lowry Park is one of the only zoos in the country that lets you get up close and touch one of these majestic animals. If you're not afraid of some slobber, don't miss the giraffe feedings – they will slurp a cracker right out of your hands! For another unique experience, visit Lorikeet Landing, where you'll have dozens of colorful parrots fighting for the nectar cup in your hands. We hope you don't have sensitive ears because these territorial birds are very vocal when their peers challenge them for food! You can take a break from walking around zoo and enjoy a ride on the Expedition Africa Guided Tour, where you can get a clear view of monkeys, elephants, and much more. Many apartments near USF are located close to the interstate which will guide you straight to the zoo.

Would you rather go under the sea – down where it's better, down where it's wetter? The Florida Aquarium is sure to make all your scaly dreams come true. Voted one of the top 10 aquariums in the country, the Florida Aquarium offers several animal exhibits, an outdoor adventure water zone, live shows, and a wild dolphin adventure cruise. Certified scuba divers (15 years or older) have the chance to swim with enormous sharks in an experience called “Dive with the Sharks.” If you're not certified, you can always dive with the fish in the coral reef replica instead. Only want to get a hand wet? Stop by Stingray Beach and feel the slippery fins of 10 different stingray species as they steal your shrimp morsels. We know you'll want to set up a 20-gallon fish tank in your new apartment after your visit to the Florida Aquarium. Rent Tampa Bay can help you find apartments near USF that will welcome your new pets!

These are only two of the best animal lover spots in Tampa near USF. You can also visit Big Cat Rescue, a massive sanctuary in Tampa for many species of wild cats, including jaguars, leopards, lions, tigers, cheetahs, and several other lesser known species. Don't forget to call ahead or book a tour online before your visit. The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium are other great places to get your animal fix. You can use our website to find which USF apartments are closest to your destination.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTampaBay.com or any of our advertising partners.