St Pete Beach I believe is now officially named that. No longer St. Petersburg Beach.
The better zoo experience is Lowry, not only already an award winning zoo but also I believe now directed by a guy I think I've chatted with in the past when he was at Dyer now named Palm Beach zoo. Two of my favorite smaller zoos. He did an excellent job in West Palm. I don't know his plans for Tampa but he's starting with an excellent facility. My last time there was specifically to pet and feed a white rhino. Fun. Also you can feed & pet the giraffes.
Other excellent animal thangs around Tampa Bay are a wild cat sanctuary, the downtown Florida Aquarium--they do a gr8 job there, I've been about 3 times--and the electric company has a manatee viewing area when in season. Also that region has about the best access to nature so lots of wildlife encounters. Take a mountain bike ride into parkland or hike through them and you might enjoy gators or wild boar or wild turkey--they're so funny--or a cute turtle. Take a boat ride and you'll likely enjoy a dolphin encounter. There's a few hundred around Tampa but even more I think around Sarasota Bay just an hour south by car. I've been out only one time I think where I did not see them and that was in a red tide. And by seeing them I mean they often come right over to you. Look, don't touch or otherwise encourage or harass. They are protected.
And if you happen to find yourself swimming in a school of fish they're feeding on, keep your hands in the ride at all times. I wound up in that situation just once and that was the only time they made me a little nervous. Otherwise they bring great joy. Enjoy.