Tampa, Florida is a fantastic destination for families looking to create lasting memories with their children. With a diverse array of kid-friendly attractions and activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant city. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some exciting things to do in Tampa with kids that promise to make your visit unforgettable.
Our beautiful Tampa Bay area boasts a blend of outdoor adventures, engaging museums, and thrilling theme parks. Whether your family loves exploring nature, learning about history and science, or simply having a blast on roller coasters, Tampa has it all. From the award-winning Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park to the interactive exhibits at local museums, every day can be filled with fun and excitement.
So, pack your bags and get ready to discover why Tampa is the perfect place for your next family adventure! Throughout this article, we will highlight various family-friendly activities and attractions that cater to different interests and age groups, ensuring a fantastic time for the whole family.
Discover Tampa With Your Family
We’ve found several fantastic activities and attractions for you and your family to experience in Tampa, Florida. From thrilling theme parks to interactive museums, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.
One of our top recommendations is ZooTampa at Lowry Park. This family-friendly destination features animals from different regions of the world, engaging exhibits, and close encounters with wildlife. Another place to explore marine life is The Florida Aquarium. Here, you can watch sharks, rays, and other marine creatures up close.
For some outdoor fun, we suggest visiting Lettuce Lake Regional Park. This park offers a picturesque boardwalk through the wetlands, perfect for leisurely strolls, bird-watching, and picnicking. If you’re interested in art and science, make sure to stop by the Glazer Children’s Museum. This hands-on, interactive space is designed to engage and inspire children, making learning a fun experience for the whole family.
Tampa also provides some thrilling experiences for adrenaline junkies. The city is home to the world-famous Busch Gardens theme park, known for its roller coasters and animal exhibits. Featuring a mix of thrilling rides and one-of-a-kind animal encounters, it’s no wonder that Busch Gardens is a favorite destination among visitors of all ages.
Tampa Bay’s public transportation system, TECO Line Streetcar, is not only functional, but also an enjoyable way to explore the city with your family. The vintage streetcars will take you on a historical tour, connecting various cultural and entertainment venues.
For a stroll through the city, we recommend walking along the Tampa Riverwalk. This scenic pathway stretches for miles, providing a delightful path for walking, jogging, or cycling while enjoying views of the Hillsborough River. Don’t forget to stop by Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, where you’ll find playgrounds, water features, and green spaces for picnics.
With so many attractions and activities, Tampa offers endless possibilities for families to create lasting memories together. We hope our suggestions have provided a great starting point for your next family adventure in Tampa Bay.
Top Kid-Friendly Attractions
The Florida Aquarium
As one of the top attractions in Tampa, The Florida Aquarium offers a remarkable experience with marine life and conservation efforts. We found it to be both educational and entertaining for children. The aquarium showcases a diverse range of aquatic animals like sharks, penguins, and dolphins, which foster learning about wildlife and ocean habitats. Conservation efforts are emphasized, effectively teaching children the importance of protecting our planet’s ecosystems.
Glazer Children’s Museum
Glazer Children’s Museum is a must-visit for families looking for an interactive learning experience. This museum offers a plethora of hands-on exhibits and learning opportunities tailored to children, with a focus on creativity, problem-solving, and exploration. From STEM discovery zones to art sections, our young ones will connect with different interests through the playful environment offered in the museum.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
For animal lovers, ZooTampa at Lowry Park is an amazing destination that not only entertains but also educates. With a variety of animals to see up-close, including giraffes, rhinos, and koalas, this zoo also has an animal rehabilitation center which helps injured wildlife. Visiting ZooTampa will not only allow children to see and learn about animals from around the globe, but also promote respect for nature and wildlife conservation.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
For adventure and entertainment value, we highly recommend Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This astounding theme park combines adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, engaging live shows, and mesmerizing encounters with exotic animals. Alongside thrilling rides, Busch Gardens also offers educational experiences and animal interactions for children, making it a perfect balance of fun and learning. As one of Florida’s premier theme parks, it’s an unforgettable destination for the entire family.
Outdoor Adventures and Parks
Hiking and Nature Trails
In Tampa Bay, you and your family can enjoy numerous hiking and nature trails that immerse you in the beauty of Florida’s landscape. Lettuce Lake Regional Park is a popular choice for hiking enthusiasts. In this park, you can explore boardwalks and trails that take you through lush cypress forests with opportunities to observe wildlife.
Additionally, we recommend visiting various state parks in the Tampa area, such as Hillsborough River State Park, which offers scenic views along its many nature trails. These parks can provide a perfect outdoor expedition experience and a chance for your kids to connect with the diverse Florida ecosystem.
Beaches and Water Fun
Surrounded by stunning coastlines, Tampa Bay is home to some of the best beaches in Florida. Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach are famous for their soft sand and clear water, making them excellent spots for swimming and sunbathing.
For a more secluded experience, consider visiting Fort De Soto Park. This historical park hosts beautiful beaches where you can indulge your adventurous side through various water activities.
Another family-friendly option is Ben T. Davis Beach. Located on the popular “Courtney Campbell Causeway”, this beach offers a calm shoreline with picnic areas and recreational facilities.
Kayaking and Water Sports
The Tampa Bay area is a great place to introduce your family to kayaking and other water sports. To provide an educational and unforgettable experience, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium arranges guided tours for families eager to learn about the rich marine life around Tampa Bay.
Hillsborough River offers fantastic kayaking opportunities where you can paddle upstream and admire the dense forest along the river. For stand-up paddleboarding, you might want to check out Tampa Bay SUP mentioned in our search results.
Another option for water sport enthusiasts is the Pirate Water Taxi, which enables families to explore the area while enjoying a unique and fun water experience. This exciting activity can help create lasting memories for your entire family to cherish.
In conclusion, the Tampa area offers a wide variety of outdoor adventures and parks suitable for families with kids. Get ready to embark on unforgettable experiences and explore the natural beauty of Florida.
Cultural and Educational Experiences
Tampa offers a variety of cultural and educational experiences for kids. In this section, we will discuss three key areas where families can explore and learn together: Ybor City and local history, museum visits, and learning and fun at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI).
Ybor City and Local History
Ybor City is one of Tampa’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods, known for its lively atmosphere and rich local culture. Here, families can enjoy a visit to the Columbia Restaurant, which combines dining with Flamenco performances. This historic eatery provides an entertaining and educational insight into one of Florida’s oldest restaurants and the surrounding community.
Just a short distance away is the Tampa Bay History Center, where kids can explore local history through engaging exhibits, interactive displays, and lively storytelling. Families can dive into the area’s past, learning about everything from the indigenous tribes to the cigar-making industry that defined Ybor City in its heyday.
Tampa is home to several excellent museums that provide learning opportunities for kids of all ages. Some popular museums to explore include:
- The Florida Aquarium: Learn about marine life, ecosystems, and conservation efforts at this popular destination for kids and families.
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park: Visit this 63-acre nonprofit zoo, which houses animals from around the world and provides educational programs on wildlife conservation.
- Glazer Children’s Museum: Discover interactive exhibits that engage young minds and spark creativity in this delightful space.
Visiting museums on designated Museum Day events can also provide additional learning experiences and special programming tailored to engage young learners.
Learning and Fun at the MOSI
The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is one of the Tampa Bay area’s premier educational destinations for families. This interactive learning space offers a variety of educational experiences, from hands-on exhibits to guided workshops.
Some highlights of the MOSI experience include:
- Saunders Planetarium: Gaze at the stars and journey through the universe via immersive shows and displays.
- Innovative Science Exhibits: Experiment and learn with interactive displays focusing on topics such as electricity, robotics, and engineering.
- Educational Workshops: Participate in engaging workshops and demonstrations that allow kids to explore scientific concepts and apply learning through hands-on activities.
With these cultural and educational experiences, Tampa offers families a wealth of opportunities to learn, explore, and have fun together.
City Exploration and Entertainment
Downtown and the Tampa Riverwalk
Exploring Tampa’s downtown area with kids can be a fun and engaging experience. One of our favorite places to visit is the Tampa Riverwalk, a pedestrian-friendly path along the Hillsborough River that offers an array of entertainment options. We recommend taking a Pirate Water Taxi ride, a hop-on, hop-off experience that allows you to move from attraction to attraction with ease throughout the day. For a more historical perspective, the TECO Line Streetcar System is another great way to explore downtown Tampa and take in the local culture.
Shopping and Dining
When it comes to shopping and dining in Tampa, we suggest checking out Hyde Park Village, an upscale shopping district with a variety of family-friendly dining options. Armature Works, a mixed-use building in the historic Tampa Heights neighborhood, is another excellent spot for shopping and dining. Here, you’ll find a diverse food hall that provides a fantastic opportunity to sample local flavors.
For a unique dining experience, consider visiting the Columbia Restaurant in the historic Ybor City neighborhood, where you can enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine and a live Flamenco show. It is one of the oldest restaurants in Florida and a true gem within Tampa.
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Special Events and Festivals
Tampa hosts a variety of special events and festivals throughout the year, and many of them are suitable for families with children. One of the most popular events is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, an annual celebration of Tampa’s pirate history. This event features a parade, live music, and various family-friendly activities. To keep up-to-date with what’s happening around Tampa, we recommend checking the local calendar of events before planning your trip. This way, you’ll be sure to catch some of the exciting happenings around town.
In summary, Tampa offers a multitude of entertainment options for families with kids. The downtown area, especially around the Tampa Riverwalk, presents ample opportunities for exploration and fun. Combined with the diverse shopping and dining experiences as well as exciting annual events, you’ll find Tampa to be a family-friendly destination that offers something for everyone.
Relaxation and Leisure
Beach Days and Picnics
One of the best ways to unwind with your family in Tampa is by visiting the beautiful beaches. Clearwater Beach is a popular destination that offers soft white sand and calm waters, perfect for a relaxing day with the kids. There are several playgrounds nearby, making it an ideal spot for children to play while parents catch some sun.
For a more picnic-oriented experience, we recommend visiting Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, which provides ample green space for families to spread out blankets, enjoy a meal, and take part in a variety of recreational activities.
Areas for Tranquility
If you’re in search of tranquil spaces, Florida Botanical Gardens offers a serene environment to explore. With over 120 acres of cultivated gardens, you’ll find a variety of plant life and scenic walking paths for a leisurely stroll.
Another great option for a peaceful day is Honeymoon Island. Located just north of Clearwater, this park boasts unspoiled beaches and quiet nature trails. Consider participating in a family-friendly yoga class to enhance your relaxation experience and connect with the natural beauty of Tampa.
Practical Tips for Visitors
Finding Discounts and Deals
We suggest planning to visit Tampa with kids during the weekdays and during the off-peak season, as many attractions offer discounts and deals during this time. One great resource for finding deals and discounts is through online platforms which often feature reviews and ratings of popular attractions. Some of the main attractions with potential discounts are ZooTampa, The Florida Aquarium, and Busch Gardens. Don’t forget to research any free activities or events going on during your visit that the whole family can enjoy!
When visiting Tampa with kids, we highly recommend the use of public transportation, as it is an easy, accessible, and cost-effective way to explore the city. Some popular options include:
- Trolley: The TECO Line Streetcar provides easy access to many attractions and is both family-friendly and affordable.
- Pirate Water Taxi: This unique transportation option offers great views of the city while keeping children entertained with a pirate theme.
- Buses: Local buses are also a convenient option for getting around Tampa. Be sure to check the schedule and plan accordingly.
Additionally, consider renting a car if you plan on visiting surrounding areas or theme parks located outside the city limits.
Accommodation and Comfort
To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay in Tampa with kids, we recommend looking for family-friendly accommodations, keeping in mind a balance between proximity to attractions and potential noise levels. Conveniently located hotels, vacation rentals, and even campgrounds can be found with useful features such as pools, playgrounds, or family rooms.
Before booking your stay, we encourage you to consult online reviews and ratings from other families who have visited the area. This will ensure that your chosen accommodation meets your family’s needs and provides a pleasant experience for everyone.
Remember to pack essential items for the kids, such as sunscreen, hats, and comfortable shoes for walking and exploring the various attractions Tampa has to offer!