Orlando isn’t the only place in Florida for kids to love. Tampa offers many attractions for families, including amusement parks, outdoor adventures and child-friendly museums. Here are the ten top choices for your family to enjoy.
Dinosaur World is a chain of attractions in Florida, Kentucky and Texas. The Florida location offers 20 acres of attractions with 200 true-to-life models of dinosaurs. Kids can become a paleontologist for the day and participate in a fossil dig and dinosaur bone discovery at the boneyard. There are interactive cave tours, and you can buy a bag with gemstones and sort through it to find real gems at the Dino Gem mine. The facility even allows dogs on leashes. Bring snacks and drinks. Dinosaur World is located 30 minutes outside of Tampa, in Plant City.
Glazer Childrens Museum
Located downtown, this museum was created in 1986. A visit here allows kids to role-play jobs like veterinarian, actor, physician, engineer, sailor or fireman, to name a few. Kids can also visit world cultures in the Global Cafe. The museum is targeted to kids up to the age of ten, accompanied by an adult.
Amusement Park, Zoo
Busch Gardens is one of the largest zoos in North America, home to 12,000 animals including lions, tigers, cheetahs, giraffes and gorillas. There are specialized tours with elephants, penguins and tigers as well as safaris, animal feedings and “keeper for a day” experiences. Children’s activities include kid-friendly rides at the Sesame Street Safari of Fun, jungle maze climbing at Treetop Trails and interactive shows.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
This 56-acre zoo located at Lowry Park was started in 1930 and has grown into a major family-friendly attraction. There are over 1,300 animals in residence, including hippos, rhinoceros, orangutans, elephants and penguins. For adults there are Zoo Brews and yoga events. If you’re looking to experience exotic animals in a quieter setting and want to escape the crowds at the other parks in town, this attraction is for you.
With over 20,000 aquatic animals and plants, the Florida Aquarium offers visitors a chance to connect with the sea. Sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, and spiny lobsters are visible in the 500,000-gallon tank aquarium, which includes a tunnel to walk through for all-around views of the animals. Above the replica of the Dry Tortugas Park, you can have a fun snorkel adventure and swim with the fish at an exciting in-water reef experience. Ideal for kids, the aquarium also has a playground with a waterslide and pirate ship.
Adventure Island is a water park affiliated with Busch Gardens that offers corkscrew slides, waterfalls, a huge wave pool, lazy rivers and several areas just for kids, such as Fabian’s Fun Port, Paradise Lagoon and Splash attack. There is food available at the park, along with a surf shop and changing facilities. The park has a height requirement for rides, coolers are not allowed and there is a fee for parking.
Museum of Science & Industry
The Tampa Museum of Science & Industry calls itself a scientific playground for all ages, offering over 100 hands-on activities. There is also a planetarium, a roller coaster simulator and an outdoor ropes course. Tickets can be bought as part of Tampa Bay’s CityPass
Altitude Trampoline Park
With 24,000 square feet of trampolines, Altitude also has a foam pit and a rock climbing wall, and basketball, gymnastics and dodgeball are also offered, making this fun central for kids. Downloadable waivers are available online to speed up admission, and nearby businesses allow for adults to shop and see a movie while children enjoy the trampoline park.
Gametime is a large arcade, sports bar and restaurant, allowing fun for the whole family. There are over 60 television screens playing sports of all kinds, as well as mini bowling. This facility is located in Centro Ybor in Ybor City, and has recently received a $1 million renovation. It is a great place for kids’ parties, as it allows for adult drinks.
Vertical Ventures is an indoor rock climbing gym that’s perfect for climbers of all skill levels. It doesn’t matter if this is your first try at rock climbing or if you’re a veteran, there are levels to satisfy all groups. It’s a different way to work out and get exercise instead of a traditional gym – and more fun! With over 6,000 sq feet of climbing and with introductory lessons, it’s a healthy activity the entire family can enjoy.