Tampa, Florida is a great city for families to enjoy both entertaining and educational activities, with pleasant weather, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural history, offering great opportunities for indoor and outdoor exploration.
This article lists 17 attractions in the city that cater to children’s interests and development. It helps parents find age-appropriate activities that capture their child’s attention while promoting learning experiences.
These attractions have been chosen based on accessibility, entertainment value, and educational benefits, making them great options for families visiting Tampa. Including them in a travel itinerary can create a memorable adventure for the whole family.
Adventure Island, a water park located in Tampa, Florida, offers an array of activities and attractions suitable for children and families.
Spanning over 30 acres, this amusement destination features both thrilling rides for the adventurous as well as relaxing zones for those seeking respite from the excitement.
Adventure Island offers several thrilling attractions like Aruba Tuba, Calypso Coaster, Colossal Curl, and Riptide, catering to different preferences and thrill levels.
Visitors can enjoy leisurely activities like floating along Rambling Bayou or lounging at shaded cabanas while enjoying refreshments from on-site dining options.
Big Cat Rescue
A visit to Tampa would be incomplete without exploring the extraordinary sanctuary known as Big Cat Rescue.
This accredited facility, spanning over 67 acres, is dedicated to providing a permanent home for abused and abandoned big cats such as lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, and many more exotic species.
This organization focuses on education and advocacy to raise awareness about the captivity and exploitation of magnificent creatures, working towards ending their mistreatment by private individuals and industries.
Guided tours are available at Big Cat Rescue that provides valuable insights into the lives of its feline residents and emphasize the importance of conservation efforts.
During the excursions, visitors have the opportunity to observe these majestic animals up close to designated safe viewing areas.
Moreover, specialty tours are offered throughout the year which cater to various age groups and interests – including Kids Tours specifically designed for younger guests aged 10-17 years old.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
This premier amusement park offers a plethora of entertainment options that cater to various age groups and interests.
Spanning over 335 acres, this African-themed attraction combines elements of wildlife conservation with thrilling rides and live shows, making it an excellent destination for families seeking both excitement and education.
At Busch Gardens, children have the opportunity to encounter diverse species of animals in naturalistic habitats while learning about wildlife preservation efforts.
The park offers roller coasters like SheiKra, Cheetah Hunt, and Tigris for adrenaline enthusiasts, while younger guests can enjoy tamer attractions like Air Grover or Stanley Falls Flume.
Visitors can also attend entertaining performances featuring acrobatics, ice-skating exhibitions, and musical acts throughout the day.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, located 23 miles west of downtown Tampa, is an educational institution that offers a unique and engaging experience for young travelers.
The establishment’s primary focus is the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and otters. Visitors can learn about these creatures through interactive exhibits, presentations, and up-close encounters with knowledgeable staff members.
The aquarium gained recognition due to its most famous resident – Winter the Dolphin. This inspiring tale revolves around Winter being rescued after losing her tail from entanglement in a crab trap line and subsequently receiving a prosthetic tail.
The story of Winter has been captured in the popular movies Dolphin Tale and its sequel, both shot on location at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It offers an enriching atmosphere promoting conservation education and real-life success stories, making it a prominent family-friendly destination in the Tampa Bay area.
Visit Dinosaur World, a unique theme park in Plant City located approximately 35 miles east of Tampa, after Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Immerse yourself in the prehistoric world of dinosaurs and enjoy the experience with children and adults alike.
Dinosaur World has 200 life-sized dinosaur models on 20 acres of lush landscape, with interactive exhibits and activities designed to educate and entertain young minds. The Fossil Dig allows children to uncover real fossils to take home as souvenirs.
It also has dino-themed playgrounds and guided tours led by knowledgeable staff. Families can create lasting memories and gain insights into Earth’s distant past while children play and parents relax.
Florida State Fairgrounds
Visit Florida State Fairgrounds, east of downtown Tampa, for a variety of events including the annual Florida State Fair in February. It’s a remarkable destination for families with children visiting Tampa.
The fair itself offers an abundance of fun activities for children of all ages such as carnival rides, games, educational exhibits, and live entertainment. Visitors can also enjoy diverse food options from classic American fare to exotic international cuisine.
Aside from the festivities, Florida State Fairgrounds houses year-round attractions for kids, including Cracker Country, a living history museum showcasing rural life in Florida during the late 19th century with interactive exhibits and demonstrations.
Kids can learn about historical lifestyles and simpler times through hands-on experiences at the fairgrounds. There are also youth-focused events like equestrian competitions and livestock shows that are both fun and educational.
Great Explorations Children’s Museum
A captivating destination for families with young children in Tampa is the Great Explorations Children’s Museum. This interactive museum, designed to engage and inspire children aged 10 and under, offers an array of activities that foster learning through play.
Located near downtown St. Petersburg, this hidden gem provides a perfect escape from bustling city life while ensuring endless fun for kids and parents alike.
The museum boasts a diverse range of exhibits catering to various interests, such as science, art, music, and technology.
Kids can role-play different professions at “Our Town,” design inventions using recycled materials at “Engineers’ Workshop,” and create music using unconventional instruments at “Music Makers Space.”
The facility frequently hosts special events and programming to keep its offerings fresh and engaging for returning visitors.
Honeymoon Island State Park
Located on a barrier island off the coast of Dunedin, this park provides an opportunity for families to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying various recreational pursuits.
Honeymoon Island State Park boasts over four miles of pristine beaches, ideal for swimming and sunbathing as well as combing for shells and shark teeth.
The park has a 3-mile trail that goes through a virgin slash pine forest in Florida. Visitors can see various plants and animals like gopher tortoises, ospreys, eagles, and armadillos.
There are also picnic areas equipped with grills and playgrounds suited for family gatherings or simple respite after exploring the natural surroundings.
Lowry Park Zoo
A visit to Lowry Park Zoo offers an engaging and educational experience for families with children.
As one of the most popular attractions in Tampa, this renowned zoo is home to over 1,300 animals, spanning various species from around the world.
The 63-acre facility recreates natural habitats for wildlife residents and offers guests up-close encounters and interactive experiences.
Lowry Park Zoo encompasses several distinct areas, each featuring diverse ecosystems and unique animal exhibits.
Among these is Safari Africa, which showcases elephants, giraffes, zebras, and more; Primate World introduces visitors to our closest relatives such as orangutans and chimpanzees; Wallaroo Station immerses guests into Australian flora and fauna inhabited by kangaroos and wallabies.
The manatee rehabilitation center at the zoo serves as both a sanctuary for injured animals and an informative stop for those interested in learning about marine conservation efforts.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Visit Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Tampa, Florida to explore marine life with your family. Learn about conservation and the importance of preserving delicate ecosystems for future generations through their engaging exhibits.
With more than 100 species of marine animals on display, including sharks, manatees, sea turtles, and octopuses, young minds will be captivated by the abundance and diversity of aquatic creatures as they learn about their habitats and behaviors.
One of the highlights of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is its interactive touch pools where children can gently interact with various marine species such as stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and sea cucumbers under expert supervision. Experience narrated training sessions and talks from scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, gaining valuable insights into current research efforts focused on protecting our oceans..
Museum Of Science & Industry
MOSI is an interactive science center with over 100 hands-on exhibits and educational programs to engage children’s curiosity in STEM. It offers opportunities for family bonding and learning experiences.
One popular exhibit at MOSI is the Saunders Planetarium, where visitors can embark on a cosmic journey through the universe with immersive shows about stars, planets, and other celestial bodies.
The BioWorks Butterfly Garden features butterflies and their life cycle in a lush habitat with native plants. The Idea Zone offers tools like 3D printers and laser cutters for children to create and innovate.
Skate Park Of Tampa
Skate Park of Tampa (SPoT) is a top-notch facility for skateboarders of all levels. It offers indoor and outdoor areas with ramps, rails, and obstacles. The spot has attracted skaters from all over the world since 1993.
Visitors can look forward to an array of activities offered by the park including skateboarding lessons for beginners or those seeking improvement under professional guidance.
The Skate Park of Tampa also hosts several events throughout the year such as competitions and demonstrations featuring renowned athletes in the sport. Thus, providing not only recreational opportunities but also inspiring moments that will leave lasting impressions on children’s minds for years to come.
Take A Boat Tour
Boat tours in Tampa offer a chance to explore picturesque surroundings with diverse marine life and coastal vistas. Suitable for both children and adults seeking aquatic adventures.
From tranquil cruises along the Hillsborough River to high-speed rides in search of dolphins.
Guided eco-tours offer wildlife observation in channels lined with mangroves, while pirate-themed cruises provide historical insights for children with lively imaginations. Both are popular tourist choices.
Take A Stand-Up Paddleboard Class
This water-based sport offers an enjoyable combination of physical exercise and exploration of Tampa’s beautiful waterfronts.
SUP has gained significant popularity over recent years as a recreational pastime for individuals and families alike.
Tampa offers paddleboarding lessons for beginners and younger participants, ensuring a safe and memorable experience on the water.
With professional instructors guiding every step of the way, children will develop their balance, coordination, and confidence while learning about local marine life and ecosystems.
The tranquil waters at locations such as Bayshore Boulevard or Weedon Island Preserve create ideal conditions for honing one’s skills before venturing into more challenging areas.
Tarpon Springs Aquarium And Animal Sanctuary
Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary is a family-friendly destination for education and entertainment located in the charming coastal town of Tarpon Springs, north of Tampa.
This captivating establishment showcases a wide variety of marine life and also serves as a sanctuary to rescue animals, providing them with safe shelter and rehabilitation.
A visit to this fascinating facility allows guests to immerse themselves in the wonders of aquatic ecosystems brimming with vibrant colors, peculiar creatures, and mesmerizing displays.
Children can delight in close encounters with sharks, stingrays, eels, seahorses, turtles, and various species of fish while learning about their natural habitats and conservation efforts.
Interactive exhibits like touch pools and feeding times at aquariums inspire young minds to appreciate the beauty of the ocean.
Visitors also have the opportunity to observe rescued reptiles such as alligators and snakes along with exotic birds who have found solace within its nurturing boundaries.
Visiting Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary in Tampa is an enriching adventure through nature that instills an appreciation for biodiversity and preservation initiatives, fostering curiosity in children.
The Bishop Museum Of Science And Nature
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature offers an incredible opportunity for young minds to delve into various scientific disciplines. The museum is located in Bradenton, which is approximately 45 miles south of Tampa.
The museum has exhibits in astronomy, paleontology, and marine biology. The Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat is a notable highlight, allowing children to observe manatees up close and learn about their habitat and conservation.
This state-of-the-art Planetarium offers immersive presentations and visual effects, providing a thrilling journey through outer space. The museum fosters curiosity and passion for science among its youthful attendees.
The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum)
The Dalí, located in downtown St. Petersburg, showcases the mesmerizing works of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, providing an enriching experience for both children and adults.
The Dalí houses one of the most extensive collections of Salvador Dalí’s work outside of Europe. Its thought-provoking exhibitions and distinctive glass architecture draws visitors into the world of surrealism, transforming conventional perceptions of reality.
The Dalí showcases over 2,000 pieces spanning various media related to Salvador Dalí’s life and career. Interactive exhibits engage young minds, and ‘Family Fun Saturdays’ offer art-related activities for different age groups, ensuring an educational yet entertaining experience for the whole family.
A visit to The Dalí fosters creativity and curiosity while providing an unforgettable adventure into the realm of dreamscape and illusion.
Frequently Asked Questions
A 16-year-old can have fun by spending time with friends, pursuing hobbies and interests, and exploring new activities or places.
There are many family-friendly attractions in Tampa, including the Lowry Park Zoo, Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Yes, Tampa is a family-friendly city with many activities and attractions for people of all ages.
Both Orlando and Tampa have their own unique safety concerns, but both cities have overall low crime rates.
Both cities offer a variety of family-friendly attractions and activities, so the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and interests.