Tampa, situated conveniently on the gulf coast of Florida, is the perfect city to enjoy with family and friends. Whether you are looking to relax by the water, go out on the town with friends, or experience one of Tampa’s many amusement and state parks, this city has got you covered.
However, many people don’t know that Tampa has some insanely cool museums that are worth a visit while you’re here. Plus, you don’t have to be an art fanatic to enjoy many of these museums! Read below to find out about the exciting museums Tampa has to offer, and we promise there’s something for everyone, and you won’t be left disappointed.
First up, we have a museum option if you’re visiting with kiddos of all ages. The Glazer Children’s Museum is a great museum if you want to enjoy some interactive exhibits with your kids, and boy, do they have a long list of exhibits worth seeing.
Between a light cloud, a firehouse, an engineer’s workshop, a veterinary clinic, a global café, and much more, the opportunities are endless. Your children will probably want to stay here all day. The 16 different exhibits each allow your child to try out a different identity, and who knows, maybe they’ll discover something they love.
Tickets are $13 for children and $15 for adults; members go for free. For such a low price, you really do get a bang for your buck at the Glazer Children’s Museum. What’s also great about this children’s museum is that if you don’t have the chance to make it here with your kids while you’re visiting Tampa, they have a number of virtual field trips that you can access from anywhere. This is a great option if you are stuck at home with the kids and are in need of something to keep them entertained and engaged.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10am-5pm | Saturday, 10am-6pm | Sunday 1-6pm
Address: 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
Tampa Museum of Science and Industry (known as MOSI for short) is a very popular museum for people with all different interests. MOSI’s exhibits are interactive and innovative, so there’s something for everyone. They have a planetarium, a dinosaur lab, a mind mysteries lab, and even a virtual reality lab.
One of their most exciting upcoming exhibits is called “Connectus.” You can come face-to-face with the future, and according to MOSI, it is unlike any other exhibit in America. During this exhibit, you are faced with a number of different questions about what the future holds for our world, and then you can “touch tomorrow” yourself during an interactive open space display. Who knows what the future holds? All we know is that this sounds like a pretty cool opportunity to get a sense of what in the world is coming our way.
General admission to MOSI’s permanent exhibits costs $12.95 per adult and $7.95 for children, so be sure to visit their website to discover which temporary exhibits are available depending on when you’re hoping to visit. Also, some of the temporary exhibits may cost more if they are considered an “add-on” exhibit, such as the virtual reality simulator or the sky-high ropes course, which is a great option for the more adventurous of the group.
Hours: 10 am-5 pm seven days a week
Address: 4801 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33617
The Tampa Museum of Art is a no-brainer for all of you art lovers, and even if you aren’t, this museum is a must-see. With rotating exhibitions, this museum is ever-changing, and current exhibitions include the Karam Collection, The Classical World, Stories of Ancient Heroines and Everyday Women, Florida Outsider Art, and more. They maintain a wide variety of exhibits so that all visitors can enjoy what they offer.
If you choose to visit, be sure to stop by the Riverwalk Cafe, which serves handcrafted lunch.
Tickets cost $20 for adults and $5 for K-12 students. Students under six can go for free, as well as college students with a student ID, which is an added bonus!
Hours: 10 am- 5 pm seven days a week
Address: 120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
Although the Tampa Firefighters Museum is only available by appointment only as of Nov. 24, this museum is a fascinating place and kid-friendly option while you’re visiting Tampa. At this time, they are only accepting reservations for small parties and not large groups. However, this works out nicely if you are someone who prefers a quieter setting.
The Tampa Firefighters museum aims to preserve the heritage of the Tampa Fire Department and promote life safety education and fire prevention within the Tampa community. The museum was built in 1911 as a historic building and is a non-profit organization. It served as the original department headquarters until a modern building was built across the street in the late 1970s.
The main exhibit includes photographs, mannequins of old firefighter gear and allows you to learn about the ways firefighters had to communicate with Tampa residents back in the early 20th century. They also have an interactive children’s area that takes a hands-on fire safety educational approach.
Hours: By reservation only
Address: 720 E Zack St Tampa, FL 33602
Founded in 1933, the Henry B. Plante Museum transports you back in time to the Tampa Bay Hotel. It takes you through interactive exhibits that help you understand what life was like over a century ago, allowing you to immerse yourself in the history of the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel. The mission of the museum is to interpret the Tampa Bay Hotel and seek to understand what life was like back in the late 1800s.
The Tampa Bay Hotel was envisioned by Henry Bradley Plante himself, a very wealthy man who oversaw an empire of railroads, steamships, and hotels. The Tampa Bay hotel was among the first in Florida to be completely electric and even had a barbershop, a shoe-shine room, a flower shop, a music room, a formal dining room, and more. Henry B. Plante and his empire had a transformative effect on the city of Tampa itself, so the museum was created in his honor, in the very hotel that was once his.
Hours: Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday: Noon - 5 pm
Address: 401 W. Kennedy Boulevard Tampa, FL 33606
Ybor City is recognized as Tampa’s national historical landmark district and has a rich history and culture. Known as “the cigar capital of the world,” Ybor City is an exciting place to visit, and the museum will transport you back in time to the early 20th century.
The museum is set in the 1923 era. It has both an urban park and a number of historical exhibits, in which you can learn more about life for a typical cigar-worker family’s home and the role Ybor City played in the city of Tampa’s development.
You can enjoy a guided tour through the museum or make your way through the exhibits and park yourself, learning more about the immigrants who settled in Ybor City and the legacy they left in the city of Tampa. The Mediterranean-style garden also holds special events and can be used for weddings, birthday parties, and conventions alike. Between the historical exhibits, the gardens, and the rich culture of Ybor City today, you can spend an entire day right in Ybor City.
Admission is $4 per person and free for children age five and under.
Hours: Wednesday- Sunday, 9 am, 5 pm
Address: 1818 E 9th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
It’s important to understand the historical context of the place that you’re in, whether you’re new to Tampa or just in for a quick visit. Visiting a museum helps you get a better sense of place, especially if you are traveling beyond just downtown and the waterfront. You will be able to rest assured that you understand more about the city of Tampa itself and not just its incredible attractions.
Lucky for you, Tampa’s impressive list of museums allows you to peer into the city’s past or look ahead into what the future holds for an evolving place like Tampa. You can even show your appreciation for this great city by wearing a shirt that honors the Cuban sandwich or reps Champa Bay. Now, if you haven’t already, go ahead and book that trip. What could possibly be holding you back?
Glazer Children’s Museum | Glazer
Tampa Museum of Science and Industry | MOSI