Located along Florida’s stunning gulf coast, the city of Tampa is home to vibrant nightlife and gorgeous views of the bay. However, it is also home to some fantastic kid-friendly attractions that are worth a visit.
When visiting a city with children, it can be hard to find activities that children and parents can both enjoy. Lucky for you, though, there are plenty of attractions in Tampa that people of all ages will love. We’ve listed our favorites below.
The Florida Aquarium is a must-visit. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship of the natural environment. They actively work to protect our planet through conservation efforts. The aquarium holds a wide variety of aquatic animals, and they state that their three core values are respect, trust, and excellence.
Tickets go for roughly 30 dollars for adults and between 25 and 30 dollars for children; they vary slightly depending on what time you book. This means that you should book your tickets far in advance if you are planning a trip to Tampa (or Champa Bay, as it’s affectionately called)!
Along with the fascinating exhibits, the aquarium offers a kid’s outdoor water play and splash zone. There’s also a 4-D theatre exhibit located in their very own 4-D outdoor theatre, which is an exciting interactive experience for kids.
Catering more to adults and older children, the aquarium also presents a set of short documentary films about Florida’s Reef Tract, which is the third-largest barrier reef in the world. This is presented as an interactive digital display. They also have an aquatic lounge in their mosaic center!
Visiting an aquarium with your family will create lasting memories, and a trip to Tampa is the perfect place to see the most extraordinary aquatic animals with children.
Hours: 9:30 am- 7 pm, seven days a week
Address: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
Busch gardens might be every child and parent’s dream. It is an African-themed amusement park with rides, safari tours, restaurants, shops, and more. Whether you are trekking across a 65-acre Serengeti plain on an open-air touring vehicle or enjoying a drink in their brand new giraffe bar, the opportunities are endless.
Perhaps the best thing about Busch Gardens is that there really is something for everyone. If your kids are animal lovers, you can embark on a Serengeti tour, which will allow you to see rhinos, cheetahs, tigers, giraffes, and more. If they are looking to cool down from the Florida heat, head to Adventure Island, located just north of Busch Gardens. This area features water slides, a lazy river, and plenty of swimming pools, as well as virtual reality snorkeling.
If you are looking for entertainment, you are going to the right place. Busch Gardens holds seasonal kid-friendly entertainment shows, with an impressive upcoming lineup of events including Christmas Town, Sesame Street Kids weekends, a Food and Wine Festival, as well as Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo festivities.
Busch Gardens has got you covered for food, too. There are a variety of options within the amusement park, including a smokehouse, Dragon Fire Grill and Pub, and a brand new Giraffe Bar with a Serengeti overlook. You basically never have to leave the park!
Hours: Updated periodically, check their monthly updates online
Address: 10165 McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
While this spot is located in Clearwater Beach, we had to include it. Legend has it that Captain Memo sailed to Florida from California with his wife Panama Pam in a 30-foot sailboat via the Panama Canal.
Tickets for children are 30 dollars and 37 for adults, which will get you a two-hour odyssey on Captain Memo’s pirate cruise with stunning views of clearwater beach, and an opportunity to search for dolphins along the way. They also offer a sunset cruise and private charters and birthday parties for people of all ages.
Hours: 9 am-7:30 pm, seven days a week
Address: 25 Causeway Blvd Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
This special Florida state park offers kayak rentals, paddling adventures, a riverboat cruise, and perhaps most notably, mermaids in crystal clear waters. Yes, real swimming mermaids. This is an opportunity you do not want to miss and that your kids won’t soon forget.
Only 8 dollars for children and 13 dollars for adults, mermaid shows include the story of the Little Mermaid as well as “Wonders of the Weeki.” If you are looking to do something a bit more adventurous while visiting, you can also go kayaking in the deepest known freshwater cave system in the United States.
Hours: 9 am- 5:30 pm, seven days a week
Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606
The riverwalk is one of the most popular attractions in Tampa, and for good reason. With stunning views of the city, the riverwalk is roughly a 2-3 hour outing. However, there are plenty of chances to stop and enjoy the views or see what the city has to offer. The riverwalk was created with the intention of building a stronger community by connecting Tampa’s parks, museums, and of course, its stunning waterfront.
The best part about the riverwalk? It’s free! Often, you don’t have to pay much (or anything at all, in this case) to make lasting memories with your family on vacation.
Hours: open all day.
Address: Visit the website for specific directions
The mission of the Glazer Children’s Museum is “to create a learning laboratory where children play, discover, and connect with the world around them to develop as lifelong learners and leaders.” Can you think of a more perfect place to take your family while visiting Tampa?
Tickets cost 13 dollars for children and 15 dollars for adults. Exhibits include a central bank, an engineer’s workshop, a theatre, a veterinary clinic, a farm, and a firehouse, giving kids the opportunity to use their imagination and try out a handful of different professions!
If you don’t have a chance to make it to the museum while you’re physically in Tampa, they have a variety of virtual exhibits that you and your family can experience anywhere. They also offer digital field trips, which is a great option if you’re stuck inside with the kids one day.
Hours: 10 am-5 pm (closed Mondays)
Address: 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
A slight change of pace from a peaceful sail with Captain Memo, a speed boat tour with St. Petersburg Speed Boat Adventure is an activity suited for the more adventurous kiddos. The most exciting aspect of this tour is that you are given your own F-13 mini speed boat for you and your family, and for approximately an hour and a half, you are the captain of your own ship.
No previous experience is necessary, and you will be following a guide from another vessel in case you don’t know your way around Tampa’s coastline. This is another opportunity to search for dolphins and get stunning views of the city. Tickets start at $70.
Hours: 9 am-5 pm, seven days a week
Address: 1901 Pass a Grille Way, St Pete Beach, FL 33706, USA
Now that you have a sense of things to do with kids in Tampa, it’s time to book your trip! Many of these parks and destinations in Tampa do not require reservations, so there’s still time to book a last-minute trip.
Tampa is the perfect city to enjoy nice weather, views, wildlife, and more. We hope you and your kids make the most of your time here by exploring everything the city has to offer. And once you’ve fallen in love with this sun-soaked Florida city, show your appreciation for Tampa with a Tampa-inspired shirt.