Things to Do

17 Best Fun Things to do in Tampa with Kids

17 Best Fun Things to do in Tampa with Kids

Vacationing or Traveling with Kids to Tampa?

If you are traveling to Tampa with kids you are probably going to need some kid friendly activities. Tampa has so much to offer both residents and guests that the choices could overwhelm you. From the award-winning parks that rival those found in many other cities and so much more. Here are our 17 best fun things to do in Tampa with kids list. Hope you enjoy!

Best Fun Things to do in Tampa with Kids

1. Spend the Day at Busch Gardens

This family-friendly park with an African animal theme has something for everyone, regardless of age. Busch Gardens is home to over two hundred species of animals, including elephants, giraffes and lions. You will also find gorillas, zebras and hippos, as it’s a combination zoo and amusement park, offering safaris, rides and roller coasters galore. Kids with a taste for adventure will love the thrill of impressive roller coasters like Kumba and Montu. Those with tamer tastes will love the train ride through the safari or skyride. There’s a number of water rides available as well to help beat the Florida heat. There are also plenty of rides for toddlers and small children.

2. Dive into the Florida Aquarium

Giant Sea Turtle Florida Aquarium

This is a great place for kids to have fun and to get the opportunity to see a huge variety of marine life up close and personal. This aquarium dedicated to providing its visitors with interesting information about aquatic animals and environments. It also strives for conservation in all endeavors and donates all of its profits to that same purpose. Here, you can find everything from sharks and jellyfish to sea turtles and coral reefs. Furthermore there’s even a touch tank and plenty of interactive animal demonstrations to see as well.

3. Explore the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

The MOSI provides so much excitement in its interactive exhibits that kids will never even notice that they’re learning as they play. With over four-hundred and fifty exhibits to explore, they can bask in the wonder of the butterfly gardens, take a ride on a suspended bike or experience the intensity of a hurricane or tornado. There’s also a ropes course that is great for burning off excess energy. There is also a fascinating planetarium show and mock NASA lunar colony.

4. Eat and Learn at Rumfish Grill

Everyone knows that a major part of what makes eating out a success is the atmosphere, and this place has it in spades. Rumfish Grill is home to an aquarium that spans and entire wall and contains over thirty-three thousand gallons of water, a feature that is sure to be a hit with kids. They can watch everything from colorful, tropical fish and stingrays swim by while choosing from a variety of wonderful menu selections.

Kids ten and under are eligible to order from the kids’ menu, which features everything from popcorn shrimp and grilled mahi mahi for seafood lovers, while those with more terrestrial tastes can enjoy a smoked bacon grilled cheese or classic crispy chicken tenders. For the grand finale, be sure to make a stop at the touch tank, located just outside the main dining area.

5. Cool off at Adventure Island

Adventure Island is definitely one of the best fun things to do in Tampa with kids. It’s no secret that Florida can get very warm indeed. So why not spend the day cooling off at one of the state’s best water-parks? Located near Busch Gardens, Adventure Island has some adrenaline-pumping slides as well as tamer versions that use tubes and even boogey-boards, along with an impressive lazy river. There are also a large wave pool and a water adventure course. Smaller kids can enjoy the splash pools and smaller slides, and there’s ample places for grabbing a bite to eat as well as plenty of shops to purchase much needed sunscreen and water.

6. Spend a Day at the Beach

Clearwater Beach

Florida is famous for its beautiful beaches, and Tampa is home to some of the best you will find anywhere. Pack an umbrella, a cooler filled with snacks and water and a bag with towels, sunscreen and sand toys, and you’ve got everything you need for a fun-filled family day in the sun. There are amazing tide pools to explore, sand dollars to find and even pirate treasure to hunt for, just be sure to pay close attention to any warning signs to avoid dangerous riptides or shark encounters. Of course, you want to be sure that you and your kids drink plenty of water and keep applying sunscreen regularly.

7. Go on a Pirate Themed Cruise

Captain Memo’s has been offering pirate themed cruises out of Clearwater Bay that are sure to delight both young and old imaginations. The crew is not only very friendly and quite skilled at staying in character, they are also very knowledgeable about everything from how the ship works to the water itself. They tell tales and excel at keeping children occupied and entertained, and the festive music that plays continually in the background adds tremendously to the cheerful atmosphere.

8. Go to Big Cat Rescue

Arguably better than any zoo out there, this place is unique, in that it serves as a sanctuary for big cat species. Move over these include Nikita the lion, an ocelot named PurrFecton and many tigers, cougars, Savannah cats, etc. These cats were rescued from near certain death after they were abandoned or orphaned. However, today, they are well-taken care of by the sanctuary staff, a fact that is reflected in their remarkably non-stressed attitudes. By far the best way to see these magnificent creatures is by booking a private tour ahead of time. Please also keep in mind that children under five are required to take a special tour specifically geared towards a younger audience.

9. Refuel at GameTime

This is a great spot for kids and adults alike to grab a bite to eat and play some games. GameTime is a combination of  a sports bar and mega arcade. There’s everything from mini bowling and skee ball to over one hundred and twenty different arcade games and simulators. This means that you can sip a beer or glass of wine in peace as your kids play nearby. The menu here offers selections that will please nearly any palate. There are kid friendly selections like mac and cheese bites, burgers and pizza. Also included are more upscale fare like calamari and imaginative salads for mom and dad.

10. Take in a Puppet Show

The Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre is well-known for the ever-changing, entertaining acts put on by its professional puppeteers. Classic stories like Thimbellina and the Gingerbread Man come alive, providing a wonderful alternative to zoning out to a movie screen.

11. Visit the Glazer Children’s Museum

Glazer Children's Museum

Even if your kids groan at the thought of spending the day at a museum, from the moment they walk in the door, they’re sure to be entertained. Kids of nearly any age find themselves fascinated by the interactive exhibits, which number over one hundred and fifty. Here, they can explore everything from weather to farming. Kids also can explore firefighting and immersing themselves in the world of a sea captain! If you happen to visit Tampa during the holiday season, you must make a point to take in the Glazer’s impressive Gingerbread Village.

12. Book a Room at the Clarion Marriott

Located in close proximity to Busch Gardens, this is a great place for staying with kids, as the rooms are relatively inexpensive, spacious and clean. There’s a complimentary hot breakfast included in your stay, which helps start the morning off right. There is also an outdoor pool with a waterfall that’s great for letting the little ones splash around while you relax.

13. Take a Stroll on the Riverwalk

This 2.6-mile-long takes you on a walk alongside Tampa Bay, with level, easy ground that’s great for little legs or for pushing strollers. It’s an absolutely beautiful walk with plenty of informational stops along the way. This makes it a great opportunity to get out in the fresh air and sunshine. There’s also an abundance of restaurants and shops to visit as you walk. You can easily make an afternoon out of it. At night, the pathway is nicely lit up, with a gorgeous view of the glittering skyline.

14. Jump on the Pirate Water Taxi

Pirate Water Taxi

If at any point you should get tired walking along the Riverwalk, you can climb aboard these water taxis for a fun-filled trip to your next stop. The guides are quite friendly and may even offer to let your kids help steer the boat through a channel. As a bonus, they’ll even get an eyepatch as a souvenir!

15. Grab a Meal at Ulele

Not only is there a splash pad for cooling off just across the street there is an enormous yard for running around. The fairy-tale sculptures which dot the restaurant property are a sure-fire combination to draw in hungry kids. They’ll delight in watching their meals be prepared in front of them in the open-air kitchen. Trust that the food selection here simply cannot be beat. There’s a heavy emphasis on Native American cuisine here. The favorite dishes ranging from crab mac n cheese and fuego street corn to imaginative salads and perfectly cooked steaks. WaterWorks park and Riverwalk are just steps away.

16. Take it Easy at the Tampa Theatre

This non-profit theatre is absolutely magnificent in appearance, and makes for a great family outing. Kids will delight in the fact that they get to watch a movie outside, as the theatre is open-air. Of course, there’s plenty of treats available to accompany the show as well.

17. Visit the Manatee Viewing Center

Manatees are a gentle sea creature that has captured the imagination of many people, yet they are quite rare to see in the wild. If you happen to visit Tampa during the right time of year, you and your kids can catch glimpses of these magical beings in the water. Manatees along with sharks, rays and other marine wildlife frequent the area. It’s free of charge as well, so you can go back as many times as you’d like.

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