While the weather in Tampa is usually sunny, it does rain every now and then. And, on a hot and humid summer day, it’s good to have some indoor plans in cool air-conditioned comfort. Tampa has a nice selection of museums and attractions clustered together in distinct areas. Getting from one area to another is easily done by car. Or, to get to three of Tampa’s districts with indoor things to do – Downtown, Channelside, and Ybor City – park the car and hop on the TECO Trolley using their reasonable all day pass. It’s a fun, convenient ride.
Tampa has a revitalized historic district, great weather, access to wonderful beaches and a variety of attractions. While visiting Florida’s third largest city, consider these top 10 family friendly activities.
- Busch Gardens is an African-themed amusement park. The facility is home to a variety of animals native to the Serengeti. You can ride several roller coasters and other adrenaline-pumping thrill rides. Other attractions include Sesame Street-themed rides for smaller children and a section with arcade games.
- The Florida Aquarium introduces guests to thousands of marine animals from around the world. Popular attractions include the Wetlands Trail and the Coral Reef, which simulates the aquatic conditions at 60 feet. Your family can dive with sharks or swim with the fish and moray eels. The aquarium’s two-acre recreation area is great place to cool off.
- Caladesi Island State Park is ranked as one of the country’s best beaches. Children will enjoy playing in the white sand and warm shallow water. You can explore the island’s interior mangrove swamp by kayak, and view wildlife along the three-mile nature trail. The park has picnic tables and shelters near the beach.
- The Museum of Science and Industry demonstrates that learning can be fun. Exciting activities in the 400,000-square-foot facility include riding zip lines and high-wire bicycles. Visitors can experience the force of hurricane winds and lay on a bed of nails. The museum has an IMAX Theater and a planetarium.
The Florida Aquarium reveals the beauty and mysteries of the aquatic world. Located at 701 Channelside Drive on the shore of Tampa Bay, the award-winning, 250,000-square-foot aquarium hosts almost one million visitors each year. Over 20,000 marine animals and plants from fresh and saltwater habitats live at the aquatic facility.
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The Wetlands Trail exhibit takes guests on a fascinating voyage down the famous Suwannee River. Rustic signs guide you through the unique environment of Florida’s watershed. Otters, herons, spoonbills and the invasive Burmese python are just some of the fresh water animals inside the glass, domed, multi-story enclosure. The Bays and Beaches Gallery explores the salt and brackish water habitats that lie just off shore. The exhibit re-creates the sandy beaches and grass seabeds that are home to turtles, grouper and stingrays. The At the Beaches exhibit depicts a cross section of a Florida beach.
Located in Tampa, the Florida Aquarium is one of the most popular facilities of its kind in the country. The aquarium has welcomed more than 7 million people since it opened in 1995. Guests experience imaginative, interesting and entertaining displays of the marine flora and fauna that inhabit the aquatic world around us.
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The 150,000-square-foot aquatic facility enables guests to experience several fascinating ecosystems in Florida, such as the everglades, beaches, coves and oceans. The aquarium’s signature 500,000-gallon tank highlights the colorful marine life that inhabits coral reefs. In addition to ocean predators, such as sharks, lionfish and octopus, guests view rock lobsters, rays and other aquatic animals that inhabit the coastal
Home to the largest science center in the South Eastern United States, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) combines fun and learning for people of all ages. Visiting MOSI is an experience unlike any other and far from your typical “hands off” approach associated with many museums.
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Learn While Having Fun
Explore the numerous exhibits and displays that make up 40,000 square feet of the Children’s Science Center. As the largest Children’s Science Center in the United States, there is never a void of activity. Covering a wide spectrum of science and health related matters, children are encouraged to design, create, build, construct, observe and play.