Family Fun Time - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
Now Reading
Family Fun Time

Family Fun Time

Greater Tampa Bay’s family activities go far beyond just another weekend spent at the playground. From swashbuckling adventures aboard a real pirate ship to stomach-dropping roller coasters and art coming to life, it is no surprise visitors from around the world travel to GTB to join in on the family fun. 

Adventure abounds… 

When it comes to family adventure, lions and tigers and bears are a classic for the whole family. Visit ZooTampa at Lowry Park and see a range of diverse wildlife up close. This local family favorite is recognized as the center for Florida wildlife conservation and biodiversity and was also voted the No. 1 Family Friendly Zoo in the U.S. by Parents Magazine.  

For fans of more pre-historic creatures, throw it back to the stone age and head to Dinosaur World in Plant City. At this outdoor museum, patrons can stroll through the lush landscapes and visit the numerous life-size dinosaur exhibits. Kids will love acting as paleontologists and getting their hands dirty in the fossil digging site or playing on the dinosaur-themed playground.


Want to get better acquainted with the ocean life that makes the waters of GTB their home? Spend an afternoon at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a nonprofit dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured marine animals. Be sure to check out the famous dolphin exhibit that inspired the major motion pictures “Dolphin Tale” and “Dolphin Tale 2.”  

Feed the stingrays, pet an alligator or even hold a python at the Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary. This family owned and operated aquarium offers the best opportunities to interact with the wildlife.  

The aquatic adventures in GTB do not stop there. Set sail on Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise, where families can sing, dance and play games with Captain Memo’s scallywag crew aboard an authentic pirate ship. 

The Great Outdoors 

There is nothing that encourages family bonding like exploring the outdoors. Luckily, GTB has plenty of outdoor activities for families to soak in some vitamin D and bask in Mother Nature together. 

Spend a day at the Tampa Riverwalk, one of the 15 best riverwalks in the country according to the travel guide Fodor’s Travel, where families can walk, bike and take in Tampa’s spectacular waterfront views. Up for a challenge? Enjoy some friendly competition and race to see who can complete an obstacle course the quickest at TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park, a recreational park that features zip lines and treetop obstacle courses. 

Get the true homegrown experience at Dakin Dairy Farms, just a little over an hour drive outside GTB. On this 1,000-acre, sustainable family farm, kids can learn about dairy production through interactive activities like bottle feeding calves, butter making and Dakin product tastings. 

For a quiet and peaceful afternoon, take in the botanic beauty of the Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg, a true scenic oasis. Families can enjoy a walking tour through the gardens, learn about tropical plants and even say hello to a flock of flamingoes. 

What could be better than an unforgettable day on the water? Captain Brian Hansen is a third-generation Floridian who takes families out on half-day and full-day fishing excursions. Depending on the season, fishermen can reach their limits of reef fish such as Grouper, Snapper, Amberjack and more.  

Learn and explore 

Tampa Bay puts the fun in learning through its myriad of family-friendly museums to explore. The Glazer Children’s Museum in downtown Tampa allows kids to be tiny grownups through hands-on exhibits, where they can scoop ice cream in the ice cream parlor, be a grocer at Publix, care for cuddly critters in the Vet Clinic and so much more. At the Great Explorations Children’s Museum in St. Petersburg, kids will love exploring the 23,000 square feet of museum space that holds a variety of exhibits and play areas. 

Go way back in time at the M.A.P.S. Museum in New Port Richey. The museum houses thousands of artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa and the Americas, not to mention one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian artifacts in North America. With interactive exhibits and discovery, play and classrooms, the whole family is sure to learn something new. 

See Also

Learn the importance of civic heroes at the Tampa Firefighters Museum, home of the “Hottest History” in Tampa. At this educational museum, families can learn about the history of the Tampa Fire Department, fire safety and prevention and even try on real firemen gear. 

Get lost in an immersive world of color at the Fairgrounds St. Pete. Contrary to its name, Fairgrounds St. Pete does not host a fair, however it does offer a spectacular art and technology museum. The Fairgrounds invites guests to explore and experience its collection of interactive exhibits. Be sure to bring a camera: the photo ops are unmatched. 

Step into the world of the pioneers at Cracker Country in Tampa, a living history museum that is dedicated to education on rural life in Florida in the late 19th century. Cracker Country brings history to life by recreating a rural town from the 1890s that includes a blacksmith shop, general store, church, post office and more. 

“Are We There Yet?” 

Set out on the open road to these neighboring destinations for an exciting family road trip. 

For families with little ones that are fans of one adorable talking pig and jumping in muddy puddles, take a day trip to Winter Haven to the Peppa Pig Theme Park. That is right, a theme park dedicated to Nick Jr.’s hit television show “Peppa Pig” is just a one- to two-hour drive from GTB. Kids will have a blast riding Peppa-themed rides, eating her favorite snacks and even meeting Peppa herself.  

Take a short drive to scenic Sarasota and spend a day building a sandcastle or have a picnic watching the sunset. While known for its pristine beaches, the quaint town has its own variety of family fun. Explore tropical gardens and get lost in a magical maze at Mixon Fruit Farms, or head to Livingston’s Amusements, a kids’ paradise that houses over 50,000 square feet of fun and games. Enjoy the best of both worlds at PopStroke. Kids will love the two mini-golf courses designed by Tiger Woods and the ice cream bar with 24 different flavors to choose from, and parents can relax on the rooftop bar with any of their cocktails, beers or wines in hand. 

Tampa Bay annual kid-friendly events 

  1. Children’s Gasparilla 
  • January 2023 
  • This is Greater Tampa Bay’s famous pirate festival, but for kids. The festival features a preschooler’s stroll, air show and children’s parade. 
  1. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 
  • Spring 2023  
  • This IndyCar Series race incorporates the streets of downtown St. Pete in its circuit and features other kid-friendly entertainment like live music, interactive games and exhibits. 
  1. Busch Gardens Spooktacular 
  • Sept. 10 to Oct. 30 
  • Celebrate Halloween with trick-or-treat and more at this boo-tastic event held at Busch Gardens. 
  1. Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Lighted Boat Parade 
  • December 2023 
  • What could be better than a holiday parade? A holiday parade on the water, of course. Enjoy boats decked out in glimmering lights in this festive, aquatic parade. 
  1. Rock the Park 
  • First Thursdays 
  • Support GTB’s local talent at this free concert series that is fun for the whole family. 
  1. The Pasco County Fair
  • February
  • A week-long fair with agriculture competitions, beauty pageants, shows, rides and classic fair food.  

By Shelley Akins.

Copyright © 2020 by Guide to Greater Tampabay | Powered by TheRipal

Scroll To Top