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7 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Tampa

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Florida is a family-friendly wonderland, and we don’t just mean the theme parks of Orlando. On the Gulf Coast, Tampa rivals its famous cousin for adventurous thrills, animal encounters, and more. There are endless things to do in Tampa, but we’ve narrowed it down to the seven best activities for families, keeping in mind kids of all ages

Busch Gardens


10165 McKinley Drive

Tampa, FL 33612

(813) 884-4386

Here’s one parents will love just as much as kids. Scream your way through the day on rides like Florida’s tallest launch coaster, Tigris—and be ready for an inverted barrel roll at 60 mph. Kids not tall enough to ride? There’s a flume water ride, whitewater rafting ride, Serengeti Express train ride, a family-friendly drop tower, live entertainment, and more.

Adventure Island

10001 McKinley Drive

Tampa, FL 33612

(813) 884-4386

If you and the fam enjoy making a splash on vacation, then head to this water park. There are splash zones for the smallest of tots, and those under 42 inches can also tube down the Rambling Bayou, float in the Endless Surf wave pool, and hit the Wahoo Run raft ride with the family. Older kids—and parents—can get their thrills down free-fall water slides, rapids, raft rides, and more.

Tampa Firefighters Museum

720 E Zack Street

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 964-6862Fact: Kids love fire engines! Located right in downtown Tampa just steps from Union Station, this free museum will get them fired up. Kids can check out old fire trucks and even slide down the pole. Bonus: The Tampa Police Museum (also free) is right up the street and offers a fun photo op behind bars. If you’ve been wondering what to do with kids in Tampa for free, your day is all set.

Glazer Children’s Museum

110 W Gasparilla Plaza

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 443-3861

Kids of all ages can find fun in the 20-plus exhibits at this children’s museum. Tots can play in a tugboat, build forts, work on a farm, and more. Older kids will love the art projects, pizza making station, and global café cultural area. Get them tuckered out in hopes for an earlier bedtime. We can dream, right? Insider tip: There’s free admission the first Tuesday of each month.

Florida Aquarium


701 Channelside Drive

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 273-4000

Seven exhibits explore water-filled wonderlands from wetlands to coral reefs to deep water. Get hands-on with starfish, sea anemones, and slimy sea cucumbers in the “No Bones Zone.” Head out to the Splash Zone to board a pirate ship and race down the water slide. Or splurge on a tour, like the Wild Dolphin Cruise or Close Up Critter Encounters. Your kids will never forget (again we can dream) petting a sea turtle!

Big Cat Rescue

12802 Easy Street

Tampa, FL 33625


You’ve heard of Zoo Tampa, but we promise this is even more wild. For little ones under 10 years old, there’s a Kids Tour on Saturdays and Sundays at noon. It’s educational—and you get to stand four feet from a tiger. Kids over 10 can go on the Feeding Tour (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9 a.m.) and get an inside look at breakfast time for these giant carnivores. Pretty cool.

Croc Encounters Reptile Park and Wildlife Center

Via Kids Parties

8703 Bowles Road

Tampa, FL 33637

(813) 217-4400

Prefer scales to fur? Why not both? Visit on Self-Guided Saturdays to see alligators and crocs at your own pace. Or sign up for a guided tour any day of the week and you’ll get fun extras like feeding experiences, hands-on activities, and photo ops. See you later, alligator!

With year-round sunshine and tons of activities, there are always fun things to do in Tampa for families. Skip the mouse ears and put on your explorer hat instead. Adventure awaits!

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