Tampa is slowly emerging as the chameleon-city of Florida. It is a jack-of-all-trades destination that has as many stomach-twisting roller coaster rides as it has corals and reefs. For this reason alone, families opt for Tampa more than Miami or Orlando. Kids have a tonne of things that are worth their time, and adults can’t resist getting sucked in the fun either. Some of the fun things to do in Tampa are
Cultural tours about a city’s history are great, but kids have a tendency of getting bored easily, and you need to include as many animals and manatees to your day trips as you possibly can, to keep them in a good mood. A whole lot of bribing goes a short way with kids! But the Florida Aquarium will ensure that it lasts an entire day. It has a number of animal habitats and exhibits to entertain kids of all ages. Interactive activities like Heart of the City has sea turtles, coral, and sharks, three of Florida’s most endangered animals as part of their conservatory programs that children can squint at, in their 100,000-gallon habitat. The habitats reproduce the watershed area of Tampa, so kids and adults have a chance to see aquatic life flourishing in a familiar habitat. The Aquarium also has touch-pools, which you might have guessed, allow visitors to pet starfish, stingrays, and anemones. The admission passes include access to an outdoor Splash Pad for kids and 4-D theater which heightens the sensory experiences of short movies. All attractions are designed to keep the little members of your family occupied. If you are willing to pay extra because your kids will most definitely insist that you do, you can go on a behind-the-scenes journey, swim with sea turtles, and flap around with penguins.
Glazer Children’s Museum
The one thing that kids love the most is giving wings to their imaginations. Their natural curiosity will find enough room to expand in the Glazer Children’s Museum. One of Tampa’s many attractions that focuses on kids, its interactive libraries nudge the kids in whichever direction their heart wishes to go. Several theme-based exhibitions bring out their leanings, like how to get wise with their money at makeshift banks and getting swift with fire emergencies as they slide down a fire pole on their way to save lives. They can design new layouts and fix run-down houses or read x-rays and devise treatment plans for patients. The museum makes learning fun. While they are navigating a ship through a storm, they might just learn, in the process, to take leadership responsibilities and make decisions quickly. The rest of the day might not match up to the experiences of the Museum.
Big Cat Rescue
A wildlife sanctuary for traumatized and abandoned big cats, the Big Cat Rescue is a non-profit organization that has been equally famous for its founder as it has been for its animals. It is home to tigers, lions, servals, leopards, caracals, bobcats, lynx, jaguar, and other species of felines. The sanctuary allows kids to learn about the rehabilitation efforts that go into saving these animals from abuse. Tampa’s wildlife attractions also have a flipside to them, the demand for animals has led to a “big cat trade” which is responsible for these cats living in squalid conditions. The tours are guided, unlike a zoo, where you are free to roam on your own. Trying to find a space amongst hordes of people, peering at enclosures, is a futile waste of time. This can be avoided if you book in advance. Kids are far more likely to develop sympathy for animals at an enclosure than a zoo, and the volunteers at the Big Cat Rescue keep the tours lively for them.
Empower Adventures Across Tampay Bay
Most kids won’t say no to zip-lining across Tampa Bay, with their feet dangling in the sky. The vast reserves of the Mobbly Bayou marshlands can be enjoyed through a bird’s eye view as you soar over wildlife, open waters, and everything else that the Preserve’s boundary covers. Only kids above the age of 7 are permitted on the adventure. Once in though, they promise that you will be gliding through the air for 2.5 hours, from start to end, racking up panoramic views of downtown Tampa. There are around 3,000 zip-lines running across the Preserve, 200 suspension bridges, and an aerial obstacle challenge to amp up the stakes. Your kids will encounter multiple challenges including rope bridges, cable traverses, and log swings. All the adrenaline and the conquest high-fives might push your kids, albeit gently, into stepping out of their comfort zones. The Leap of Faith is a jump after a 30-feet solo climb. Kids are well-harnessed and protected, but the height is not easily digestible by many adults. The enthusiasm of kids overpowers their fears in ways yours can’t, so your kid might beat you at this if you are willing to dare. The whole experience is led by trained guides, has earned its safety stars, and is waiting for you to get on board with the thrill-of-a-lifetime!
Laser Ops Extreme Gaming Arcade
Built over a 24,000-square-foot area, this gaming center is a virtual reality experience like no other. The Center has a carnival-style arcade and a classic-zone, created around movies like Jurassic Park and Skee-Ball. Adults can sip a coke or two at the on-site food and grill stations while their kids are lost in a virtual war of lightsabers as part of the weekend events. Tampa attracts the young crowd with these arcades and virtual games. Apart from this, there is also an archery turf and a laser-tag universe set in a post-apocalyptic arena.
Tampa’s charged atmosphere is a product of an assortment of tourist-attractions, big and small, that promise you and your kids a vacation that lasts a lifetime. Tampa has chiseled its image as a family-friendly destination, so there is enough of Tampa activities to get excited over. It is a real conundrum for visitors to compartmentalize their time, but every second of it has adventure written all over.
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