The Tampa Bay area encompasses mainly Pinellas County and Hillsborough County, plus several other outlying counties. The area is full of fun activities for both young and old. Having lived in Clearwater for three years during my college years, I have spent quite a bit of time on the beaches around the Tampa Bay area. With my brother still living in the area, I have returned dozens of times to visit. Tampa is one of my favorite U.S. cities to visit with Emmett, as it is full of fun things to do with kids!
Read more for ideas on fun things to do with kids in the Tampa Bay Area.
Things to Do in Tampa
Visit Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park.
ZooTampa is one of Tampa's most popular attractions and easily one of my favorite places to go with kids in Tampa. With elephants, pygmy hippos, rhinos, orangutans, tortoises, koalas, and so much more, plus a splash pad and kiddie rides, your kids will love a trip to the Lowry Park Zoo.
See the marine life at The Florida Aquarium.
Home to sharks, penguins, sea turtles, fish and more, the Florida Aquarium also has a stingray touch tank and a play area. Your young children especially will love visiting the marine animals at the Florida Aquarium.
Take a ride on the trolley.
From the aquarium area in the Channel District, take the TECO streetcar to Ybor City. Not only is it a great way to get around, but the ride itself is sure to entertain your little kids.
See the chickens and roosters in Ybor City.
The historic Ybor district is full of fabulous restaurants like Carmine's, but when you have young kids, the chickens and roosters that roam the streets are the real draw.
Check out the Ybor City Museum State Park.
While in Ybor, pop into the museum that tells all about the history of the area. The story of how Ybor City came to be is really quite fascinating. Museum admission is just $4 per person.
See the big red trucks at the Tampa Firefighters Museum.
Open Monday-Friday, and offering free admission, the Tampa Firefighters Museum is a great place for your little lover of all things with wheels. The building itself is over 100 years old and houses examples of the various vehicles used throughout the history of firefighting.
Scream your lungs out at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Take your older kids to Busch Gardens, considered one of the best theme parks in the United States. They can ride the many thrill rides and roller coasters, see the animals, and watch live shows.
Explore Hyde Park.
Though Hyde Park is known for its night life, this vibrant area of Tampa has lots of great things to do with kids. Have lunch at Goody Goody Burgers, play on the playground at Anderson Park, and grab ice cream at OddFellows. Hyde Park also hosts vendor events on a regular basis.
Explore the Glazer Children's Museum.
For younger kids, nothing beats a visit to a great children's museum. Located near the Riverwalk and the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the Glazer Museum offers interactive exhibits where kids can learn, explore, and discover. Let your littles explore the museum, play in the water at the splash pad, and run out their wiggles at Curtis Hixon Park.
Wander along the Tampa Riverwalk.
The Riverwalk is a great place for kids to stretch their legs and for you to get some magical pictures. On the end near the children's museum and museum of art, you'll also find the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, a sprawling green space that's dog- and kid-friendly.
Enjoy Dinner at Armature Works.
Located in a large warehouse, Armature Works features numerous dining options, indoor and outdoor seating, and other vendors. This is a great place to enjoy the upscale food court experience, where your picky eaters can each choose their own cuisine to munch on.
Grab a sweet treat at Revolution Ice Cream.
Take your kids for some sweet creamy goodness at one of Revolution Ice Cream's locations around Tampa. With flavors like Euro Trash (nutella and biscoff cookie crumbles), Drunken Brownie, and Caramel Vanilla Pralines, even your pickiest kids will find something they love!
Things to do in Clearwater with kids
Lounge on the beach.
With soft white sand and plenty of seashells to gather, Clearwater Beach is a great place to let the kids cool off and run out some wiggles while you relax.
See the Marine Life at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
This non-profit aquarium on the water focuses on rescue, rehabilitation, and release of its marine creatures. With dolphins, river otters, and much more, this is sure to be one of your favorite things to do in Clearwater.
Get in a round of Putt-putt golf.
Congo River Golf features 18 holes of fun-for-all putt putt, a small arcade, and even live gators you can hold! Add a little excitement to your family vacation!
Stop by Whimzeyland in Safety Harbor.
Situated near the Bay a short drive down Bayshore Boulevard, Safety Harbor is an adorable little town full of boutique shops and mom and pop restaurants like Athens Restaurant and Safety Harbor staple Paradise Restaurant. For a visual delight, make sure you drive by Whimzeyland while you are in Safety Harbor. If you're interested, you can even schedule a tour!
Explore the grounds of the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
One of the best free things to do in Clearwater is to wander the 150-acre gardens of the Florida Botanical Gardens.
Things to do in St. Petersburg with Kids
Visit the St Pete Pier.
St Pete Pier is the perfect place to take your littles! Walk along the pier, swim at the small beach area, splash around at the splash pad, and enjoy a meal at one of several restaurants.
Wander the Sunken Gardens.
Over 100 years old and containing over 50,000 species, the Sunken Gardens is a great place to take the entire family to let them explore and learn.
Spend time outdoors at Vinoy Park.
With almost 12 acres of outdoor space, Vinoy Park offers walking trails with beautiful views of Tampa Bay.
Things to do in Madeira Beach with Kids
Explore John's Pass Village and Boardwalk.
With loads of shopping and dining options, St John's Pass Village is a great place to to take the whole family!
Meet the locals at the Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center.
While at John's Pass, visit the Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center to meet some of Florida's unique locals.
Get out on the water.
See a pirate show on the Pirate Ship Royal Conquest, dine on the Calypso Breeze, or see the dolphins on the Dolphin Queen.
Lounge on the white sand beach.
Generally quieter than Clearwater Beach, Madeira Beach and Treasure Island Beach just to the south were favorites of mine when I lived in Clearwater.
The Tampa area is host to museums, outdoor spaces galore, and great places to see animals. Take the family, relax on the beach, picnic in a park, view the local flora, get out on the water, and feast on Tampa's culinary delights.
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