Best Things to Do with Kids in Tampa

Tampa is a playground full of kid-friendly attractions and activities

Whether you have kids, are a kid, or are just a kid at heart, you will find plenty of fun and adventure in Tampa. Almost all area attractions welcome children of all ages, but of course, some are more geared to the little ones than others. To help you choose kid-friendly attractions, 10 Best has compiled a list of the top ten options.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a popular option with kids of all ages. This well-run theme park is a perennial favorite with families for the wide variety of animal-themed activities and exhibits, as well as world-class thrill rides. In addition, the entire family will enjoy the entertaining shows and the many different dining options.

For something a little different, check out the Tampa Bay Water Bike Company. Conveniently located on the downtown waterfront, this is a fun and easy way to get out on the water and enjoy a little sightseeing with the family. Riders from 8 to 80 are invited to check it out!


Museum of Science & Industry
Photo courtesy of Tampa Museum of Science and Industry

MOSI is Tampa's popular science and industry museum packed with fun activities and interactive learning experiences. The facility houses a collection of permanent exhibits that cover all disciplines of science including biology, anatomy, physics, and meteorology. There is also a large space to host major touring exhibits. Outside is a ropes course and zip line adventure along with a playground and nature trail that highlights Florida flora and fauna. The entrance fee covers the permanent exhibits, but you can add entrance into the touring exhibit, a stargazing show in the Saunders Planetarium, or access to the ropes course for additional charges.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Both indoors and outdoors, Tampa's MOSI packs in a day full of adventure for the whole family.

Skye's expert tip: Check out the fun at MOSI's makerspace and fab lab where, from 3D printing to building robots, there is always a new project to complete!

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This much-loved theme park/dinosaur museum is located just outside Tampa in nearby Plant City. The park is home to over 150 life-size dinosaurs, including an animatronic scene featuring a Brachiosaurus, Triceratops and Pterodactyl among others. Ideal for both little dino enthusiasts and "big kids" still fascinated by the prehistoric giants. After coming face-to-teeth with the magnificent model dinosaurs, realistically set amidst lush native vegetation, your kids can become paleontologists and sift through a dig in search of fossils to take home. There is also a mining and excavation experience and geode crackers for the gem hunters among you for an extra cost.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Dinosaur World is the perfect combination between theme park and museum designed for both education and entertainment.

Skye's expert tip: Ask about the many reciprocal agreements they have with other local attractions providing up to 50% off admission prices.

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Coast Bike Share provides a convenient and environmentally-friendly transit option in Tampa's most popular neighborhoods. With bike hubs located in downtown, Hyde Park, and Ybor City, visitors can grab a bike and explore many of the city's most popular attractions. To get started, simply visit the website and sign up for a membership. Short-term visitors can get a pay-as-you-go membership for $5 an hour, while longer-term visitors may wish to select a monthly membership for $30 which includes one free hour of riding per day. The cruiser-style, sky-blue bikes are sturdy, safe and vandalism-resistant.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Coast Bike Share offers convenient and budget-friendly bike rentals at hubs throughout downtown Tampa and Ybor City - perfect for family explorations!

Skye's expert tip: Another great way to beat the pandemic and explore downtown! Download their mobile app to find bikes near you on the fly.

Read more about Coast Bike Share →

North Tampa

When it comes to water parks in Tampa, Adventure Island, the aquatic corporate cousin of Busch Gardens, reigns supreme with 30 gorgeously landscaped acres of waterlogged fun. As thrill seekers, brave hairpin turns and stomach-churning drops on 10 high-speed rides, little adventurers delight in the miniature wave pool and serenity seekers nab a cabana or drift lazily amidst trickling waterfalls on the Rambling Bayou. There are also plenty of dining options located throughout the park including an all-new Tiki bar in addition to snack bars, cafes and, of course, an ice cream shop. If you prefer, you can also bring your own coolers. Even though Tampa stays pretty warm year-round, this is still a seasonal attraction open from March to September.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Adventure Island is Tampa's best water park, with plenty of slides and a lazy river, perfect for keeping the kids cool on hot days.

Skye's expert tip: Watch out for two new water slides opening just in time for spring break! Newly revamped Wahoo Remix and all-new Rapids Racer, the world's first dueling saucer slide.

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Topgolf Tampa
Photo courtesy of Topgolf Tampa

Located in Brandon, a 15-minute drive from downtown is Topgolf Tampa. This unique entertainment complex offers a 3-level golf range for players of all ages and abilities to hone their skills playing target-oriented games. A state-of-the-art gaming system logs players in and keeps track of both the game and the score using microchipped golf balls. There are 109 golf bays that can accommodate up to 6 people and are rented by the hour. Each bay has a host that provides full food and beverage service. In addition, there is a large restaurant and bar, games lounge and outdoor patio. Price per hour varies depending on the time and the day of the week. If you're on a budget, try and visit on half-price Tuesday.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: With 3 levels of fun and games, rain or shine Topgolf Tampa is guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained for hours.

Skye's expert tip: Weekends can get very busy, check the website before you visit to find out if there's a wait. Reduce your time in line by reserving a bay ahead of time.

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Glazer Children's Museum

Kids have so much fun here that the adults end up accidentally having some as well. If you've never been to a children's museum, it's not like an adult museum. It's loud, rambunctious, and exciting for all kids. There are many hands-on exhibits designed for exploration, such as a kid-sized grocery store, airplane, and cruise ship. In other words, it's the most fun game of let's pretend they will ever experience. A good strategy is to let them guide you around the facility. You won't believe what your child will show interest in while they're here! Fun for the whole family, but kids under 11 or so will enjoy it the most.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Located adjacent to the Tampa River Walk, you can let the kids loose at the Glazer Children's Museum for lots of hands-on fun and learning.

Skye's expert tip: Kids will enjoy the new Big League Fun exhibit where they can bat, throw pitches and steal second base while learning about math and physics.

Read more about Glazer Children's Museum →

Florida Aquarium

One of the best aquariums in the southeast, this 250,000 square foot attraction explores aquatic environments around the world featuring more than 20,000 plants and animals in both fresh and saltwater environments. Exhibits document the movement of water from wetlands to ocean and include a million-gallon coral reef display that houses over 200 species of fish. Other areas of the aquarium showcase river otters, alligators, deep-sea fish. Kids will love the "touch" experiences where they can get up close with stingrays, horseshoe crabs, urchins, and starfish. Also popular are the twice-daily Penguin Meet & Greets featuring African black-footed penguins. Visitors will also find a gift shop, restaurant and splash pad for the kids.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is one of the best aquariums in the southeast. A perfect spot to take the kids on a rainy day.

Skye's expert tip: Included with entrance admission is 4Ducks Theater, a 4-D movie experience with a variety of special effects including scents, lighting, wind, water mist, seat vibration.

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Tampa Bay Water Bikes is located on the public docks adjacent to the Convention Center and Sail Pavilion in downtown Tampa. The perfect sightseeing option to get a water view of the city's iconic landmarks, water biking is easy and fun. Also available are BiYaks, or kayaks with pedals. Explore the Hillsborough River, Garrison Channel, and Davis and Harbour Islands. Anyone over the age of 8 is able to operate a water bike making this a great activity for the whole family. Safety gear and instruction are provided. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or in person.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Tampa Bay Water Bikes is conveniently located on the downtown waterfront and offers a fun and easy water activity for the whole family.

Skye's expert tip: If you don't want the kids to bike alone, check out the tandem waterbike option for 2!

Read more about Tampa Bay Water Bike Company →

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Wild animals and wilder rides await visitors to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This 335-acre, Africa-inspired theme park boasts several scream-worthy roller coasters, 2,000-plus animals and a host of entertaining live shows. There is something for kids of all ages at this world-class park. While adventure lovers flock to the many adrenaline-inducing thrill rides, animal enthusiasts can enjoy hand-feeding kangaroos at Walkabout Way. While there is a gondola and a train to help negotiate the distances, be prepared to walk in order to explore all areas of the park. Luckily, there are plenty of areas to linger for rest and refueling, with shops, restaurants, and entertainment stages located throughout the park.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is one of the country's premier theme parks with thrill rides, live entertainment, animal experiences and plenty of family-friendly amenities.

Skye's expert tip: Check out the park's newest thrill ride, Iron Gwazi - North America's tallest, fastest, and steepest hybrid coaster opening on March 11.

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Beloved by locals and visitors alike, ZooTampa at Lowry Park has been voted the #1 Family Friendly Zoo in the country by Parents Magazine and is a five-time winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. The 56-acre nonprofit zoo is home to 1,300 animals and emphasizes regionally endangered species and those in similar climates. All of your favorites are here, including African species like giraffes, rhinos, and hippos, Asian animals like lions and tigers, as well as animals native to Florida, such as various species of alligator and crocodile. Once they've made their way around to all of the animals, the kids can play in the Australian-themed children's area that includes rides and other games. Going in the morning is a good idea, especially in the summer. Not only do you avoid the heat, but the animals also tend to be more lively.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is consistently ranked as a top kid-friendly zoo for its engaging animal exhibits and family amenities.

Skye's expert tip: New this year is the Florida Wilds area where visitors can view native animals and experience close encounters with black bears, river otters, sandhill cranes, skunks and alligators.

Read more about ZooTampa at Lowry Park →


Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye