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.
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.
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.
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 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 May to September.
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. If you're on a budget, try and visit on Tuesday which is half price for the hourly bay rental.
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.
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. A gift shop and restaurant are on the premises.
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.
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.
Wild animals and wilder rides await visitors to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The 335-acre Africa-inspired theme park's six infamous roller coasters, 2,000-plus animals and entertaining live shows provide truly unforgettable thrills. There is something for kids of all age at this world-class park. Adventure lovers can brave SheiKra, a floorless dive coaster with a 200-foot, 90-degree plunge while animal enthusiasts might enjoy hand-feeding kangaroos at Walkabout Way or enjoying majestic views of free-roaming giraffes, zebras and white rhinos on the Serengeti Railway. Be prepared to walk in order to explore all areas of the park. There are several restaurants and numerous vendors throughout the park to keep you fueled on your journey.