The city, Tampa is one of the best family vacation destinations in Florida. Because it has so many family-friendly tourist attractions like Tampa Zoo, big cat sanctuary, aquarium, manatee viewing area, and many more. On the other hand, it offers a stunning beach open to the Tampa Bay. Yes, there are plenty of things to do in Tampa. So, let’s get to know the best 30 out of all.
Things to do in Tampa, Florida
Visit Florida Aquarium
Florida Aquarium is a nice place with a variety of animal habitats, activities, and exhibits. So, it is ideal for both kids and adults especially to get more knowledge about a variety of fish and ocean life.
While seeing various marines you are getting a chance to touch the creatures like starfish and sea anemones.
On the other hand, there are some adventures like outdoor Splash Pad, 4-D theater, science tours, swim with sea turtles, and also meet African penguins.
So, obviously, this is not just a fish tank. It contains more than 20,000 animals in a 250,000 square feet area.
For example, feisty fish, snapping sharks, colorful corals, penguins, peculiar, and many more. Yes, it is one of the biggest aquariums in Florida.
One of my favorite parts is watching 4D short films in the Florida Aquarium. It shows educational things like how hit the real wind currents.
And as I said to you earlier, your kids will love to cool off in the outdoor Splash Pad water playground of this aquarium.
Another most highlighted thing in this aquarium is wild dolphin cruising. Again your kids will love this one too. It is amazing to cruise through their giant silver bodies in the Tampa Bay.
Therefore, visiting the Florida Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Tampa with your family.
Visit Big Cat Sanctuary
Another animal kingdom in Tampa is Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary. It is a nice place that rescues abused and abandoned big cats.
So, this non-profit organization offers a home to over 60 animals like leopards, lions, tigers, jaguars, servals, caracals, lynx, bobcats, and many more.
As I mentioned earlier, Big Cat Sanctuary in Tampa is a non-profit organization with a great objective of stopping the big cat trade.
Therefore, if you visit this place, you are getting a chance to learn how to rehabilitate and care for these big cats.
Due to the big cat trade, there are plenty of animals that live in terrible conditions. So, the rescue group of this organization tries to protect and care for those helpless animals.
This place is very popular and attracts so many tourists annually. Therefore, the organization has some rules to control the number of visitors. If you travel with your kids (age under 10), you have to book a “kids tour” package in advance.
Even for adults, you need to book the tours in advance. And here’s their official website to reserve your tours or give any donation. Big Cat Rescue Tampa
Visit Tampa Zoo in Lawry Park
Tampa Zoo in Lawry Park is another great place for animal lovers. I’m an animal lover. That’s why I have mentioned 3 major animal attractions on the top of the list.
This zoo contains more than 2000 animal species. And they include both Florida natives and animals from various parts of the world. Like the African, Asian, and Australian species.
One of the most highlighted features of this zoo is, animals have enough space to live in their natural habitats.
Also, you can experience an attractive aquarium in this zoo as well. Specifically, this aquarium contains 3 large pools that cure and treat injured local manatees.
And some other highlighted features are you get the chance to feed Indian rhinos, get close to African penguins and tortoises, watch African elephants, Bornean Orangutan, and Florida Panthers.
Also, as there’s a huge space in Tampa Zoo, you can take safari rides as well. Yes, it is almost an African safari ride since animals live in their natural habitats. For that, the zoo helps you with mini train rides and roller coasters.
Apart from the above things, the zoo offers you some other annual events as well. However, visiting this place is an unmissable thing to do in Tampa. Here’s their official website to get more information. The Lawry Park Zoo.
Visit Tampa Theater
Tampa Theater is a unique place that you can see both classical and new movies. Other than that, its eye-catching architecture attracts more tourists.
Actually, the theater is made with a combination of Greek Revival, Italian Renaissance, and Byzantine architectural styles.
Therefore this is not just another theater. You can really get a classical feeling while watching movies in this theater.
And the records say that Tampa Theater was built-in 1926 as a movie palace. Since then, it is continuously showing movies to visitors. I hope it will last for another 100 years as well.
So, still, you can see pull back curtains in the screen, semi-circle arranged red chairs, a Wurlitzer organ, old documentaries, and independent movies. (Do not expect to watch the latest blockbuster movies here)
Just visit this place with your family to step 100 years back to history.
Manatee Viewing Center, Apollo Beach Tampa
Manatee Viewing Center is located across from a Tampa Electric Power Plant. The power plant provides warm water for manatees and therefore you can see them in very large numbers. If you visit here with your family you are getting a chance to learn about the features of the power plant and the manatees.
Apart from manatee observation, you can see a variety of native plants, butterflies in the butterfly gardens, and native birds in Florida.
So, just plan the visit to Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, Tampa with your kids.
Visit Busch Gardens Tampa
Locating just right across the street from Adventure Island (the famous water park in Tampa), Busch Gardens is a diversified entertaining place. I highly suggest you visit this place with your family as it contains a lot of enjoyable things suitable for any age.
Busch Gardens Tampa is a combination of an animal world and an amusement park. So, it contains everything starting from tigers habitats to roller coasters.
Whenever you visit, this place offers you amazing experiences. Like ziplining, water slides, bird gardens, bumper cars, elephant enclosures, tiger trail, and observe orangutan on treetops.
And also, Busch Gardens contain some other enjoyable activities like gift shops, food stalls, play parks, movie theaters, concerts, Halloween festivals, and Christmas light shows.
Trust me, this is an amazing place to spend a whole day with your kids and family. So, do not miss it.
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Visit Tampa Bay Adventure Island
After enjoying time at the Busche Garden, just across the road to play water games in the most popular water park in Tampa. It is Tampa Bay Adventure Island.
Containing around 30 acres, this adventure park offers you plenty of enjoyable experiences. Like high-speed water thrills, wave pools, corkscrew water slides, kids water playground, private cabanas, and many more.
It is definitely one of the best things to do in Tampa with your family.
Lettuce Lake Regional Park
Having around 240 acres of land area, Lettuce Lake Regional Park offers plenty of activities since 1982. It contains picnic areas, playgrounds, jogging trails, and bicycle paths like places.
Other than that, there’s an observation tower to observe a variety of wildlife in the area (ex: large alligators). On the other hand, the lake offers you a chance to kayak and canoe.
As this place is so calm and natural, nature lovers attract to this place on their Tampa tour. If you are going to visit Lettuce Lake Regional Park, it features free guided tour walks every weekend from 8.30 am.
Visit Museums in Tampa
Tampa Museum of Art
First, I must say that the Tampa Museum of Art is an eye-catching building. When you are passing Florida, you’ll surely notice this place as it is like a jewel box on a glass pedestal.
So, people start liking this place even before entering. And once you enter, you’ll surely love it more. Because, the floor is made with stones, the roof contains fiber optic lights and translucent ceilings.
On the other hand, the museum contains amazing exhibits, display rooms, art galleries, lecture halls. And the displays contain awesome Roman sculptures and artworks.
Also, there’s an enjoyable playroom for kids as well. So, they get a chance to paint, play, and create artistic things in this place.
Not only them, but the Tampa Museum of Art also organizes nice events as well. Like special Yoga sessions, summer camps, and many more. Therefore I suggest you check the museum calendar before the visit.
Are you still going to miss this awesome place in your Tampa tour??
Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa
The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa is one of the best places in Florida to learn, discover, imagine, and explore science and technology.
Actually, it contains exhibits related to every subject like maths, physics, biology, chemistry, and all. And they teach kids about how the human body works, how the new technology has improved in various industries with real demonstrations.
On the other hand, “The Idea Zone” helps kids to join with some practical works and games as well. So, this is one of the best intellectual places in Florida to take your kids.
The Imagination Playground (contains things about robots), Sliperry Science (contains things about aerodynamics and frictions), and Mission Moonabase (contains things about climate, atmosphere, and moon) are some other highlighted experiences for your kids in Tampa Science Museum.
Tampa Firefighters Museum
Tampa Firefighters Museum offers you a unique chance to learn about the history of firefighters in Florida. Therefore I highly recommend this place to visit with your kids.
Sulphur Springs Museum
Sulphur Springs is a neighborhood of Tampa. Just like the name, this neighborhood is famous for natural hot springs and an alligator farm.
This Sulphur Springs Museum is a nice place that expresses the history of the neighborhood. If you like to know about the hot springs and all the historical stories, just plan to visit the museum.
Tampa Police Museum
Tampa Police Museum is a place that contains 19th-century historical items relevant to the Tampa Police. So, kids will love to see those things like 1924 Model T police cars.
Glazer Children’s Museum
Glazer Children’s Museum is another great place to visit in Tampa with your kids. Especially, they offer free entrance for your kids every Tuesday each month from 2 pm to 7 pm.
This is a great playground for kids. We all know that kids should be allowed to play for good mental and physical health. Glazer Museum is a well-organized place for that purpose. So, do not miss it.
Henry B. Plant Museum
Before 1933, this place was owned by the railroad tycoon Henry B. Plant. After that, this place was turned into a museum. The special feature of this luxurious Victorian palace is it has unique Moorish features.
Therefore the Henry B. Plant Museum offers you a chance to see the nice architecture and the history of the old Tampa Bay Hotel. Further, it contains various rooms such as Grand Hall, writing and reading room, and garden room with unique furniture.
Henry B. Plant is an avid gardener. Therefore, he had hired a prominent architect to design all of these eye-catching and lovely palaces. Currently, the rest of this building houses the University of Tampa.
Click the above link to know more.
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Tampa Bay History Center
Tampa Bay History Center is not all about the history of Tampa but also it expresses the history of the other Florida regions. Actually, it shows a history of more than 10,000 years of Tampa.
So, I highly suggest visiting this place with your kids. It contains ancient artifacts, relics, preserved texts, and many historic items of European Voyages that came to America.
When you continue the tour, you can see more informative videos about how modern civilization starts in Florida. (Even the stories about pirates)
Visit Tampa Bay Automobile Museum
Tampa Bay Automobile Musuem is a marvelous place that displays a unique collection of vintage cars/vehicles. Those vehicles represent creativity and the technology that they had in history.
Within 12,000 square feet of gallery, the museum shows a spectacular collection of vintage cars especially belong to the 1920s and 1930s.
If someone calls this place a “combination of art and science”, I totally agree with him/her. Because it is a kind of art museum in the sense of automobile engineering.
Vintage car lovers, do not ever try to miss this nice place.
Florida Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens at the University of South Florida is just eye-catching and admirable. Yes, those gardens are filled with awesome flowers, songbirds, and butterflies around the trees.
As the garden contains more than 3000 species, you cannot complete seeing all within one tour. So, you should definitely visit this place on every Tampa tour.
Other than sightseeing, The Botanical Gardens at the University of South Florida offers you some other experiences as well. For example yoga classes, beekeeping workshops, and flower festivals like things.
This is a very enjoyable place for kids and adults. Just add it to your “things to do in Tampa” bucket list.
Watch Horse Racing in Tampa Bay Downs
Well, here’s the one and only horse racing place on the west coast of Florida. Some visitors miss this place as it is located a little bit away from the city limits of Tampa.
But, I highly suggest you visit this place with your friends and family. Don’t worry Tampa Bay Downs welcomes first-timers without any barrier. All you have to do is to place a small bet on a daily race. Then you get the access to watch the game.
Since this is a newbie-friendly place for both horse riders and players, you can just visit to see how things happen.
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Pinellas Heritage Village, Tampa
Pinellas Heritage Village in Flordia Botanical Gardens, Largo is a place that has many historical buildings of old Pinellas Country. For example schoolhouse, firehouse, and trains like things.
Since this village is attached to Florida Botanical Gardens and as both offer a free entrance, you should add this awesome place to your Tampa bucket list.
On special holidays, this place some events like Holiday Light Shows.
Visit Downtown Tampa
Downtown Tampa is a place that filled with plenty of unique experiences. For example, you can take a cruise on the nice waterways of Florida to explore the city.
Or you can take an old-fashioned streetcar tour to see the city. If not, just have a cocktail and be relax on a rooftop bar in the city by seeing the aerial view of the city.
Yes, Downtown Tampa is a city filled with more exciting and enjoyable things. It has movie theaters, bars, museums, shopping centers, delicious food, historical things (like WWII cargo ship).
So, are going to miss this cool destination on your Tampa tour?
Take a Family Food Tour in Tampa
Don’t worry, you don’t need to worry about searching for the best restaurants in Tampa. There’s a well-organized company that for you. It is the Tampa Bay Food Tours Company.
And they offer a great and delicious service to hunt the best cuisines in Tampa. Their main tour takes you to around 6 delicious places to taste various Tampa flavors. Trust me, you will love the tour.
If you are a foodie, this food tour in Tampa should be on the top of the list. Because, all the cuisines offer you unique and delicious flavors of wine, salads, crab cakes, desserts, and lobster pizzas like items.
You can change the tour places, time, or anything as you wish. Because this company is so flexible and friendly. However, they promise to fill your belly with delicious food at the end of the tour.
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Visit the Unique Hindu Temple of Florida
A Hindu temple in Florida? Yes, you heard correct. There’s a Hindu Temple in Northern Tampa with unique Indian architecture. So, it grabs thousands of annual visitors to worship and sightseeing.
The Indian style architecture of this temple contains descending pyramid towers, spectacular rooftop courtyards, and nice prayer rooms like things. As the entrance is totally free for this temple, anyone can visit to worship God at any time.
Your kids will love to see and learn about Asian religions and believes without even visiting Asia. And of course, this Hindu Temple is a nice example to say that Tampa is the most diversified destination in Florida.
Visit Weedon Island Preserve
After visiting a lot of urban places in Tampa, are you looking for a remote place to relieve your stress?
Here’s the ideal place for you. It is Weedon Island Preserve located on the western coast of Tampa Bay. And it is very scenic, calm, and tranquil.
This island preserve is filled with green forests, saltwater ponds, bushes, seagrass, and mangroves like things.
Therefore it contains plenty of hiking trails, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing opportunities through the above natural places.
Other than that, there are many picnic areas for tourists. Also, there’s an observation deck to see the beauty of Tampa.
Further, if you need to know more about this natural place, you can get information from the Cultural and Natural History Center in the preserve. It will guide you for hikes, kayaks, and all other outdoor activities.
Weedon Island Preserve is one of the best places in Tampa to feel nature and experience outdoor activities with your family. Come on, just add it to your bucket list.
Grab Adventures in Tampa Bay
There are so many opportunities to grab adventures in Tampa Bay, Florida. For example zip-lining, sky diving, and cruises like things.
First, I will tell you about zip-lining. The ideal place for Tampa zip-lining is Empower Adventures Tampa Bay. They offer you very safe zip lining tours through the heart of Tampa Bay.
Keep in mind to make reservations in advance. Click the link to book it.
The next best adventure to grab in Tampa is sky diving. For that, Sky Dive City offers you the best and safe experiences for any visitor.
On the other hand, there are luxury cruises in Tampa Bay, Florida as well. For example, Royal Caribbean Cruises starts some awesome cruise lines from Tampa Bay. So, if are looking for a cruise through Caribbean pirate paradise, here’s the best chance.
The next trending adventure to grab in Tampa is hot air balloon riding. For that, you should try Big Red Balloon Sightseeing Adventures in Tampa, Florida.
They will take you safely over the treetops and the bay of Tampa. And obviously, you can get the best sky views with a nice adventure. Click the above link and book the rides in advance.
Walk on the Clearwater Beach, Tampa
Tampa has nice beaches everywhere. Since this awesome city is located in the Gulf of Mexico there are plenty of natural beaches. I will tell you about my favorite one. It is Clearwater Beach in Tampa.
Having around 25 miles on the west of Tampa Bay, it has all the features that you expect to have in a beach. For example, adventure opportunities like swimming, surfing, parasailing, jet-skiing, and paddle-boarding.
On the other hand, it has all the beach facilities like shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, boardwalk, and beach performers.
Especially on the weekends, many visitors play beach volleyball like games on Clearwater Beach. And since the beach contains white sand, hot air, and a cool breeze, you may surely feel like you are in a tropical paradise.
I warn you not to miss the chance.
Visit International Plaza and Bay Street
One of the top things to do in Tampa is visiting the International Plaza and Bay Street. It is a big retail place with more than a million square feet of land area.
So, it contains hundreds of stores, restaurants, and shops filled with delicious food, snacks, clothes, shoes, toys, accessories, and souvenirs. Yes, it is the biggest shopping mall in Tampa.
Since this plaza is located very close to the Tampa International Airport, you can finish your tour by visiting here. And also you can buy a souvenir.
Visit the Dinosaur World, Tampa
Dinosaur World is a kind of theme park located a few miles away from the city of Tampa. Kids who love to know about dinosaurs, archeologists, excavators, and paleontologists mostly attract to this place.
Actually, the life-sized models of various dinosaurs make us feel that they are alive. So, visitors spend more time to take pictures with those models. After that, they can participate in programs like “fossil digs” and “excavations”.
The special feature of this place is the visitors really can do fossil digging and excavations like things and discover gems, arrowheads, and various minerals.
We all know that kids are very curious about those kinds of things. So, they will surely love this place. So, just buy a ticket and visit there with your family.
Visit Hillsborough River State Park
Another wild, natural, and remote place in Florida. Hillsborough River State Park is such a natural place to visit on your Tampa tour.
As it is surrounded by many green trees, mangroves, vines, swamps, and bayous, many nature lovers and wildlife observers attract to this destination.
Other than observing, you can do outdoor activities like bike riding, canoeing, and hiking in the forest trails. And one more important thing is, you can learn about Native American tribes from the interpretive center in Hillsborough River State Park.
Walk Ybor City
Ybor City is the center of the Latino community in Tampa. Therefore it considers as a National Historic Landmark District as well.
Vicente Martinez Ybor is the name of the person who found this region for the first time in 1880. Actually, he owned the largest Ybor cigar factory in the world at that time. Nearly 5000 people have worked under him.
Therefore, it was called the “cigar capital of the world”.
However, currently, you can see the ruins of all past things that happened in this area. Historical buildings, shops, galleries, cafes, and restaurants are there for you to enjoy.
Especially, there are a few famous restaurants like Colombia Restaurant. It is very famous as it has delicious Spanish food.
I suggest you visit this place with your best friends.
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Take a Tampa River Walk
Tampa River Walk is a walking trail that stretches along the Hillsborough River of Tampa. It stretches for around 3 miles and plenty of people attract to this trail for biking, walking, and sightseeing like things.
Actually, this place is nice and scenic. For me, visiting this place relaxed my mind. And also it is the ideal place to say goodbye to Tampa.
So, you can walk through this trail while memorizing all the nice incidents that happened in your Tampa tour. Yes, it is a nice way to end an awesome holiday.
Visit Skate Park of Tampa
“SPoT” or the Skate Park of Tampa is famous throughout the state of Florida. Since it has featured in famous shows like Tony Hawk video games and in some MTV documentaries many visitors come to see it.
The place contains rails, jump points, and ramps like things that are suitable for skaters. Don’t worry the park is made for everyone with any kind of skill level.
Especially, this place hosts amazing skating events like Tampa Am competitions, Tampa Pro, and Boards for Bros. Are you still going to miss this adventure park? Please don’t. Just click the link to know more.
Visit Sunshine Skyway
Sunshine Skyway is a 4 miles long, curvy bridge that stretches across the Tamp Bay. Since the previous bridge was rammed by a cargo ship and collapsed in 1980, the new one was started to build.
As the Sunshine Skyway has around a 130 m height, you can get awesome views if you take a drive on it. Thousands of tourists photograph these awesome views as memories of the Tampa tour. So, I highly suggest for you as well.
Enjoy Time at Tampa Bay Brewing Company
Beer lovers and food lovers should not miss this place when you are in Florida. Because Tampa Bay Brewing Company is one of the oldest and best breweries in the state.
On the other hand, it offers you delicious food with high-quality beverages. Therefore plenty of tourists visit this company annually to experience those unique tastes.
This is a family-owned and family-operated company. So, they offer authentic homebrews that you will never forget in your lifetime. And when those homebrews paired with tasty food it automatically creates a party climate.
Therefore I recommend this place even for special celebrations as well. Especially, beer lovers should know that this is one of the best places for you in Florida.
But, one important point to keep in mind is, just leave your kids in the hotel when you visit Tampa Bay Brewing Company.
Take a Dolphin Tour in Tampa Bay
After visiting Florida Aquarium, if you feel like seeing more marine lives, I suggest taking a wild dolphin tour from the Port Tampa Bay.
There are many companies that offer dolphin tours in the port area. So, just select one of them and see the natural habitat of these amazing marine creatures.
Since the Mexican Gulf is rich with dolphins, many tour companies guarantee to show you wild dolphins. So, there’s no doubt about it. As a bonus, you can see some sea birds as well.
Your kids will love this journey. So, do not miss this dolphin tour.