Thank you Unlock Tampa Bay for hosting us! All opinions stated here are my own.
Florida is filled with numerous cities that offer entertainment options for families and Tampa Bay is no different. This hidden gem is filled with entertainment options for the whole family – but young couples and singles also benefit from this charming little city. The up-and-coming city has a slew of restaurants and kid-friendly open spaces. Did I mention it is also dog-friendly? Tampa Bay was the perfect location for our mini-staycation for Spring Break, a reasonable 4-hour drive from South Florida! I’m sharing Things to do in Tampa Bay with Kids thanks to the Tampa Bay CityPass for making it an unforgettable experience for our family.
Tampa Bay CityPass
If you are heading to Tampa Bay the CityPass is the way to go! You get so much value for your money. You and your family will get to experience some of the top attractions in Tampa Bay at 50% or more saves. Pricing for adults is $109 (value $224) and $99 for children (age 3-9). The passes are valid for 9 consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. You can explore in whatever order you prefer.
What Attractions are included in Tampa Bay CityPass?
- The Florida Aquarium
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park
- Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) or Chihuly Collection Presented by the Morean Arts Center
Getting from place to place was pretty easy thanks to Tampa Bay’s awesome forms of transportation. We did walk to a lot of places from our hotel which was centrally located. I definitely recommend staying close to Riverwalk. You are able to ride Pirate Water Taxi which has an easy hop on hop off system with service all day. The Water Taxi runs along Tampa Riverwalk which leaves you close to some of the fun outdoor eateries like Sparkman Wharf and Armature Works.
Coast Bike Share Rental Kiosk are located all over the city the only downside is that it is for adults and older kids. My kids are 10 and 6 years old so they were not able to ride them but I think once my daughter gets a little older it should be perfect. The bikes are such a fun and easy way to get around.
Tampa Historic Streetcar is a FREE way to get to a few different places. We rode it to The Florida Aquarium which was also near Sparkman Wharf. There are many delicious food options in Sparkman Wharf with lots of outdoor seating and open space for kids to play (some cornhole game are available). Plus, the view is amazing! I cannot wait to go back to see how the space evolves as they are still doing construction in some areas.
One night we ended up walking from our hotel, Marriott Residence Inn, to Armature Works for dinner and dessert. The coolest place to go to eat, hang out with friends, or just mingle. They have live music some days with a rooftop bar. We tried Astro Ice Cream – which was delicious! They had different ice cream flavors like Guava and Cream Cheese (my fave!) and Creme Brulee coffee flavors. They had other flavors that were free to sample. We walked the RiverWalk to Ulele and Water Works Park where we feed the huge Koas and played a bit of Cornhole. We can’t wait to go back to try the food everything looked so good.
Tampa Bay CityPass Attractions
The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium did not disappoint! It was our first time visiting and loved every minute of it. Seeing all the different marine life was so cool. We even got to touch stingrays and anemones. The Florida Aquarium has thousands of seas creatures, like sharks, alligators, otters, sea turtles and so much more! We even got to see some of the birds that live near water like the Roseate Spoonbill which we see every time we drive through the Everglades on our way to the West Coast of Florida. We love their bright pink color just like Flaminogoes! The Florida Aquarium even has an outdoor splash pad for kids to cool off! There is also a playground for kids to play. The 4-D theater can also be accessed by the outside area.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens is one of our favorite amusement parks! Last year we got the Fun Card and visited quite often. We love their Halloween event, too. Busch Gardens has options for everyone in the family which is why I love going there. My daughter was finally tall enough to ride Cheetah Hunt so it was a milestone visit for her this time. We love the shows, visiting the animals, and getting on all the coasters! We are thrill seekers for sure! If you love going on roller coasters – Busch Gardens is a must-visit! Be sure to visit the Gorillas – those little baby gorillas will steal your heart!
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
My daughter insisted that we needed to visit Winter the Dolphin from Dolphin Tale. I’m not going to lie but I was super excited to see Winter too! That movie touched my heart! There is some construction at the moment but you are still able to visit the Marine Aquarium. We got to see many of the stars of the movie including the most recent Dolphin Tale 2 with Hope, the dolphin, and Rufus, the pelican. The rescued sea otters, Walle and Boomer, were definitely a favorite! We saw Mavis, the sea turtle, in his Hideaway area. They offer demonstrations and educational presentations throughout the day. A great educational experience for the whole family!
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
The last time we visited ZooTampa our oldest was about 4 years old – now he is almost 11! ZooTamp really gets you up close to so many animals – from feeding the goats to touching stingrays. One of my favorite features is feeding the giraffes! I think it is so cool to get that close to an animal. They added some new things since my last visit – Roaring Springs. Roaring Springs is a wild water ride that will get you soaked – be sure to watch up for the big splash! We also did Expedition Africa safari ride which takes you around the safari in a cool safari ride. My favorite section is definitely the primates! I love seeing all the different primates in ZooTampa.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) or Chihuly Collection Presented by the Morean Arts Center but will be on our list the next time we visit Tampa Bay. There is no doubt that we will return – without the kids maybe! I think it is a great city for adults to get away for a weekend. There were many lounges and bars that we wanted to try but couldn’t because we were with the kids. Next time, we’ll explore other areas! We saw lots of places that had beer tasting and wine tasting.
Have you visited Tampa Bay? If so, what was your favorite place?