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10 FUN Things To Do in Tampa with Kids

10 FUN Things To Do in Tampa with Kids

There are so many fun things to do in Tampa with kids! This beautiful waterfront city has so much to offer families, including fabulous year-round weather, world-class animal attractions, and gorgeous views from water to wildlife.

Tampa is considered a “hidden city” and is definitely one of the best cities in the country for a family vacation. Here are our picks for the top 10 things to do in Tampa with kids. plus some can’t-miss dining, lodging, and day trip recommendations.

Best Things to do in Tampa with Kids

 1. Visit Ybor City

things to do in Tampa with kids include a visit to Ybor City
Ybor City | Photo by Lee Fenner

Take a step back in time as you walk down the brick streets of Ybor City (pronounced EE-bor). Marvel at the buildings rich with history that lead into a cultural experience for the whole family!

Enjoy the sights, tastes, and sounds of Cuban, Spanish, and Italian influences as you dine, shop, and stroll around 7th avenue. Bring the family for lunch or dinner to The Columbia Restaurant, Florida’s oldest restaurant, for the best Paya and Spanish Flamenco dancing on this side of the pond.

Book Ybor City Food and Drink Walking Tour via TripAdvisor. As a Trip Advisor affiliate Trekaroo receives a small commission to help fund our small business and you get the lowest rates guaranteed.

Visit the Ybor History Museum, shop at Centro Ybor, or relax outside at one of the many cafés with a delicious cafe con leche. Take the TECO Streetcar to the Florida Aquarium.

Look for current hotel deals near Tampa Bay. As a trusted affiliate Trekaroo can guarantee the lowest rates.

 2. Explore Hyde Park Village

fresh market hyde park photo
Hyde Park | Photo by marcoverch

Just outside of downtown Tampa, you’ll stumble upon the most quaint shopping and dining neighborhood in Tampa know as Hyde Park Village. This historic South Tampa district has outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment day or night for the whole family.

Eat at The Wine Exchange or Timpanos for a Sunday Brunch, paint your own pottery with the kids at Color Me Mine, or leisurely walk to Kate Jackson Park, where kids can burn off some energy on the playground, at the basketball courts, or at the fountains.

If you are fortunate enough to be in town the first weekend of the month, enjoy the city’s largest Fresh Market, with local artisan vendors, local cuisine, live music, and more.

 3. See Sea Life at Florida Aquarium

Visiting the Florida Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Tampa with kids
Florida Aquarium | Photo by makelessnoise

Another stop off the TECO Trolly is the Florida Aquarium. The Florida Aquarium is home to sharks, penguins, sting rays, lemurs of Madagascar, and the cutest otters you’ll ever see!

Lots of native Floridian wildlife will have your kids learning a lot too! Bring swimsuits for the little ones, as the splash pad is a big hit. Watch them cool off while you grab a seat at the tiki hut and enjoy lunch outside.

Trekaroo is a CityPass affiliate. Buy discount tickets for the most popular attractions for families in Tampa, including Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

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 4. Experience Thrills at Busch Gardens

Where can you feed giraffes at night, be a zoo keeper for a day, or ride one of seven world-class roller coasters?Busch Gardens is one of Tampa’s most visited attractions and Florida’s thrill ride leader. A visit is a “must” when exploring Tampa with kids.

If it’s larger-than-life roller coasters, up-close animal encounters, or spectacular shows and entertainment you crave, Busch Gardens is for you! And with Sesame Street Safari, even the littlest ones will have an amazing time!

Adventure Island, Busch Gardens’ water park, is located around the corner and is a perfect place to cool off on a hot Florida summer afternoon. And if you’re visiting during the summer, be on the look out for Island Nights at Adventure Island. It’s a night party your kids will not want to miss!

Trekaroo is a CityPass affiliate. Buy discount tickets for the most popular attractions for families in Tampa, including Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

10 FUN Things To Do in Tampa with Kids 1

 5. Take Your Little Ones to the Glazer Children’s Museum

things to do in Tampa with kids include visiting the Glazer Childrens Museum
Glazer Childrens Museum | Photo by Flickr/PhotoMatt28

The Tampa Riverwalk project aims to bring life back to downtown. The Glazer Childrens Museum sits right in the heart of downtown and will give families an afternoon of fun! This hands-on, entertaining, and educational museum, perfect for preschoolers to early elementary school kids, has so much to see and do!

Walk next door to the Tampa Museum of Art or relax with a picnic lunch in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. It is definitely one of my favorite places to spend the afternoon.

 6. Catch One of Your Favorite Tampa Teams in Action

tampa bay times forum photo
Tampa Bay Times Forum | Photo by pointnshoot

If sports are the way to your family’s heart, it’s easy to find a place to catch a game in Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum host the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Storm (arena football) and is located right in downtown. If football is your thing, head over to Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If it’s baseball, right across the street is Steinbrenner Field, home to the world champion New York Yankees for Spring Training, as well as the minor league Tampa Yankees. Head just cross the bridge to see the Tampa Bay Rays play some baseball.

Check out our list of Best Places to Watch Sports in Tampa Bay.

 7. Hang with the Animals at ZooTampa

lowry park zoo photo
An Ape at the Lowry Park Zoo | Photo by joiseyshowaa

Voted one of the best zoos in America by Trekaroo families, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is a must see while in town with kids. Just north of Tampa’s Downtown, this zoo has over 2,000 animals, which means there is something for everyone.

Feed giraffes, visit Africa in a behind-the-scenes Expedition Africa Safari, or cool off with the Gator Falls Flume ride. Explore Wallaby Station with little ones as they can ride the Tasmanian Family Coaster, bumper boats, or the ever-popular carousel!

It’s a perfect setting to learn, as up-close animal encounters are everywhere throughout the zoo.

Love visiting animals? See the rest of Trekaroo’s best zoos in the US!

Trekaroo is a CityPass affiliate. Buy discount tickets for the most popular attractions for families in Tampa, including Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

10 FUN Things To Do in Tampa with Kids 1

 8. Go on a Tampa Waterway Tour

Tampa Bay E-Boats

With water surrounding downtown Tampa Bay, there is no better way to experience and appreciate this great city than a tour through the Bay via eBOATS Tampa.

Choose to rent a boat or take a guided tour for an insider’s view to Tampa Bay. Catch the sunset and watch for dolphins or manatees while sitting back, relaxing, and taking in Tampa Bay’s natural beauty.

If sailing is your thing, venture out on a sailboat with Tampa Bay Sailing Tours.

Love dolphins? Don’t miss this Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise out of Tampa.

 9. Get Outside and Enjoy Some Hillsborough River Watersports

10 FUN Things To Do in Tampa with Kids 4
Viewing Tampa from a kayak tour of the Hillsborough River | Photo by Urban Kai

If you’re looking to escape city life, take a paddle board or kayak adventure with Urban Kai down the Hillsborough River’s 16,000-acre preserve. Florida wildlife is in abundance here, so you don’t want to forget your camera!

An ecotour through the mangroves is available though a preserve right behind their shop in St. Petersburg. The tour provides an up-close look at all kinds of wildlife and stunning scenery.

Look for the best hotel prices nearby Tampa Bay

 10. Experience the Tampa Theatre

tampa theatre photo
Tampa Theatre | Photo by daneshjai

The iconic Tampa sign hangs outside the downtown Tampa Theatre, one of America’s best-preserved examples of grand, movie palace architecture. Giving the community a connection to the past, this cinema treasure represents a time when the American movie going experience was just that, an experience.

Tours run daily, including a “balcony to backstage” tour that incorporates hearing the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ play just as it did over 100 years ago! This historic landmark is fun for families to experience during the Family Classic Movie Series held throughout the year.

Great Places to Eat in Tampa

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Columbia Restaurant | Photo by Sharon Rigney

Tampa Bay is known for its Spanish heritage and The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City will have your family feasting on Spanish cuisine while being entertained by traditional Flamenco dancers.

If you’re looking for a few places to grab a quick bite of great food, try the Taco Bus (as seen on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives), New World Brewery (best pizza), and at Datz’s Deli nothing on the menu will disappoint.

Insiders Tip: Don’t forget to have a Cuban, Tampa Bay’s signature sandwich! We also love Carmine’s, a casual café in Ybor City where the devil crab is the thing to order.

Check out our list of Top Restaurants in Tampa Bay to Dine With Kids!

Where to Stay in Tampa with Kids

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Treat yourself to a stay at the JW Marriott Water Street | Photo by Visit Tampa Bay

Book through Trekaroo with confidence. Trekaroo is a trusted affiliate and offers the lowest prices guaranteed.

Tampa Bay has a vibrant downtown with many hotels that are centrally located for families to explore the city while still being near the beach! Take the TECO Streetcar around town to explore the city.

The new JW Marriott Water Street is a wonderful option for the family looking to up their hotel game and put a bit of luxury into their vacation. Be sure to grab a room on the upper floors for a terrific view of the waterfront and super amenities that will deliver a stay like you’ve not treated yourself to in awhile. It’s connected by a skywalk to the Marriott Waterside, so feel free to enjoy the amenities at both resorts.

The Marriott Waterside and Embassy Suites Tampa have beautiful views of the Bay and are perfectly situated in downtown Tampa.

The Hampton Inn and Suites in Ybor City is a TECO Streetcar ride to the Florida Aquarium and downtown. For those wanting to stay on the beach, try the Sirata Resort, TradeWinds Resort on St.Pete Beach or the Hyatt Clearwater Beach.

Check out our Top Tampa Bay Hotels for Families!

Day Trips from Tampa with Kids


Orlando is a fun day trip from tampa
Having Fun at the Magic Kingdom | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Our popular neighbor to the east is only an hour drive away, which is close enough to justify a day trip to do or see whatever your heart desires!

Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, or Universal Orlando Resort for the day can easily be added to your agenda while staying in Tampa. Pop over for a show like Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba at Downtown Disney or Blue Man Group at Universal Studios.

discount theme park tickets

As a trusted Undercover Tourist affiliate, we are thrilled to be able to offer Trekaroo readers discount Orlando theme park tickets. Save big and skip the line! Undercover Tourist has discount tickets for Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort & more!

Here are our favorite things to do in Orlando with kids


LEGOLAND Florida Guide Entrance
LEGOLAND Florida entrance. Photo by: Karyn Locke

45 minutes away from Tampa, you’ll find LEGOLAND nestled in central Florida. This 150-acre theme park is geared towards kids ages 2-12.

With more than 50 rides (including roller coasters), shows, and even an entire waterpark, families will come and enjoy a fun day building memories! We have a full guide to LEGOLAND Florida to help you plan your visit. 

As a trusted Undercover Tourist affiliate, we are thrilled to be able to offer Trekaroo readers discount LEGOLAND Florida tickets. Save money and skip the line!


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Gliding n the water at Silver Springs State Park | Photo by Sharon Rigney

Take a trip to the Horse Capital of the World and enjoy equestrian events, horseback riding, stunning state parks (Silver Springs State Park is one not to miss) and thrilling adventure activities like Canyon Zip Line. It’s an outdoor-lover’s oasis.

Experience Some of the Best Beaches in America

st pete beach photo
St. Pete beach | Photo by hyku

From Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach, Tampa Bay is only an hour away from the tropical, postcard-perfect, paradise vacation you’ve dreamed of! Our friends to the west have sugar sand beaches and sunsets like no other.

Clearwater’s Pier 60 has “The Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival,” a nightly sunset celebration. This free, family event features artisans, crafters, street performers and musical entertainment.

Another local favorite is Pass-A-Grille Beach in St. Pete where you can enjoy beachcombing and boating abound in this barefoot wonderland. Grab a bite to eat at The Hurricane, a local favorite, and watch the sunset while dining on fresh seafood.

Check out our guide to visiting Clearwater with kids

10 FUN Things To Do in Tampa with Kids 8Find things to do with kids near you!

From coast to coast, we’re determining the Top 10 Things to do with Kids near You in each state of our great nation.  

Lead photo by: Bigstock/VIAVAL

Sharon Nolan