Fun things to do in Tampa

  • Lowry Park Zoo
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  • Lowry Park Zoo
    by alancollins
  • Lowry Park Zoo
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Tampa

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    Glazer Childrens museum

    by tampa_shawn Updated Jan 7, 2013

    This museum opened in September 2010 this museum is geared for children under 10 years old.

    The Glazer Children's museum is filled with more than 170 ‘Interactivities’ in 12 themed areas. The museum is the best museums like this I have ever been too (and I have been to over 20 of them). It is filled with things that will leave your child glassy-eyed with excitement for hours. I recently went with a one year old and his mother and the child was totally content for hours. We only left because the mom and I wanted a drink and some us time.

    Things I love about this museum:
    1) All the safety features. Adults are only allowed in the museum if they have a child. All the play areas have only one entrance and exit which is extremely helpful to single moms with multiple children. Good staff to children ratio and you can totally tell the people who work here love their job.

    2) Great features for mom's - inside stroller parking & big stroller friendly elevators. The museum is very well designed for children ages up to 10 so it is great for moms with multiple kids. This is a big museum with lots of space for the child to run but because it is multiple stories it is also easy to find your child.
    Their is also a martini bar across the street which is a great little break for mom while the child is napping. The menu there is also quite nice. Mom can also head right next door to the Tampa Art museum if the child is napping or old enough to enjoy that type of thing.

    3) Imagination overload. The theme rooms have theme outfits which adds to the enjoyment. Remember to put the child in a raincoat in the water area.

    4) Outdoor park - There is an outdoor park right there that is wonderful and also a great outdoor area with tons of green grass if you want to have a picnic or take a nap.
    If the weather is not too hot I would highly recommend putting lunch and a blanket in the stroller (if your children are of that age) and having a picnic the the grassy area outside the museum when your kids get tired. The museum is on the river walk (it is safe for kids) and has an amazingly beautiful views of the area.

    There is a cafeteria and a store in the museum too. Yearly passes are available and are totally worth the money. Birthday parties, summer camps etc are also available.

    Park at the Poe garage. When you enter the garage you will get a ticket. Do remember to take the ticket with you since it is a bit easier to pay for parking at a kiosk on your way back to the car. If you have small kids bring the stroller since it is a bit of a walk for the wee ones. We brought lunch and a change of clothes with us and left everything in the inside stroller parking.

    Children under 1: Free
    Children: $9.50
    Adults: $15.00
    Military/Seniors: $12.50
    MEMBERS: free

    Mon – Fri: 10am-5pm
    Sat: 10am-6pm
    Sun: 1pm-6pm

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    John Fitzgerald Kennedy Marker

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Sep 4, 2012

    There is a plaque at the Hillsborough County Court House is in commemoration of a speech given by President John F. Kennedy in October 1960. President Kennedy visited Tampa again on November 18th 1963, just four days before he was assassinated in Dallas. In fact the motorcade traveled a 20 mile route around Tampa, including down Tampa's wide Grand Central Avenue, most of which has since been renamed Kennedy Avenue.

    The plaque at the courthouse reads:

    On this site
    The President of the United States
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy
    addressed the citizens of the
    Tampa Bay Area
    and received the ovation of some
    10,000 persons on the declaration
    of his Latin American policy
    Oct. 18, 1960.

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    Hillsborough County Confederate Monument

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Sep 4, 2012

    In front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa you will find the Hillsborough County Confederate Monument. This historic monument was funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and unveiled on February 8, 1911. The monument called "in Aeterna," and it is made of imported Italian marble. Originally constructed in front of the first Tampa Courthouse at on the southwest corner of Franklin and Lafayette Streets, it was moved to the present location in 1952 following completion of the new Hillsborough County Courthouse.

    The solider facing north represents the warrior heading off to war in 1861, while the soldier facing south the battered and injured veteran returning home from the war.

    The poem on the monument was written by Sister Esther Carlotta, a Roman Catholic nun, who was president of the Florida Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy; it reads:

    Not theirs the rush of maddened wrath
    that reckless sundered ties of blood,
    but honor's beacon showed the path
    where dauntless duty stoop.
    Through famine years they followed far
    where her unswerving banners led -
    beyond her glory's flame - tipped star -
    behind her - honor's dead.
    The years their slow progression keep.
    The banner barred with red is furled -
    but now its gray clad - soldiers sleep
    the heroes of a world

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    Concerts at Raymond James Stadium

    by Ewingjr98 Written Sep 2, 2012

    In the summer of 2012, we saw the Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw "Brothers of the Sun" tour at Raymond James Stadium. The set us the stage in one end zone and sold tickets for about two thirds of the 65,000 seats in the stadium (the rest were behind the stage).

    We arrived as the warm up act, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, was playing. I had never heard of them, so really didn't have any interest. I was more entertained by the massive number of drunk cowboys that had descended on Tampa.

    Just prior to Tim McGraw coming onstage, we made our way up... and up... and up to our seats in the upper deck about 15 rows from the top, at the opposite end of the stadium from the stage. We were so far away that you really would have needed binoculars to see anything. Since we didn't bring binoculars, we decided to make due with beer goggles to improve our view. It turns out the sound is horrible when you are a half mile from the speakers as well.

    The concert was enjoyable, despite the fact that we couldn't see or hear anything. At least it was free due to my employer handing out some tickets. I can't imagine paying $50 or so for those seats.

    Moonrise over the stage Sunset during the show

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    Sulphur Springs Water Tower

    by Ewingjr98 Written Sep 1, 2012

    The historic Sulphur Springs Water Tower was built in 1927 and it stands 214 feet tall, with a base buried 45 feet under ground. The 200,000 gallon storage tank in the tower was built to provide water to the Sulpher Springs Hotel and the attached Mave's Arcade, the first shopping mall in the state of Florida. The arcade was flooded in 1933, which was followed by the Great Depression, and the owners went bankrupt. The tower continue to provide water to the local into the 1970s before it was decommissioned.

    In 2005, the City of Tampa purchased the tower and surrounding land (formerly a drive in movie theater) for nearly $3 million and has named the area Water Tower Park. This is now a 12.52 acre park, connected to Sulpher Springs Park under I-275.

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    Free and cheap for kids

    by tampa_shawn Written Jun 12, 2012

    For those of you visiting the Tampa Bay area with children it is nice to know that we have a ton of free/cheap parks, playgrounds and pools.

    Here are a few I thought that were mentioning.
    1) Highland Family Aquatic Center is more like a mini water park then a pool @ 400 Highland
    Ave, Largo.(small charge)

    2) Huge circus-themed playground @ 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota @ offers two areas for different
    age groups: an area for children ages 2-to-5 and one for ages 5-to-12. The playground
    encompasses one-half acres and more than 300 children can play simultaneously.

    Tampa Bay times list of 10 water playgrounds

    City of Tampa's list of playgrounds

    List of indoor playgrounds (these all charge)

    Tampa Bay Onlines List of playgrounds in Tampa - will give you one one closest to you.

    Orlando Playground guide (some of these will be worth the drive). Website has pictures -

    For a complete list of all the Tampa city parks and what they offer (remember neighborhoods
    also have parks that are not on this list):

    Pinellas county parks -

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    Lowry Park Zoo - Seminole Heights, Tampa

    by Ewingjr98 Written May 3, 2012

    Lowry Park Zoo is a 56 acre facility located in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa. A non-profit, the zoo was named America's number one zoo by Parents magazine 2009 & Child magazine 2004.

    The first Tampa zoo was established on the University of Tampa grounds, but was moved to its present site at Lowry Park in 1957. By the 1980s, the zoo had become a bit run down, and it was completely rebuilt and reopened in 1988.

    The zoo has five main areas: Safari Africa, Primate World, Asian Gardens, the Florida Wildlife Center, and a Children's Zoo. Safari Africa, just constructed in 2004 and expanded several times in recent years, features rhinoceros, meerkats, African elephants, endangered okapi, giraffes, camel rides, and the park's featured restaurant called O'Reilly's Reserve. Primate World was created in the zoo's 1988 reconstruction, and it houses Bornean Orangutan, Chimpanzee, Lemurs, Squirrel Monkeys and more.

    Elephants Endangered African Okapi: 1 of 10,000 globally Florida Manatee Tiger

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    Timeless Romance Recaptured from Days of Long Ago

    by JudeLauren Written Jul 13, 2011

    The best beach in the area (if you like kinda wild, maybe blustery, fairly uncluttered places--although not very large) is Pass-a-Grille, one of those off the coast of St Pete.
    For utter romance in hotels, go to the "Pink Palace," the Don ce Sar, also near St Pete ( You want romance? They got it in spades. No other word will do. The web site will let you know whether it's a match with what you're looking for.
    Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota is great fun, maybe try Ringling Art Galleries/Garders/Circus Museum. Lots of little shops on Longboat Key.
    Check local online papers for fish/farmer markets and ask around. Every neighborhood has its secrets but folks love to share that stuff. And visit Gulfport in south St Pete. This artists' haven (home of the Beach Theatre where The Rocky Horror Picture Show is still running) is our own La Boheme.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Jump Center

    by tampa_shawn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    I haven't been here yet but I just had to include this. It sounds like a wonderful thing to do during hot summer days in Flroida, especially if you have children

    welcomes all ages, beginners to professional athletes to defy gravity on our Giant Trampoline Arena! Whether you want to enjoy open jump, play dodgeball (BOING! style), host a party or event, or get a crazy workout doing BOINGRobics, BOING! Jump Center is the place for you!

    Located at 622-624 Ware Blvd, Tampa 33619, next to
    Brandon Crossroads Bowl
    Phone: 813-341-4897

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    Weekie Wachee Part 2

    by tampa_shawn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Traditional Florida Mermaid Springs

    You will want to see as many shows as possible - here are the times of the best ones. I'd recommend getting to the park right before 11 AM and staying to see the 3 PM show. All shows will be different. These were the times of the shows when I was there. I don't think they change much
    + The Mermaid Show 11 AM
    + Fish Tails (Mermaid Play - when I was there they were doing the Littlest Mermaid) 1:30
    + The Mermaid Show 3 PM

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    Visit a Local Artist

    by tampa_shawn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Tampa has a wide variety of artists. Some are in galleries others operate via the web or from small home bound studios. There are also quite a few art galleries that feature local and international artist. The link at the bottom of the page provides a pretty extensive list of local artists. Here are a few quick hits of the websites of local artists (all mediums are listed). Many accept commissioned pieces.

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    Ocala Area - hiking, rafting, diving, snorkeling

    by tampa_shawn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Ocala National Forest

    One place to start is the 383,220 acre Ocala National Forest. Has a vast variety of ecosystems a wonderful trail system for hiking. 65 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail run through the Ocala National Forest.

    Four major springs crystal clear springs are located within the forest, and are available to swim, dive, snorkel and canoe. Streams run between the springs which offer some of the best canoeing in Florida.

    The Upper Oklawaha River is blackwater and offers great canoeing. The entire trip
    takes two full days although there are four shortcuts which can reduce the distance.

    Eleven campgrounds
    100 miles of horse trails
    A twenty-two mile bicycle trail, fishing and limited hunting with permits.

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    Tampa Renaissance Festival

    by tampa_shawn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Is normally here in Tampa on weekends from mid January to April.

    Exact times, locations and prices vary year by year. Check the Friday things to do section in the paper or the free "weekly planet" at restaurants etc.

    For 2007
    Tampa, Florida
    Starts: 2/17/2007
    Ends: 4/1/2007

    Or see websites below

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    St Petersburg Pier

    by tampa_shawn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Florida Pier with more. Area has shops, restaurants, a small aquarium, fishing pier, boat tour and on the weekends a wide variety of live entertainment.

    Can park anywhere along the pier and take a free shuttle to the pier. At the foot of the pier are several museums (art and history) and a wonderful area to walk around with cut little shops etc.

    I like parking near the bottom of the pier (the area where you first turn in), this way you can walk down the scenic downtown St Pete also. From the pier 25 cents will get you on another shuttle that will provides a guided tour and stops at the local points of interests.

    Pier also has a tourist information center worth visiting. Second floor has a small aquarium that is quite nice, the top floor has restaurant with a spectacular view of the local area.

    Be sure to walk around the outside of the pier to see the birds and check out whatever outside entertainment is available that day. Weekends other have a wide variety of free entertainment including bands, sidewalk entertainment and others.

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    Al Lopez Park

    by sarahjayn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Al Lopez Park is a neat place. My favourite part of the park is the Cancer Survivor Plaza. A friend of mine from college passed away this past year from cancer, and its nice to see a reminder that's not everyone's fate. When I am stressed, I like to go there to meditate because I really feel that its just a place that's filled with a hopeful, positive energy. It's not just because I'm some kind of hippie, either. I rarely talk about the "energy" of a place, but its pretty undeniable here.
    Also, Al Lopez park is a neat place to take your family. There's two ponds: one for fishing and one for at which to look, and a nature trail (don't be expecting Bambi or anything, though . . . the park is too surrounded by city). There's also a dog park and several reservable shelters (check the website) for rent.
    All in all, it's a nice place to be.

    shady, pollen-filled spot

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Comments (1)

  • Oct 1, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    When I was in Tampa saw this unique place on Interstate 75 exit 266 (Fletcher ave7 I-75). Stped in the name Hongkongwillies. Was woth the time. Artist with a great life story. Jay Farmer
    Has anyone stoped at Hongkongwillied in Tampa.

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