ABC’s of the Tampa Bay Area: Explore our City from Aquariums to Zoos (and everything in between!)

The ABC’s of Tampa Bay represent an array of activities, history and education spread between the entire Bay Area that encompasses Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. I never realized how much was available in this city, I could add 100 more locations to visit. Our list pulls together all the different terrains the Tampa Bay area has to offer; beaches, farms and city life. If you’re visiting from out of town we can definitely keep you busy, if you currently live here there’s a good chance you have a lot of activities on your to-do list now.
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A

AirHeads Trampoline Arena: Indoor trampoline park.
Albert Whitted Airport Park: Located right between the St Pete Pier and the Dali Museum(see below). Most trips there will allow you to watch dolphins swimming in the bay and planes coming and going from the Airport.
Aquariums: Florida Aquarium in Tampa’s Channelside District and Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale films.

B

Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, Yankess Spring Training in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field and Phillies Spring Training at Florida’s Grapefruit League in Clearwater.
Bayshore Blvd.: 4.5 mile long waterfront sidewalk on Hillsborough River in South Tampa; claimed to be the longest continuous sidewalk in the world. Popular for exercising, leisure strolling and Tampa’s iconic Gasparilla Parade route.
Big Cat Rescue: A nonprofit educational sanctuary.
Big Red Balloon: Take a ride on a hot air balloon at an altitude of 1000 feet overlooking the treetops while enjoying panoramic view of Tampa’s lakes, diverse wildlife and unique landscape.
Boating: If you own a boat these are great marina options: City of St Pete Municipal Marina, Mariner’s Cove Marina, or Gulfport Marina.
Brew Bus: Tampa and St. Pete are beginning to be known for it’s craft breweries and this bus will escort you on the trail!
Busch Gardens: A theme park with thrill rides, live entertainment, animal encounters and safaris.

C

Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise: Get lost in the pirate antics of treasure hunts, face painting, water gun games, stories and dancing for all.
Cigar City Brewery: Take a brewery tour and visit the tap room. If you get hungry, there’s usually a great food truck stationed in the parking lot.
Coast Bike Share: Rent a bike to cruise the city to your next destination.
Congo River Golf: Award-winning miniature golf course.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park: A recreational park overlooking the Hillsborough River and the historical University of Tampa across the way. Recreational activities are welcomes on the green, chlorinated water fountains run on either side of the park to cool off along with a fenced in dog park.

D

Dali Museum: A museum of artwork, exhibits and events all about Salvador Dali.
Dinosaur WorldWalk through the jungle and learn how the dinosaurs lived.
Drive-In Movie Theaters: Click here to see our review on all the drive-ins Tampa and the surrounding area has to offer.
Dunedin Brewery: Oldest microbrewery in Florida located in Dunedin.

E

Egmont Key: Primarily a wildlife refuge this beach has a unique culture and history, including a lighthouse that’s stood since 1958. This beach is so pristine because it’s only accessible by boat.
Ergle Farm: Located in Dade City just north of Tampa, it’s known as a Christmas tree farm but also pick-your-own berries, train ride, barnyard animals, pumpkin patch and tours available.

F

Farmers Markets: Between six locations you’re bound to find fresh veggies and local products that will keep you coming back for more.
Football: Home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Storm.
Fort De Soto: Named America’s top beach in 2009. Explore this beach with a day by water, nature trails, a dog park and camping.

G

Gasparilla Pirate FestTampa’s iconic pirate invasion and parade is held in January which includes weeks of local events for children and adults.
Glazer Children’s Museum: A children’s educational playground filled with exhibits, programs and camps.
Grand Central District: Shopping area in downtown St. Pete full of reclaimed furniture, antique shops and restaurants.
Grand Prix Tampa: A family fun center with indoor arcade games, batting cages, miniature golf and go-cart racing.
Great Explorations: A children’s museum located in the 4th st. district of downtown St. Pete

H

Heritage Village: 21-acre living history museum located in Pinellas county; home to the some of the county’s most historic buildings.
History Museums: There’s one in Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Honeymoon Island: A popular beach destination for families and pet with activities that range from canoeing to weddings.
HockeyHome of the Tampa Bay Lightning located downtown.

I

Improv of Tampa: The hub of local and professional comedian tours.
International Plaza and Bay Street: Shopping plaza adjacent to Tampa’s International Airport with over 200 specialty shops, restaurants and nightlife.

J

Jannus Live: Indoor concert venue in downtown St. Pete hosting an eclectic array of touring talent, DJs and local artists.
Johns Pass Village & Boardwalk: Popular destination for tourists with shopping, restaurants and water sports.

K

Kayak, Paddle Board and Segway Tours: A mobile tour company that brings the tour to you and customizes to your needs.
Keel and Curley Winery: Blueberry vineyard with tasting room located in Plant City just east of Tampa.

L

Largo Central Railroad, Inc: 1.2 mile track that rides through beautifully landscaped Large Central Park.
Legoland: Lego. Land. Need we say more? Located just outside of Tampa in Winter Haven.
Lettuce Lake ParkFeatures a boardwalk, fitness course, nature trails, bird watching, canoeing, fishing dock and a picnic area with bbq grills.
Loews Don Cesar: Visit the iconic ‘big pink hotel’ that sits right on St. Pete beach with two pools and special kids programs the features a mini bar with kiddie favorites.

M

MOSI: Museum of Science and Industry; a scientific playground with over 450 hands-on activities and an iMax dome.
Mahaffey Theatre: live performance venue for music, dance and theater.

N

Nature’s Boot Camp: Grab a group of friends and experience obstacles, zip lines, mud runs, eco tours and more.
Naviera Coffee MillsSee the coffee roasting process in this historic shop (El Molino Gourmet Coffee Shop) that was founded in 1921 by a spanish immigrant that rolled cigars by day and roasted his coffee at night.

O

Old City Helicopters: Take a helicopter tour over Tampa, St. Pete and the beaches!
Old McMicky’s Farm: Experience a day on the farm with up-close animal experiences.

P

Pier 60: Family friendly area on Clearwater beach with fishing, playground and restaurants.
Pinellas Trail: Recreational multi-use trail from St.Pete to Tarpon Springs
Planetarium and Observatory: ‘Star theater’ with 24-foot domed ceiling to simulate the night sky and an observation deck with telescopes.
Public Pool: North Shore Aquatic Complex is open year round, features a 50 meter pool with diving board, 25 yard training pool, a play pool with a giant flume slide and splash pad.

Q

Q-zar: Indoor Laser tag Xtreme fun center
Tampa’s Latin Quarter: Known as Ybor City; see below.
Quiet time: Libraries are located throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas county that offer history, children’s programs and a little peace and quiet.

R

RiverwalkA 2.4 mile stretch in the downtown area connecting you to restaurants, events, entertainment and recreation.
Rock the Park: Rock out on the 1st Thursday of every month at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

S

Shuffleboard Courts: Shuffleboard is back and located near downtown St. Pete. Play for free on Friday nights!
Skatepark of Tampa: One of the most popular skateboards in the nation; ‘The Spot’ offers lessons, camps, open skate sessions and even hosts professional competitions.
Straz Performing Arts CenterLocated in downtown Tampa, this theater offers musical and theatre from Broadway to local artist.
Sunken Gardens: A 100 year old botanical garden home to some of the oldest tropical plants of the region, waterfalls, gardens and more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers.

T

Tampa Bay Downs: Home to America’s oldest and well-maintained thoroughbred race tracks. Also has poker and golf.
Trolley Streetcar: Take a ride through downtown Tampa, Ybor and Channelside with 11 station stops on the 2.4 mile track.

U

University of South Florida: Experience the Bulls life through their sports teams, community held events and recreational activities.
University of Tampa: Visit this historic, private Florida University that was once the Tampa Bay Hotel and remains the symbol of the city. A popular destination for family photos because of its architecture.

V

Vertical VenturesIndoor rock climbing gym for all skill levels.
Vinoy Park: An 11.6 acre waterfront park in downtown St. Pete for special events and a popular location for mom group meet ups.

W

Walk of Fame: Located on the west side entrance to the Rays’ Tropicana Field. Dozens of sports legends from the Tampa Bay area are recognized, including Wade Boggs, Nicole Haislett, Babe Zaharias, and Lee Roy Selmon.
Water Theme Park: Adventure Island located across from Busch Gardens.
Waterworks Park: Newly restored playground and splash pad on the Hillsborough River’s Riverwalk, adjacent to Ulele Restaurant with Florida native inspired foods & spirits
Weeki Wachee: The only city with live mermaids, plus it’s Florida’s only spring-fed water park.

X

Xtreme Adventures: A family fun center with lazer tag, xtreme jump, arcade and other fun group activities located in Lutz.
Xtreme Fun Center: Lazer tag, arcade, batting cages and other fun group activities located in Largo.

Y

Ybor City: Founded as a cigar-manufacturing center and is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida.
Yoga in the Park: Class is held every Sunday from 6 – 7pm in downtown Tampa at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Z

Zip line & Ropes Course: Experience an adrenaline-fueled adventure located within MOSI (see above).
Lowry Park ZooAnimals, attractions, events, education and camps. Oh my!

Editor’s Note: We had three Tampa Bay Moms Blog writers contribute to this article to bring you the best across the Bay! Thanks to Amanda, Bernadette, and Lindsay!

So, tell us! What did we miss on this list of great things in Tampa Bay? Please share in the comments below!

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18 Responses to ABC’s of the Tampa Bay Area: Explore our City from Aquariums to Zoos (and everything in between!)

  1. Stacey September 26, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Good list but light on museums & many are very kid friendly, like Tampa bay history center. Also FMoPA & TMA bordering Curtis Hixon Park. Tampa water taxi & eboats are also great ways to take in downtown Tampa

    • Lindsay September 26, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

      Oh gosh… how obvious, I’ll need to add these on the list, thank you!!

  2. Robin (Masshole Mommy) September 26, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    This is an awesome post. I was in Tampa once, but it was before kids. I would love to bring them there one of these days.

  3. Kungphoo September 26, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    I used to travel there once a month.. i never heard of 75% of this.. thanks for the next time i go!

  4. Yonca September 26, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    I wish i travel more! Hopely after i get retired. Great post!

  5. Amber September 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    It sounds like their is soooo much to do in your area 🙂 A lot of fun activities.

  6. Harriet September 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    That is an impressive list. I’m more familiar with the other coast of Fla.

    • Bernadette September 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      I’m from the east coast so I am a little familiar with the Palm Beach/Palm Beach Gardens areas.

  7. Lavende & Lemonade September 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    I had no idea there was so much for kids to do in Tampa! Will bookmark this for our next trip out in that area.

  8. Jess Scull September 26, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    I have always wanted to go to Tampa! Thanks for the recommendations!

  9. Kori September 26, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    This is an amazing directory! Thank you so much for putting this together. Definitely something to keep in mind if we ever make it down there.

  10. Carly Anderson September 26, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    What a great way to put together things to explore in the Tampa Bay area! There’s definitely a great variety of things!

  11. Theresa September 26, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    This is an extensive listing. Good to know, in case I ever visit the Tampa Bay area.

  12. Liz Mays September 27, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    Tampa has a lot to offer! That is entertainment for months!

  13. Rosey September 27, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    You’ve got so many good things here. I saw a Tampa/Dallas NFL game there once. 🙂

  14. Yona Williams September 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    Had to Pin this for later because I visit the St. Pete area often.

  15. Michelle September 29, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    My cousin lives in the Tampa area. This site is perfect for her. I’m passing it on.

  16. Mhar Sefcik October 4, 2014 at 2:56 am #

    Sure thing there are lots of stuff to see and do in Tampa Bay. Would love to visit someday.