What drew my husband and I to this area was the plethora of excellent-rated schools and the proximity to I-75. We also wanted a community with resort-style amenities that would offer my daughter and me something to do on days I didn’t want to drive anywhere. Over the years of living here, however, we have come to learn that there is much more to enjoy about the Tampa Palms/New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area.
The Shops at Wiregrass (28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543) offers their Wiregrass Ranchers Kids Club every Wednesday morning from 10-11 a.m. Each week features different kid-friendly entertainment. Check the mall’s events calendar to find out what special entertainment will be taking place each week.
You Do the Dishes (15357 Amberly Dr, Tampa, FL 33647) is a paint-your-own-pottery studio. Families can enjoy painting unique pieces. The shop also offers a coffees bar and ice cream.
Monkey Bizness (in The Shops at Wiregrass) is an indoor play space where children up to age 8 can climb, jump, slide … and even paint. They also offer Family Nights, which feature discounted admission. The facility also offers a coffee bar with a variety of coffees and light snacks.
Muvico Starlight 20 (18002 Highwood Preserve Parkway, Tampa, FL 33647) is the place to go for movies in New Tampa, or head up to the Cobb Grove 16 Theatre (In The Grove, 6333 Wesley Grove Blvd., Wesley Chapel, FL 33544) in Wesley Chapel. The Cobb Theatre also features a CineBistro.
New Tampa Regional Library (10001 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647) offers a variety of FREE programming for kids and families. Be sure to check the HCPLC calendar to stay on top of upcoming events.
This area is also home to both a Home Depot (New Tampa) and Lowe’s (Tampa Palms) store, so don’t forget to bring the kids for the FREE Home Depot Kid’s Workshops on the first Saturday of each month (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) and to Lowe’s Build & Grow Clinics on select Saturdays at 10 a.m. (NOTE: You will need to register for the Lowe’s Build & Grow Clinic online before attending.)
PARKS & OUTDOOR RECREATION
This area is rife with communities offering park and country club-style amenities for residents. For those visiting the area, there are several parks to enjoy:
— New Tampa Nature Park (17001 Dona Michelle Drive, Tampa, FL 33647): This park, which opened in November 2012, offers a raised boardwalk through wetlands, unpaved hiking trails, picnic tables, a playground, and a zip line play feature. There is also a paved path that connects the park with Flatwoods Park. (FREE parking)
— Flatwoods Wilderness Regional Park (14302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592): This 5,400-acre park features a 2-mile paved extension that connects Bruce B. Downs Boulevard with the 7-mile paved multi-use loop road. Flatwoods Park Trail is a paved 1-mile connection between Morris Bridge Road and the loop road. ($2 parking fee; Open daily from sunrise to sunset.)
Leave Bruce B. Downs Boulevard (the main road through Tampa Palms, New Tampa and Wesley Chapel) to take Cross Creek Boulevard until it ends at Morris Bridge Road in Thonotosassa and you’ll find the beginning of the 1-mile Flatwoods Park Trail and two more parks:
— Branchton Park (15701 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592): Basketball court, picnic tables and shelters, playground, fitness and walking trails.
— Dead River Wilderness Regional Park (15098 Dead River Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592): This 21-acre park features a scenic two-mile trail along the Hillsborough River. Nature lovers will enjoy bird watching, fishing, biking and camping. The park is open daily from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. for bicycle and pedestrian access, while vehicle access is allowed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Paddle & Pole (15310 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592) offers kayak, canoe and fishing gear rentals.
Kids can take a variety of classes, including gymnastics, dance, skateboarding, soccer and more at the New Tampa Recreation Center and Community Park (17302 Commerce Park Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647). The Center also features a playground. The New Tampa Family YMCA (16221 Compton Drive, Tampa, FL 33647) also offers classes — including swimming — for kids and families.
A relatively short drive away, in Zephyrhills, FL is shady Zephyr Park (38116 5th Avenue, Zephyrhills, FL), which is home to a nice splash pad. Parking is FREE, and the splash area is fully fenced. Zephyr Park also offers playground equipment, picnic tables, restrooms, lighted tennis courts, handball, and a walking path around a large lake that is the focal point of the park.
New Tampa is home to one of Tampa Bay’s few McDonald’s with an indoor play space. Meet other moms and dads and let the kids play. Or head over to Chick-fil-A @ North Palms Village, which also offers an indoor play area plus weekly Family Night activities on Tuesdays. Follow Chick-fil-A @ North Palms Village on Facebook to find out stay up-to-date on upcoming activities.
Red Robin (at The Shops at Wiregrass) offers balloons to children when they visit.
Steak ‘N Shake (17509 N. Palms Village Place, Tampa, FL 33647) gives children hats, crayons, an activity sheet, and a foldable paper car to make. They also offer half-price milkshakes from 2-4 p.m. on weekdays.
Texas Roadhouse (26409 Silver Maple Parkway, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544) has Kid’s Night on Tuesdays from 4-10 p.m. with activities to entertain the kids, making a family dinner out much more enjoyable for the whole family. Kid’s Nights feature $0.99 Kid’s Meals, special visits from Andy Armadillo, a balloon artist, and arts and crafts.
At Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (2653 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Wesley Chapel, 33544 FL), every meal comes with complimentary ice cream and dill pickles. Plus, kids eat FREE on Sundays.
My family’s favorite go-to place for froyo is CherryBerry New Tampa. Why? We particularly like the comfortable upholstered chairs and couches, the open TV control policy that allows moms and dads to choose appropriate programming for the kids, the readily available sample cups, and the friendly staff. However, this area offers frozen yogurt shops to suit every preference, including Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt (they sometimes has a balloon twister at the shop making balloon creations for the kids), You Say When Yogurt Shoppe, Frogury, Mochiberri Frozen Yogurt, and the new La’berry.
For those who love a little nostalgia, be sure to look for the iconic ice cream cone building as you drive Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in New Tampa; our new Twistee Treat ice cream shop offers rich and creamy soft-serve ice cream that can be purchased from the walk-up window or through the drive-thru. The area offers many other delicious ice cream oportunities as well, including Cold Stone Creamery, Baskin Robbins, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, North Pole Ices and Dairy Queen.
This neighborhood also offers other frozen treats, such as smoothies from Smoothie King and Roux’s New Orleans-Style Snoballs (19651 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33647).
You can also enjoy some amazing baked goods from Stacy’s Gluten Free Goodies (10335 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647), Blondie’s Cookies Inc. (in The Shops at Wiregrass), and The Hungry Greek (2653 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544)
Do you know where this picture was taken? Let us know in the comments!
There are also many more great restaurants and activities in this area. What are your favorites?