Tampa Family Attractions Promise Fun and Adventure

Tired of the same old vacation? Visit Tampa. This destination offers the best of a big city with exciting attractions paired with proximity to beaches and small coastal towns. Those are just a few reasons why families love Tampa, too. To start planning, read about the top Tampa family attractions and find things to do.

Tampa Family Attractions: Where to Play Together

tampa family attractions zoo

Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue has one goal: Provide the best care possible to their resident cats. Visitors won’t find cages. Here cats roam on one of the largest accredited sanctuaries for large cats in the world. The organization works to rescue abused and abandoned cats, including jaguars, leopards, lions, tigers, bobcats, lynx and dozens more.

Reservations are required to visit Big Cat Rescue. The attraction offers several tour options, but they sell out often so book in advance. Big Cat Rescue does allow children, but those under 5 are only allowed on kid tours and private tours.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa at Lowry Park also rescues, rehabilitates and cares for animals. The zoo welcomes 1 million people a year who explore 50-plus acres. Many animals are accustomed to Florida’s climate and come from all over the world.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park offers general admission and special tours. Expect to see African painted dogs, Florida panther, pygmy hippo, elephants, penguins and more exhibits. For unforgettable photos, upgrade to a meet-and-greet. Visitors may choose from giraffes, giant tortoise, white rhino and koala, to name a few.

tampa family attractions coasters

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens in Tampa offers hours of entertainment and thrills. This park ranks among the best amusement parks in the world, according to TripAdvisor.

Thrill rides include roller coasters, a drop tower, water rides and kid rides. In between rides, guests see animals such as cheetah, gorillas, zebras, meerkats and kangaroo. While playing at Busch Gardens, don’t miss award-winning shows that occur daily. Families enjoy doo wop, Sesame Street and Turn it Up, the hottest show on ice.

Adventure Island

A sister park to Busch Gardens and among the best Tampa family attractions, Adventure Island features a water lover’s playland. Guests just need swimwear, sunscreen and a ticket.

At Adventure Island, zoom down water slides, swim and float all day. The park has slides and thrills for all ages, including kid-friendly play areas. Main draws are a dozen waterslides, large wave pool and 1/2-mile lazy river.

florida kid fun family

The Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium cares for more than 14,000 animals. This attraction has exhibits from all over the world but focuses on coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks and other marine life from Tampa Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys and Cuba.

Habitats include bays and beaches, coral reef, sea dragons, wetlands, octopus, jellies, otters, and alligators. In addition to exhibits, guests enjoy aquarium tours and up-close experiences. The aquarium also has an outdoor splash pad and water play zone for small children.

Glazer Children’s Museum

Among the top Tampa family attractions is Glazer Children’s Museum, which suits children aged birth to 10 years. During visits, children use their imagination and learn through interactive exhibits.

At Artsmart, kids create masterpieces, build and dance. Then they can explore Gasparilla Island, invent in the engineer workshop, farm, build forts, play music, bake pizza and care for animals in the vet clinic. Children also enjoy dressing up, shopping, and make-believe activities. The only limit is their imagination.

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry, a.k.a MOSI, offers a scientific playground with more than 100 hands-on activities. These exhibits encourage guests to ask questions and embrace curiosity.

Start at the planetarium and areas that explore physics, geology and math. Then get a look inside the human body and learn about fitness and healthy lifestyles. Mind mysteries play with illusions, and the geo lab showcases weather’s force.

sports tampa

Sports Venues in Tampa

In addition to these Tampa family attractions, the city also has a action-packed sports scene. Tampa Bay Buccaneers play football at Raymond James Stadium. Hockey fans can cheer for NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning at Amelia Arena. During spring, MLB’s New York Yankees come to Tampa and play at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Other professional sports in Tampa include Tampa Bay Rowdies in pro soccer, University of South Florida athletics and Tampa Bay Downs, a thoroughbred racetrack.

Ready to visit? Book a Tampa vacation rental today. Many have pools, backyards, scenic views and outdoor dining.