Top 5 Fun Things to Do in Tampa, Florida
Florida offers so many great spots to have fun or just relax that it can be hard to narrow down just what you should try to see in your time there. A lot depends on where you happen to be going within Florida itself. For a really exciting vacation, many people choose to focus their time on Tampa, where there are some amazing places to visit. Here are five of the best fun places to see and visit in Tampa Florida that you must check out while you are here.
Hardly anyone can even think of going to Tampa without at least being aware of Busch Gardens. Busch Gardens has been around longer than places like Universal Studios or Disney World and has always been a great draw for families. What many people like about Busch Gardens is that it is actually cheaper to go there than to many other amusement parks or theme parks, so you can save some money and have just as great of a time taking in everything. Of course, the park is filled with all kinds of fantastic rides and roller coasters designed to appeal to children and adults of all ages and sizes. The park itself is consistently ranked in the top twenty of the most-visited parks in America and in the world. Many of the best roller coasters in the country are at Busch Gardens Tampa.
One of the biggest draws at Busch Gardens has always been the animal themed park where African animals are allowed to run free and be observed. This area of the park itself is broken up into themed areas such as Myombe Reserve, Cheetah Run, Curiosity Caverns, the Serengeti Plain and Asian Adventures, just to name a few. The Serengeti Plain was actually the first park area anywhere where animals were allowed to roam in a free environment and was initially opened in 1965. Animals of all types, from giraffe to rhinoceros to zebra and more can be observed in this area, making it one of the great highlights of a trip to Busch Gardens.
Lowry Park Zoo
Many people who visit the Tampa area choose to make the Lowry Park Zoo one of the final things they see on their trip to the Tampa area. It is smaller and makes it easier to do on a final day when everyone may not have as much energy to do a lot of walking around. It is located in the northern area of Tampa and although it is small, it is teeming with all kinds of wonderful animals to see. It is consistently voted as one of the top family-friendly zoos in America, meaning that if you are on a family trip this should be a must-see location for you.
Originally opened in 1957, the zoo has grown to include the largest collection of Florida-specific species of any place in the country. Exhibits feature many animals native to Florida, such as flamingos, the American panther, the American alligator and many other species. There are also a number of exhibits featuring more exotic animals, including animals featured in the African Safari area and in the Asian Gardens, where things like rhinoceros, elephants, leopards, komodo dragons and more can be seen as well. The park even features some rides for children, a roller coaster and a famous log flume ride.
The Florida Aquarium can be an entire day trip on its own. Located in the southeastern portion of Tampa, this aquarium is quite large, featuring over 20,000 different marine animals and plants both from Florida and from all over the globe. Originally opened in 1995, the aquarium has consistently been a huge attraction in the city Tampa and is well known for a signature exhibit called Coral Reef, which features a 500,000 gallon tank of saltwater that houses the coral and marine life, including a number of shark species that people really enjoy seeing. The aquarium acts as a great educational resource for anyone who enters and has exhibits showing a Florida beach and the journey of the waters of Florida from fresh springs all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico.
Of course, education is just one part of the Florida Aquarium. There are a number of fun exhibits that are worth checking out on the trip. Everyone loves to swing by and see the African penguins or make a stop at the polar bear exhibit. You can also check out the fabulous exhibits featuring sea turtles, moray eels or stingrays. There is even a state park trail known as Wetlands Trail where you can observe river otters, alligators, blue herons and more living in a completely natural habitat. The Florida Aquarium is a location you can easily spend hours learning, watching and enjoying the wildlife and scenery of the area.
Museum of Science and Industry
A great day with the family can be spent at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. This museum is the second-largest center for science in the southeastern portion of the United States. There are many fascinating and interesting artifacts and exhibits featured in the museum, not the least of which is the famous Sauropod dinosaur remains, one of the few fossils of this type actually on display anywhere in the country. There are hundreds of hands-on exhibits and activities that children will love to take part in. The Kids in Charge! Exhibit is even the largest children’s science area in the whole country and gives children incredible opportunity to learn, explore and play, including a lunar colony that kids can explore.
The museum is also well known for its famous IMAX exhibit called Dome. It is Florida’s only IMAX dome theatre and is considered to be the largest movie screen in all of Florida. Not only can you see first-run movies in this theater but there are a number of nature and educational films that will awe you with the spectacular size, beauty and sound of the screen and theater. Many people come to the museum just to view whatever happens to be showing in the IMAX Dome at the time without even seeing other parts of the museum.
Tampa Bay Times Forum
A trip to the Tampa Bay Times Forum is a must for anyone who wants to take in one of several sporting events or shows in the city of Tampa. Built in 1996 and now named for the local newspaper, the Times Forum is perhaps best known as the home for the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning. The hockey team plays its home schedule here, so if you are in the area during hockey season, taking in a game could be worth your while. If you prefer some indoor football, you can also catch the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League here. The Forum also hosts any number of other sporting events, such as college basketball and college hockey and some wrestling events.
If you prefer to go to a concert, then the Forum can be just your place as well. They have featured many of the top acts crossing all genres of music so there is something that can appeal to just about everyone. There are also a number of family-oriented and children’s shows that play at the Forum, including various ice shows and revues featuring favorite cartoon characters or even the circus. With so many events hosted here, the Tampa Bay Times Forum consistently ranks as one of the top-booked venues in all of North America.
There are so many things that can be found or done within the Tampa, Florida area for you and your family that it is hard to narrow things down to just a few places. There are many more other than just the five listed here, so if you are planning a trip to this area of the country you should check around and see what else you can find to do within this bustling city.