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May 1, 2020

Our Favorite Kid-Friendly Spots to Social Distance in Tampa Bay

By Laura Byrne

As Florida enters its first phase of re-opening as Safer at Home orders lift, families are beginning to venture outside of their homes…with a bit more caution, of course. While you’ll want to maintain a safe distance from others to be safe and bring the hand sanitizer and cloth masks with you…there are some really great places to explore and things to do while avoiding crowds.

READ: The Comeback | Tampa Bay Attractions Announce Reopening Dates

Here are some of our favorite spots to take the kids and social distance in Tampa Bay!

Local Parks and Preserves:

Go for a hike on a nature trail! Nature preserves in Pinellas county like Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg have remained open during the Safer at Home order and now more parks will be opening throughout Tampa Bay. Some local family favorites in Pinellas: Weedon Island Preserve, Brooker Creek Preserve and Shell Creek Preserve. Here are other kid-approved nature trails to try: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg and Boca Ciega Millennium Park in Pinellas. Fort De Soto State Park is another family favorite.

Hillsborough County is opened its nature preserves on Saturday, May 2 and its some of its conservation parks and boat ramps Monday, May 4. You can see a complete list of which parks are opening here. Additional park amenities and pools will reopen on Saturday, May 16, however playgrounds, splash pads and picnic areas will still be among the things that are off limits. Learn more here.

Here’s a great resource for hiking trails in Tampa Bay!

Governor DeSantis also reopened state parks on Monday, May 4. Discover state parks to explore here.

Bring snacks and plenty of water for an all day adventure among nature and in the shade of beautiful trees! Keep in mind picnic table areas and playground equipment are still off limits.

Go to the Beach:

As beaches reopened in Pinellas on Monday, May 4…aim to visit the less crowded beaches like Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island.

Be aware that there will be extra patrols by law enforcement along the coastlines, so be smart and practice social distancing and don’t go with a big group.

In general, most beaches in our area allow you stay at least six feet away from the people over on the next towel.

Some other family favorite beaches: (You can click here to check out the new beach capacity app)

Go for a Drive Thru Experience:

Horsepower for Kids is offering a really cool Animal Drive Thru for families during the pandemic. It’s only on select days with the next date on May 2 from 12pm-2pm.They are asking for a $20 cash donation to participate. You can learn more here.

Safari Wilderness in Lakeland is offering a Drive-Thru Safari during the Covid-19 pandemic. For $100 per vehicle on weekdays and $125 per vehicle on weekends, you can participate in this limited time reservation only experience! Food buckets are an additional $10. Learn more here!

If you don’t mind the drive,  Wild Florida is re-opening their Safari Drive-Thru on Monday, May 4 in Kenansville. You can purchase tickets online and you stay in your car the whole time, so you don’t have to worry about too much person to person contact. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 per child. Learn more about Wild Florida here. 

Head to the Drive-In Theatre:

The Ruskin Family Drive-In Theatre is showing Trolls World Tour May 1st-7th. You can back up into spot and snuggle up with the kids in the trunk, or bring chairs and sit next to your car to enjoy the movie! You can learn more here on their Facebook page to stay up to date. Tickets are $6 per person ages 6 and older. Admission for kids 5-8 are $1. Kids 4 and younger are free.

Go by boat!

Pirate Water Taxi will be setting sail once again beginning Friday, May 15. To ensure your safety, they will be limiting the number of guests on the boats to allow for social distancing. Stay up to date on new routes and times here!

Get Up Close with Nature, but not too close.

ZooTampa announced it will be opening with limited capacity on or about June 1st. Since it’s mostly all outdoors, this is a great place to get outside while practicing social distancing. Florida Aquarium and Clearwater Marine Aquarium also both announced they’ll be reopening on May 15. Both will be limiting the number of guests who attend at a time. In fact, the Florida Aquarium will be by reservation only.

Go Fossil Hunting!

The Tampa Bay Fossil Club is a great resource for fossil hunting in Tampa Bay. Popular spots include the Peace River and Venice Beach which has been deemed the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World“!

Want to get up close with the dinosaurs! Head to Dinosaur World in Plant City–the hands on activities will be closed for now, but you can walk the winding trails and boardwalk to see hundreds of life-sized dinos. ZooTampa will also have Dinos Alive! for you to explore!

Head to a U-Pick Farm

Inhale all of the fresh air and take in the sun’s rays as you and the kids hunt for the best strawberries, sweetest oranges and greenest veggies! There are so many unique farms in Tampa Bay to discover! We’re sharing some favorite spots here! Be sure to check with each farm’s website or social media pages as u-pick hours and days vary.

Sunflower season is also here, but most of the participating farms like Harvestmoon Fun Farm in Masaryktown and Sweetfields Farm in Brooksville require you to reserve a time. Follow their social media sites so you can register as soon as the events post-spots go quickly! This is to ensure guests can safely practice social distancing.


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