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July 1, 2021

Family-Friendly Tampa Bay Events

By Tampa Bay Parenting

Let’s start busting the boredom and head out to explore all of the FUN things to do in Tampa Bay as a family!

There are so many things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend with the kids–as usual, the hard part will be deciding WHICH events to attend. And of course, the weekend will be capped with a Boat Parade on Monday to celebrate the Tampa Bay Lightning’s back to back Stanley Cup win! Can you say…best three days ever??

We’re sharing some of our top picks of things to do along with these favorite trending stories:

There’s a lot on our list of things to do, so keep scrolling! It starts with this weekend’s top picks and then we’re sharing even more categories like What’s NEW in Tampa Bay, A Day on the Farm, Water Parks, and more ideas!

TOP PICKS: Family-Friendly Things to Do in Tampa Bay This Week



Spark! A Nighttime Spectacular at Busch Gardens | Weekends ALL SUMMER LONG!

*Note: In celebration of the Bolts win, FREE BEER is back at Busch Gardens through July 31. Adults can get two free 7 ounce samples at the Garden Gate cafe.
There’s a summer full of FUN and FIREWORKS every night at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay! There will even be a Pre-Party on the Festival Pathway before the shows at 9:15 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights In addition to the fireworks shows, live performances are returning. The ALL NEW “Cirque Electric’ opens May 28 at Stanleyville Theater and the Turn It Up Ice Show returns at the Moroccan Theater. There will also be open-air block parties to celebrate the summer season! BuschGardens.com

Attend a Tampa Bay Rays Game | Various days

Root, root, root for the home team! The Tampa Bay Rays have several home games at Tropicana Field. There are home games on schedule this week July 9, 10, and 11. You can purchase single game tickets here.

Mermaid Days at Clearwater Marine Aquarium | July 5-8 and July 12-15  

Visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium on select days for a mythical, tailed surprise! There mermaids are back with magical underwater interactions and even in-person meet and greets. Daily underwater interactions occur from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm. cmaquarium.org

Watch Summer Classics at Tampa Theatre | This weeks shows: Thursday, July 8 and Sunday, July 11 various times

There’s no place like home and there’s no place better place to view a classics like ‘Glory’ on July 8 and “North by Northwest’ on July 11 than at the historic Tampa Theatre. The presentation is part of its Summer Classics and this year they’re celebrating 30 Years of Summer Classics on the Big Screen! You can purchase your tickets here. 

Florida Toy-Con at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa | Sunday, July 11 from 9am-4pm

Kids and kids at heart with love exploring this year’s Toy Con at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall. You can expect to see 15,000 square feet of modern and vintage toys, some of which will also be for sale. There will also be Retro Games on display. Learn more here.

Head to an outdoor Farmer’s Market in Tampa Bay | Various dates

It’s the season of the outdoor market and there are several throughout Tampa Bay! Tampa Bay Markets is one of the area’s largest event planners for markets, so head to their page for the latest updates to find a market near you!

Tampa Bay Lightning Boat Parade and Celebration | Monday, July 12 starting at 11am

Lightning strikes twice which means Tampa gets another boat parade! Celebrate the Bolts’ Stanley Cup win with the team during a community wide celebration that only Tampa can pull off. The boat parade with the players takes off from Davis Islands and starts at 11am and continues up the Hillsborough River where they’ll disembark just past the area of Armature Works and head to Julian B Lane Riverfront Park for the community celebration at 2pm. There will be plenty of spots to view along the Riverwalk. Some of our favorite kid-friendly spots with playgrounds and splash pads nearby to play while you wait: Julian B Lane Riverfront Park, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Armature Works (Water Works park and playground is close by) and the Convention Center (Cotanchobee Park playground is within walking distance). More details will be released Friday at 1pm.

See what’s NEW in Tampa Bay:


NEW at MOSI: Video Game Revolution | Museum hours

Get ready to walk through history of the beloved video game from a replica of the very first video game ever built in the 1940s–then journey through Pong, Nintendo NES to today’s growing popularity of esports. This is an exhibit that will bring back memories of your own childhood to share with your kids! It’s a must see! mosi.org

Related: INSIDE LOOK: What to expect when you experience the NEW Video Game Revolution art MOSI  

NEW at Glazer Children’s Museum: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, A GRRR-ific Exhibit

Be among the first kids to explore the new temporary exhibit on the second floor of the museum featuring the beloved Daniel Tiger! The exhibit is included with museum admission. You and your child will be able to step inside Daniel Tiger’s world as you learn, play and problem solve. glazermuseum.org

Related: INSIDE LOOK: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood at Glazer Children’s Museum

DON’T MISS: Minecraft Mania at MOSI | Saturdays from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm

If your kids love Minecraft, they will think Minecraft Mania at MOSI is totally awesome! Your child can play Minecraft while learning new skills to become Minecraft Designer, Adventurer or even Master! While you’re there, stay and play at the beloved science museum! mosi.org  You can also arrive early or stay later to check out the Idea Zone.

Tusks to Tails: A Fossil History of Florida at the Tampa Bay History Center | NOW OPEN

Step back into time when furry mammoths roamed Florida and gigantic sharks swam our seas. This new exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center is a must-see for anyone who is really into fossils! While you’re there, check out the Treasure Seekers exhibit to learn more about real life pirates and conquistadors and more about Florida and Tampa Bay’s fascinating history. TampaBayHistoryCenter.org

Zoo Behind the Scenes Tour | Saturdays from 8:00 am-9:30 am

If you love the National Geographic series Secrets of the Zoo: ZooTampa, you’ll definitely want to add this 90-minute walking tour to your weekend line up! You’ll be guided by one of the stars of the show as you get to know all the new additions to the Zoo, including Gronk the baby rhino! The ticket includes coffee or juice before the tour and admission to the zoo after. Learn more here.

Whales: Living with Giants at Clearwater Marine Aquarium | Through August 31

This new exhibit will put you face to face with a huge life-size whale while teaching you and the kids about the magnificent creatures. The gallery takes up 20,000 square feet in the newly expanded visitors center, filled with multimedia experiences and and interactive kid’s zone. seewinter.org

More Family-Friendly Things to Do in Tampa Bay: Head to the Farm with the Kids! A Land of Natural Delight Things to Do this Weekend in Tampa

Photo from A Land of Delight Natural Farm and Nursery

A Land of Delight Natural Farm and Nursery in Plant City

2514 Learning Pine Ln, Plant City 33565 www.alandofdelight.com A Land of Delight Natural Farm hosts a regular farmers market and u-pick. Only on select days those which have been on Thursdays through Saturdays. U-picks are mostly greens which are great for smoothies and salads! The market has plenty of fresh produce, honey, and soooo much more. Check their Facebook page here for updates.

Upicktopia in Masaryktown: U-Pick and market

19125 Phillips Rd, Masaryktown 34605 www.upicktopia.com Upicktopia has a variety of veggies available on the farm. The u-pick season for strawberries and blueberries is over, but they have had plenty of blackberries, strawberry onions and gladiolus flowers for u-pick in recent weeks. You’ll want to check their Facebook page before you go.

Keep Your Cool at the Water Park!

Click here for MORE Water Park Fun in Tampa Bay

Solar Vortex Adventure Island

Adventure Island in Tampa

Keep your cool as the temps heat up at Adventure Island in Tampa! Like last season, they’re operating at limited capacity, so you’ll need to book a reservation in advance along with having your ticket or annual pass. If you haven’t experienced the new Solar Vortex, plan on a ride down!! It’s a perfect water slide for the entire family (must be 42 inches or taller to ride) with rafts that take up to 4 riders. It’s America’s first dual tail spin waterslide with super cool effects from the Aqualucents! adventureisland.com

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park 

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is reopening daily on March 18 from 9am-5:30pm. The Mermaid Shows are also returning with limited assigned seating, so you’ll want to sign up when you arrive and make sure to bring your face mask since you’ll need to wear it. Buccaneer Bay at Weeki Wachee Springs is a a must-visit as Florida’s only natural spring water park with waterslides, kiddie area and lazy river. weekiwachee.com

Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World 

Blizzard Beach is about an hour’s drive from the Tampa area, so it’s earning a spot on our list! There are plenty of shaded spots to park your beach towels and all your stuff so you can check out the waterslides, one of America’s longest lazy rivers, Florida’s only ‘ski’ lift, and even the fastest waterslide where you can reach speeds up to 65 miles per hour as you slide on down. The kiddie area called Tike’s Peak is adorable for littles who want to safely splash in a wading pool and head down a mini waterslide that’s just their size. It’s Disney, so there’s something for everyone in the family! DisneyWorld.com

FREE Resources to Explore!

Learn and Play Tampa Bay

Children’s Board Family Resource Centers

The program provides parents and caregivers and their children an opportunity to participate in parent/child developmental playgroups, developmental screenings, and health and safety education classes at no cost. In addition, pediatric well-child visits, immunizations and hearing or vision screenings are provided for qualifying families.  To sign up for programs and services, and to find your neighborhood Children’s Board Family Resource Center visit familysupporthc.org.

Learn & Play Tampa Bay Playgroups

The program provides quality early learning experiences at no cost at the seven children’s Board Family Resource Centers and other designated Hillsborough County sites.  The program also delivers weekly in-person and online virtual developmental classes and provides take home activities that promote early learning and school readiness at no cost. Glazermuseum.org/learnplaytampabay


More ideas to spark a weekend of lifelong memories!


ZooTampa Rhino Feeding Things to Do in Tampa BayUpgrade your day at ZooTampa with an animal encounter! 

If you’re planning a day at ZooTampa, we love upgrading our experience with the kids with an animal encounter like feeding the giraffes or rhinos. We recently booked a time to feed a Jamie the Indian White Rhino with our 5 year old and he had a great time. Baby rhino Gronk even hung out for snacks! You do have to wear a face mask during the encounter, but you can remove it for a photo. Learn more here.


Glazer Vision Foundation

Snap a mural selfie and help provide a free eye exam and glasses for a local child!

Head over to Armature Works to check out the NEW mural on the north end of the property created to promote the Glazer Vision Foundation’s “Glasses For All Children” campaign. All you have to do is share a photo of the mural, a selfie in front of the mural, or selfie wearing any type of glasses, tag @glazervisionfdn, hashtag #OneShareOnePair and the foundation will give a local child a free eye exam and pair of glasses! Easy peasy! Learn more.

playground at st Pete PierCheck out the NEW St. Pete Pier

Eat, drink, shop and play at the new St. Pete Pier. The new playground area is quickly becoming a family favorite in Tampa Bay, just make sure to bring plenty of hand sanitizer and/or hand sanitizing wipes with you. Stay late and look up to see the Bending Arc light up in a spectacular display. You will need to wear a mask inside the stores, restaurants and Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center. The Glazer Vision Foundation just announced it is contributing $1.5 million to the Glazer Family Playground at the Pier to support the space for years to come!  Learn more.



Tampa Bay Attractions You Can Safely Explore

Moonbase exhibit at MOSI.

MOSI: Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa 

Masks are now optional for guests, but staff will still be wearing masks, and doors propped open to reduce touch points, more frequent cleaning of exhibits, and more. Learn more here. You can also see what it’s like during this new normal! Be sure to check out the new Video Game Revolution.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park 

The Zoo is ready to welcome guests back with masks being optional for guests, but you’ll still want to make an online reservation or purchase your tickets online to make sure you secure your spot. We got an INSIDE LOOK to show you what you can expect! The Dinos Alive exhibit will still be on display, so be sure to check it out! Book here.

Busch Gardens and Adventure Island

This is a great weekend to cool off with dad and check out the NEW Solar Vortex waterslide at Adventure Island! Learn more here.

Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa

Like most attractions and keeping in line with CDC guidance and masks will be optional for guests. Cleaning measures are continuing. Difficult to clean exhibits will be closed while others will be sanitized more frequently throughout the day. glazermuseum.org

Great Explorations Children’s Museum in St. Pete

Great Ex reopened to families with new exhibits earlier this year. Masks are encouraged but not required. A ticketed reservation is also strongly encouraged to make sure you have time to play. Learn more here.

The Tampa Bay History Center

The museum is ready to welcome you back and masks are now optional for vaccinated guests. This is a great time to check out the new Tusks to Tails fossil exhibit! Book your ticket and learn more about the plans to reopen here.

Visit a local aquarium! 

The Florida Aquarium andClearwater Marine Aquariumare both open, but you’ll want to make an online reservation.  Guests over the age of 2 will be asked to wear a mask at the Florida Aquarium and they are optional for vaccinated guests. If you do not have one, a mask will be provided for you. Masks are encouraged at CMA.


The theme park and its hotels, including the new Pirate Island Hotel are ready to welcome back guests, Social distancing will be encouraged with brick themed markers and signage. You’ll also see more hand sanitizing stations-there are more than 200 of them throughout the park! Legoland staff will be wearing face coverings. Masks are optional for guests. If you do not have one and want one, a mask will be provided for you. The reopening plan included guidance from AdventHealth. Learn more here.  

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