Thanksgiving week is nearly here and we can hardly believe it!
If you’ve decided to stay home for the Thanksgiving week, don’t fret about finding something fun to do for the family and your guests! (In fact, why to make it easy on yourself and order an AWESOME Thanksgiving Dinner to Go or Dine-In at a local restaurant?)
Lucky us for calling Tampa Bay home because there are plenty of things to do with the whole family.
Whether you are looking for a way to beat cabin fever or need a place to send the kids for the day while you head into the office or run last minute errands…our guide is here for you. Have fun and stay safe!
Go to Camp! Thanksgiving Week Camps for Kids in Tampa Bay are ready to entertain!
If you need a day to prepare or still need to head into the office, it’s not too late to register your child or children for a fun day camp at some of our favorite places like Glazer Children’s Museum, MOSI and more! We’ve got a full list of Thanksgiving break camps in Tampa Bay here.
Get into the holiday spirit in Tampa Bay:
Don’t forget to explore our top picks of the BEST Christmas Events in Tampa Bay!
Snap a photo with Santa Claus!
We’re sharing some of our favorite spots to snap photos with Santa including local shopping centers like International Plaza, Bass Pro Shops, and special events like Christmas Town at Busch Gardens and Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa. See our complete list of spots and events here.
Admire the twinkling holiday lights at displays throughout Tampa Bay
There are several beautiful holiday light displays in Tampa Bay with some spots offering drive-thru opportunities so you don’t have to get out of your car like the Chick-fil-A on Waters Avenue in Tampa and the Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights and Santa’s Village at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in Dover. We have 18+ holiday light events to discover in Tampa Bay here.
Walk among the millions of twinkling lights while making contact-free visits with holiday characters like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa! The ice-skating show will be performed outdoors and there’s even a new fireworks display. Don’t forget to hop aboard the holiday train to sing along to your favorite Christmas tunes! Christmas Town runs daily from November 14, 2022 through January 9, 2023. Be sure to book your online reservation before you go to secure your spot.
‘Tis the Season at Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa
ZooTampa lights up with holiday magic during this year’s modified event! Make an online reservation to attend on select nights beginning November 25 through December 30, 2022. There are NEW holiday additions this year like the Lantern Lullaby trail featuring beautiful Asian lanterns and holiday lullabies. There are also new Holiday Signature Encounters with the animals in the parl. There’s plenty more new things to see too along with returning favorites like decorating cookies with Mrs Claus and visits with Santa! Read more details here about what to expect.
Go Ice-Skating at Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa
Winter Village in Downtown Tampa is a MUST-DO with family and out of town guests! The outdoor ice-skating rink is back and like last year, you’ll want to book your reservation ahead of time to guarantee a spot on the ice. The park will be illuminated with beautiful lights and you can even shop local at the outdoor market featuring local small businesses and artisans. They’ve even added curling and adorable lighted igloos for hot cocoa sipping! Learn more here.
Check out our INSIDE LOOK of Winter Village in Downtown Tampa here.
Visit Gingerbread Village at the Glazer Children’s Museum
Head up to the second floor of the museum to step foot into a gingerbread-inspired wonderland through January 9, 2023. Your kiddos can build their very own gingerbread house out of recycled materials like cardboard, pipe cleaners, and more and then add their creation to the village. glazermuseum.org
Yes, you can absolutely cut down your own Christmas Tree and it’s an easy drive away from Tampa at Ergle Tree Farm in Dade City. If you still love the look of the trees from up north, they have a tree lot too! This is something you have to do at least once in Florida because…why not??
Check out Enchant Christmas at Tropicana Field in St Pete
The beautiful lights of Enchant Christmas is back in person this year from November 25, 2022-January 1, 2023 and we can’t be more excited! In addition to the millions of beautiful lights and light maze, you can shop the local businesses inside the marketplace, go ice-skating, and even meet Santa! Keep your eyes to the top of the Trop for a beautiful light display too!
Go for a thrill ride on the new Bay Rocket in downtown Tampa:
There’s a new speedboat in Tampa and it’s ready for you and the family to come aboard for a thrilling ride like no other! The Bay Rocket truly is unique–one of only a handful like it in the country.
You’ll reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour as the speed boat thrills you with spins and turns–and yes, there is a good chance you might get a bit wet. (You can also wear a poncho if you prefer)
Kids can ride as long as they can safely sit in their own seats.
The Bay Rocket is the latest addition to Yacht Starship’s growing fleet which includes Pirate Water Taxi, The Lost Pearl Pirate Ship (in dry dock now but will be back nearly next year), and of course, the Yacht Starships.
Explore Tampa Bay with your friends and family:
Here are some of our favorite features about local things to do around Tampa Bay that aren’t holiday related!
- Explore the NEW Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland
- Our Favorite Things About the NEW Florida Children’s Museum in Lakeland
- 8 Must-Do Outdoor Adventures in Tampa Bay with the Outdoorsy Diva
- Our Favorite Family-Friendly Beaches in Tampa Bay
- Explore Plantation on Crystal River where you can swim with manatees
Volunteer your time or give back to help other families:
Feeding Tampa Bay
Did you know kids as young as 5 can volunteer with their parents at Feeding Tampa Bay? If you are not able to attend a volunteer event in person, your donations are needed now more than ever. Take the kids along on a shopping trip to help fulfill the needs at Feeding Tampa Bay. Learn more about how your family can help.
Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent
Like, Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries is seeing more need in our community due to the ongoing pandemic. You can help local families by making a food donation and even toy donations for the holidays. Kids as young as 8 may volunteer in the Holiday Tents with their families. There is a great need for volunteers to give their time this year. Learn more here.
More Ways Your Family Can Support Those In Need:
- A Season of Giving: 10 Ways Your Family Can Give Back in Tampa Bay
- Paws for Literacy and other cool volunteer programs for kids at the Humane Society
- 12+ Places to Donate New Toys in Tampa Bay
Check out more cool things to do in Tampa Bay:
DINO RESCUE at Clearwater Marine Aquarium | Now through April 15, 2023
Experience Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s largest rescue mission ever! Dino Rescue will bring guests up-close to life-size dinosaurs, some as tall as 35 feet and 65 feet long. As guests walk throughout CMA, they will encounter prehistoric dinosaurs, which move and roar, as they rehabilitate from various ailments today’s animals face – like habitat loss and entanglement. Dino Rescue is included with admission and roaring now!
AlegreMENTE at Glazer Children’s Museum | Now open through January 1, 2023
During the interactive new exhibit, AlegreMENTE – Happy Brain: Celebrating Early Connections, visitors can celebrate loving, playful connections together in a whimsical forest full of families of all kids – both human and animal. Caregivers and their children will get the chance to explore through dance, storytelling, and more, discovering they’re equipped with everything they need to support early brain development and build healthy connections. Recommended for kids ages 0-6years old.
LEGO City Space at LEGOLAND Florida | Now on Exhibit
Celebrate all things space at LEGOLAND and head to the Imagination Zone to fully immerse yourself on a LEGO Moonbase where you’ll be challenged to build a rover or a rocket. This is not only a great way to inspire kids to use their imaginations, but also cool off in the air-conditioning!
Dinosaurs Around the World at MOSI | Extended through January 1st!
MOSI invites guests to travel back in time on a dinosaur adventure and tour an earth very different from today. With advanced animatronics and immersive design elements, you can experience the Age of Reptiles as it comes to life! Grab your prehistoric passport to Pangea and discover how plate tectonics, land bridges, and volcanic activity allowed dinosaurs to disperse all corners of the globe. Included with MOSI general admission. Originally scheduled through September, MOSI has extended Dinosaurs Around the World through January 1st to give guests more time to enjoy this incredible, interactive exhibit!
TECO Manatee Viewing Center | NOW OPEN for the season
This is a wonderful outdoor adventure for the entire family! You can walk the stroller friendly boardwalks to view the manatees as they seek the warmth of the clean water coming from the Big Bend Power Station. There is also an observation tower along the trail and plenty of spaces to enjoy an outdoor picnic and it’s FREE. We’re sharing more details here about what to expect when you go.
Fairgrounds St. Pete | Open Thursday-Sunday
A new immersive art experience has made its mark in Tampa Bay! Fairgrounds St. Pete recently opened its doors with a exhibit like you’ve never seen, heard or even smelled before! More than 60 artists were commissioned during the pandemic to bring it together. You can go and simply enjoy the whimsical art that celebrates weird, wacky, wonderful Florida or choose a different adventure and try to crack the codes and mysteries you’ll find throughout. Learn more about what it’s like here!
MOSI: Fly a Drone in the IDEA ZONE and more!
Join the Flight Club at MOSI and learn how to fly a drone in the IDEA ZONE! There is even an obstacle course you can try to navigate with the drone in The Cage. While you’re at MOSI, explore the exhibits like Mission: Moonbase, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s ‘slippery science’exhibit or even give the Ropes Course outside a try! mosi.org
Celebrate the Holidays on the Farm
A few local farms will be opening for the holiday season during Thanksgiving Break! HarvestMoon Fun Farm in Masaryktown and Raprager Family Farm in Odessa both have scheduled openings after Thanksgiving Day. We’re dishing on the details here.