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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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Our 10+ Favorite Things to Do in Tampa Bay this Weekend

We hope your 2022 is off to an amazing start, and since it’s a long holiday weekend as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let’s get focused on the weekend agenda! There are so many family-friendly things to do this weekend in Tampa Bay including u-pick events, parades, and more.

We do want to remind you that the Omicron variant is spreading very quickly within our community, so do what you can to protect yourself and others. Doctors recommend wearing a mask indoors and avoiding large crowds if possible. You can read out full Q & A here about the recent surge including whether you can get Covid twice–the answer is, yes.

Related:


NEW things to do this weekend in Tampa Bay 

Pick up Bucs swag at Ray Jay! | Friday, January 14 from 5:30 am-10:00 am

It’s Playoff time! With the game being on home turf, the Bucs are celebrating with a Playoff Drive-Through event where you can pick up FREE Bucs swag and see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders, Bucs Beat Line, and Captain Fear. The event will be held in the South parking lots at Raymond James Stadium.

Head to a U-Pick Farm for Outdoor, Farm, Fresh FUN! 

There are several farms offering winter u-pick in Tampa Bay–we’re sharing some of our favorites here where you can find one near you and see what they have open for u-pick! Some of this week’s offerings are strawberries, citrus and lots of veggies.

FINAL WEEKEND | Tusks to Tails: A Fossil History of Florida at the Tampa Bay History Center (Pictured)

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

FINAL WEEKEND | Winter Beach at the St. Pete Pier

This is your last chance to skate on real ice right by the water at the St. Pete Pier. Admission to Winter Beach is free, but you will need to pay an admission fee to ice skate on the 4,000 square foot rink. The last day to skate is January 17. winterbeachstpete.com

Tampa Black Heritage Music Festival | Saturday, January 15 and Sunday, January 16

Head over to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for live music by the Bar-Kays, Euge Groove and more! There will also be family-friendly entertainment and more. Learn more and get your tickets here.

Free Ball Hockey Clinic with Lighting Made Hockey at the Oldsmar Sports Complex | Saturday, January 15 from 10 am-1:30 pm

If your child is interested in ball hockey and has never played or maybe they have experience, this free clinic by Lightning Made Hockey will be a great experience for them! There are limited spots available for 6U, 9U and 15U. Sticks will be provided, so don’t worry about bringing your own gear. Learn more and register here.

Raprager Farms in Odessa reopens for Farm FUN! | Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-4pm

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun, head on over to Raprager Farm–they have plenty of activities for the kids like a bounce pillow, giant slide, petting zoo, corn pit, fort and more! They also host drive-in movies as well. Learn more about what’s going on on the farm by visiting here.

MLK Music Festival and Family Fun Day in St Pete | Saturday, January 15, 2022 from 11am-6pm

The celebration starts early this year with the Music Festival and Family Fun Day at Albert Whitted Park. The parade will follow on MLK Day on Monday, January 17! Learn more here.

Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River | Saturday, January 15 & Sunday, 16

Make the drive up to Crystal River to celebrate the manatee! There will be live music, kids zones, guided kayak tours and more. Tickets are $5 for adults and kids 12/under are free. Learn more by visiting gomanateefest.com.

Head to an outdoor 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 farmer’s market near you!

More markets to explore:

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.

Martin Luther King Day Parade in Tampa: Monday, January 17, 2022 from 12pm-3pm

Thousands of people attend this family-friendly event each year and this year isn’t expected to be any different! Join the community in celebration of Martin Luther Kin song the two mile route from East Tampa from Cuscaden Park to Middleton High School. There will marching bands, floats and more!  Learn more mlkjrparade.com

MLK Dream Big Parade and Family Fun Day Festival in St. Petersburg: Monday, January 17, 2022 from 11am-6pm

St. Petersburg’s MLK Dream Big Parade is the nation’s longest running MLK Day parade! Be a part of history and watch as the parade makes its way west on 1st Ave S starting at 3rd St at 11am to Tropicana Field. High school and college bands will be marching along with local business and community leaders! mlkdreambig.com

MLK Weekend Celebration and Parade in Brooksville: Parade is Monday, January 17, 2022 at 10am

The weekend long celebration commences with a parade starting at Hernando High School at 10am! Join your neighbors as they celebrate and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and this year’s parade theme “Moving the Dream Forward”.  It’s free to attend the parade. Learn more here.

Armature Works Movie on the Lawn | Sunday, January 17 from 7pm-9pm

Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets for a free movie on the lawn-Monday’s movie will be “Mrs. Doubtfire”. While you’re there, grab dinner and treats at the Heights Public Market at Armature Works. Outside food and beverage is not allowed. Learn more here.

More events coming soon!


See What’s on Exhibit in Tampa Bay:

Dino Don's DinoVenture at The BishopDino Don’s DinoVenture at The Bishop in Bradenton | Opens this Saturday

The dinosaurs are coming alive in The Bishop’s newest experience: Dino Don’s DinoVenture, where you can discover the roaring, breathing giants that once ruled the Earth! Step back in time to encounter life-size, animatronic T. Rexes with jaws designed for bone-crushing action, dinosaur mothers protecting their young, sky-high battles between species, and the tallest, most accurate dinosaur ever built! This outdoor family-friendly experience, built to excite and inspire, is the closest your family will ever come to living, roaring dinosaurs. Now open at The Bishop for a limited time. Exhibit dates: October 23 – March 18, Tue – Sat 10am – 5pm; Sun Noon – 5pm; Closed on Monday. bishopscience.org

READ: Check out your INSIDE LOOK of the DinoVenture exhibit and read our conversation with the exhibit creator, Don Lessem!

swimming with the manateesGo swimming with the manatees with Plantation Crystal River

It’s Manatee Season which means it’s a great time to spot manatees as they seek the warmer spring waters during the cold winter months. This is a great time to book a tour to swim with the manatees as a passive observer in the water–we recommend booking a reputable tour company like the Adventure Center on Planation on Crystal River because they know the laws in place that keep manatees safe. You can check out our experience here with the kids!

TECO Manatee Viewing CenterTECO 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 things to do in Tampa BayFairgrounds 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!

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.


Celebrate the weekend in Orlando!

Want MORE ideas for fun adventures in Orlando or Walt Disney World? We’ve got more here!

You can also follow our media partners at OrlandoDateNightGuide.com.


MORE THINGS TO DO IN Tampa Bay  Keep Your Cool at the Water Park!

Solar Vortex Adventure Island

.Adventure Island in Tampa | Open YEAR-ROUND

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

Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World | NOW OPEN
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
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More ideas to spark a weekend of lifelong memories!

 

Paddle Pals Get Up and Go Kayaking Horseshoe Crab

Paddle Pals with Get Up and Go Kayaking in St Pete

Get Up and Go Kayaking in St. Pete is offering a new kayaking tour designed just for kids and their families called Paddle Pals. The tour is an educational adventure with tour guide Hannah as you explore the mangroves and Shell Key Preserve. See what the experience is like here!

 


ZooTampa Rhino Feeding Things to Do in Tampa Bay

Upgrade 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.


Adventure Island Lazy RiverBest Spots to Go Tubing in Tampa Bay:

We’re sharing some of our favorite spots to sit back and relax on a tube whether it’s at a Florida natural spring or lazy river at a nearby water park. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the lazy days of summer.

 


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. tampabayparenting.com/lets-play-tampa-bay/

 


Tampa Bay Attractions You Can Safely Explore

 

MOSI in Tampa

Masks are now optional for guests, but staff will still be wearing masks and you’ll see continued more frequent cleaning of exhibits, and more. Learn more here.

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!

Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa

Like most attractions and keeping in line with CDC guidance, masks will be optional for guests at Downtown Tampa’s Glazer Children’s Museum. 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 Explorations Children’s Museum reopened to families with new exhibits earlier this year. Masks are encouraged but not required.

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 and Clearwater 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.

Busch Gardens and Adventure Island are OPEN  

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

LEGOLAND Florida

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. The reopening plan included guidance from AdventHealth. Learn more here.  

 


Outdoors and Socially Distant Things to Do in Tampa Bay

 

 


More Outdoor Top Picks in Tampa Bay:

Head to the beach! 

The beaches are open, but you’ll see plenty of reminders about social distancing. You’ll also want to pack some extras in your beach bag like hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Cloth masks are also a good idea in case you decide to visit an establishment that requires them. We’re sharing some of our favorite family-friendly beaches in Tampa Bay here.

Go for a hike! 

Lace up the hiking shoes and spend the day in nature with the kids! Many preserves and conservation parks are now open in Tampa Bay. Find a park near you or discover a new one:

 

Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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