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Saturday, October 16, 2021

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

There are so many things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend! There are even more pumpkin patches to explore, Creatures of the Night at ZooTampa and SO MUCH MORE!

But, that’s not all for this week…there are several other fun things to do this weekend in Tampa Bay with the kids and we’re here to inspire some bright ideas. 

You can also check out some of these top picks of trending stories:

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

There are several Pumpkin Patches opening this weekend! We have the lineup of our TOP PICKS in Tampa Bay here–and we’re continuing to grow this list, so check back often. 


Evening of Play at Glazer Children’s Museum | Friday, from 6pm-10pm

Why should kids have all the fun at the beloved Glazer Children’s Museum? The adults only Evening of Play is your chance to experience the museum for yourself and even take part in kid at heart games like Hungry Humans (think Hungry Hippos), sip and taste bites from local restaurants, and more! Learn more here.

Haunted Wharf at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa | Starts this Friday

October 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 & 30, 2021 in the evening at various times
Sparkman Wharf is transforming into a spooktacular Haunted Wharf for SIX nights this year! There will be a spooky maze that gets scarier throughout the night, so go early if you have little ones. There will also be plenty of photo opps and The American Victory Ship will berth at Sparkman Wharf this year so you can get double the scares and experience UNDead in the Water. Pre-sale tickets for Haunted Wharf are $10 through October 13th and then $13 after. The event is family friendly. Learn more here.

World Okapi Day Electronics Recycling Day at ZooTampa | Saturday, October 16 from 10am-1pm

It’s time to check your garage–ZooTampa is hosting an electronics recycling day this Saturday to help you recycle old phones, computers, USB cords, printers, computer monitors and even paint and other household chemicals you otherwise wouldn’t throw in the trash. You can see the complete list here, but it pretty much includes anything you can think of!

Watermelon Swim Fall Festival in South Tampa and Lutz | Saturday, October 16 from 4pm-7pm

Watermelon Swim (formerly Seal Swim School) is once again hosting its annual Fall Festival! Join them at their pumpkin patches which are open all month in South Tampa and Lutz. There will be a costume parade, trunk-or-treat, face paint, bounce house, pumpkin painting and more!

Straz is Back Block Party | Saturday, October 16 at 4pm

Celebrate the return of theater with this FREE community event at the Straz Center. There will be two outdoor stages featuring live performances from our local and diverse music scene. You can also be drinks and food to purchase. There will also be a Kidchella activity zone. Learn more here.

Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Patch Festival | Starts this Saturday

October 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31, 2021, 9am-5pm
5500 C.R. 675, Bradenton, FL 34211
Cost: $ parking, $12 ages 11 and up, children under 10 are free
Make the drive south of Tampa Bay to experience the 30th annual Pumpkin Patch Festival on select weekends in October. There will be hayrides, a petting zoo, games, pumpkin patch and more! The main attraction is the corn maze which is an additional $2 per person. Make sure to bring cash for other cool activities like a children’s train ride, Butterfly Experience, zip line and more!

Pumpkin Patch Express (Florida Railroad Museum) | Starts this Saturday

October 16-17 and 23-24, 2021 at various times
12210 83rd St East Parrish, FL 34219
Cost: $15-$33

The Florida Railroad Museum is calling “all aboard” for young and old train enthusiasts as you embark on the Pumpkin Patch Express to a field full of pumpkins to pick, as well as kid-friendly activities on your 2.5 hour journey. Trains will run at 50% capacity to ensure room to social distance. Children are invited to pick their own pumpkin to take home. Everyone is also invited to participate in other crafts and activities

2nd Annual Pumpkin Festival at The Grove Wesley Chapel

October 16-17, 2021, 11am-6pm
6333 Wesley Grove Blvd, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544

Head over to The Grove in Wesley Chapel for a Full Carnival, Food Trucks, Craft Vendors, Costume Contest, Dog Costume Contest, Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkin, and Truck or Treat. Come out and bring your family to these great events! Learn More

Pops in the Park at Vinoy Park in St. Pete | Saturday, October 16 from 7pm-9pm

Pack your blanket and a picnic basket and enjoy live music under the stars for free at Vinoy Park with the Florida Orchestra! This is also a chance to give back to the community by bringing in canned goods to support Tampa Bay Harvest. Learn more here.

Pops in the Park at River Tower in Tampa | Sunday, October 17 from 7pm-9pm

If you missed Saturday’s concert at Vinoy Park, this is your chance to enjoy live music by The Florida Orchestra in Tampa at River Tower Park on E Bird Street. You can also bring a picnic basket and blanket and of course, donate canned goods to support Tampa Bay Harvest. Learn more here.

MORE TOP PICKS of Things to Do with the Kids in Tampa Bay this Weekend

Creatures of the Night at ZooTampa at Lowry Park | Friday and Saturday night

Return to ZooTampa for this favorite family-friendly Halloween event! This year’s event will feature five new attractions including the Junkyard of Broken Dreams, Scarecrow Junction, and Ghosts of Gator Grove. You can also expect to see returning favorites like Twisted Tails haunted trail, Clown Carousel, Realm of the Spider Queen, Pirate Party Pants and more! Learn more here  The event is on Fridays and Saturdays in October 2021, 4pm-10pm. Cost: $5 Zoo Tampa Members, $29.95 Non-Members

Sesame Street Safari of Fun Kids’ Weekends at Busch Gardens | Opens this weekend

At Sesame Street Kid’s Weekends, fan-favorite friendly monsters are also getting into the Halloween spirit in the Sesame Street Safari of Fun play area at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay! This not-too-spooky event is a perfect way for little ones to celebrate Halloween with their favorite Sesame Street characters. 2021 details haven’t been been released yet, but we know there will be trick-or-treating, photo opps with characters and more! Saturdays and Sundays Oct. 2-31, 2021. Cost: Included with theme park admission.

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!  You can also arrive early or stay later to check out the Idea Zone.

Gallagher’s Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Trees | Opens Saturday, September 25

Opening day September 25, 2021
7401 4th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Located in St. Pete for more than 30 years, this family owned business is the perfect spot to capture super cute photos of your little pumpkins while you select the best of the ‘patch’ for your home at their pumpkin patch! You can also pick up a yummy homemade pie and even feed goats in the goat pen. Before you leave, be sure you snap a photo in front of the popular vintage pick up truck. Although there is no charge to take pictures, a reservation for a photo opp is required. Learn more here. If you check out their Instagram page, there are soooo many cute inspiring photos and lots featuring our furry friends since the lot is dog-friendly!

Raprager Family Farm Fall Pumpkin Festival | Opens Saturday, September 25

September 25 – October 30, 2021, Fri-Sat: 9am-9pm, Sun: 9am-7pm 
16907 Boy Scout Rd, Odessa, Florida, 33556
Cost: $12.50 ages 3 and up, children 2 and under are free 

Enjoy a day at this family-owned Tampa Bay area pumpkin patch along with fun activities like a haunted children’s crop maze, hayrides, animals and more! They’ve expanded activities for 2021 with live acts, a gem mining station, new vendors, and more. They even have a haunted barn for the older kids and adults! Learn more:

Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida

Weekends in October 2021, various times
Cost: Included with daily admission
Enjoy a Halloween party built just for kids at LEGOLAND Florida Resort in Winter Haven. Kids can enjoy modified spooky LEGO building activities, contactless trick or treating via candy chutes throughout the park, socially distanced meet-and-greets with spooky characters, and MORE.


More Fall Weekend Fun in Tampa Bay:

Harvest Holler Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Polk City | Friday-Sunday

Through November 14, 2021 Fri-Sun (hours TBD)
950 Tavares Rd., Polk City, FL 33868
Cost: $15 ages 13-64, $12 ages 2-12, seniors 65+, and active-duty military

Come out for a fun fall tradition and stroll the fields of this year’s corn maze and pumpkin patch at Harvest Holler Farm, a working family farm! You can explore the pumpkin patch, go on a hayride, enjoy some country eats, meet live farm animals and more! There’s also a cow train, corn hole and many more activities besides just the pumpkin patch.

Shimmering Lights Fall Festival  in Dover | Begins Friday, October 8

October 8-10, 14-17, and 21-31, 2021, 7pm-10pm
2302 N. Dover Rd, Dover, FL 33527
Cost: $7 ages 3 and up
This is a unique way to celebrate the fall season on the farm! Sun Kisses Acres is teaming up with Nights of Shimmering Lights to create a 1/4 mile walk through trail featuring beautiful lights, music, games, hay rides, pumpkin patches and more! The light trail is not-so-scary and suitable for kids of all ages! Learn more here. *Walking trail is not suitable or accessible for wheelchairs or strollers.

Pumpkin Patch at the St. Pete Pier | Begins Saturday, October 9

October 9-17, 2021, Mon-Fri: 5pm-9pm, Sat: 12pm-9pm, Sun: 12pm-8pm (closes at 6pm on the 17th)
Fall has arrived at the St. Pete Pier! Head over to the Pier for one of the largest pumpkin patches in the area, featuring thousands of pumpkins, hay bales, fall refreshments, photo booth, and more! Take that one-of-a-kind Fall picture under the Bending Arc and take home that perfect pumpkin! Located at the Family Park on the St. Pete Pier. To learn more, visit

Fox Squirrel Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Plant City | Begins Saturday, October 9

October 9-October 24, 2021, Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm
3002 Charlie Taylor Rd N, Plant City, FL 33565
Cost: $11 ages 18 and up, $10 ages 3-17
Take part in exciting, family-friendly fall games and activities during the 11th annual Fox Squirrel Corn Maze! Navigate the corn maze and see how quickly and you can find your way through and then go check out the duck races, challenge your kids to a game of corn hole, go on a hayride, and select the perfect pumpkin patch pumpkin for your front porch in Tampa!

Howl-O-Scream Select nights Through October 31

Get ready for all the FALL FUN, y’all! Howl-O-Scream is back and kicking of this weekend with all new haunted houses, scare zones to thrill you for 28  nights til Halloween! We’ll be getting a sneak peek on Thursday-so standby for that INSIDE LOOK! Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Tampa’s premier Halloween event returns earlier than ever for 28 killer nights with scare zones and haunted houses, including Tickets for the event are $41.99 and up.

4th Annual Bier Fest at Busch Gardens | Friday-Sunday, Through October 31

Bier Fest is back at Busch Gardens! You’re probably like, wait-what? Bier Fest with kids? You can absolutely go as a family as the adults sip seasonal beverage offerings and taste new bites AND still do the fun stuff for kids like roller coasters, animal encounters or explore Sesame Street Safari of Fun. Just make sure you have one designated driver in the group. This year, park guests can toast to new adventures each Friday through Sunday from August 13 to October 31.

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!

More markets to explore:

Save the Date for these FUN Things to Do in Tampa Bay! 

Zubrick Magic Theatre – Halloween Night! 

October 31, Doors Open 6 p.m., Performance 7-8:15 p.m. |
Treat yourself to some tricks this Halloween at the Zubrick Magic Theatre! Illusionists Chris and Ryan Zubrick conjure up an exhilarating blend of sleight-of-hand, family-friendly comedy, and breathtaking grand-scale illusion in a 70-minute performance that will leave you walking away saying “How did they do that?!” General admission tickets are $40.00 (+taxes and fees), VIP packages are $137.00 (+taxes and fees). Halloween is approaching near, get your tickets before they…disappear!

See What’s on Exhibit in Tampa Bay:

fairgrounds st Pete things to do in Tampa Bay

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: 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!

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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!

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!

EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival is BACK!

EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2021


We recently got a peek at this year’s EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival! If you’ve been before, you’ll want to go again because 50% of the food and beverage offerings this year are BRAND NEW! Read more here. Disney is currently offering a Summer Fun deal for Florida residents too with tickets as low as $54 per day (plus tax) for a four day pass!

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


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.


Tampa Bay Attractions You Can Safely Explore


MOSI 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.


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.


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. A ticketed reservation is also strongly encouraged to make sure you have time to play.


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.



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.  


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:


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