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

It’s a busy weekend, friends! There are so many family-friendly things to do this weekend in Tampa Bay including the Children’s Gasparilla Parade, NEW exhibits to expereience, 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.


NEW things to do this weekend in Tampa Bay 

Children’s Gasparilla Parade in Tampa | Saturday, January 22

The 75th Children’s Gasparilla Parade is this weekend and it’s so much more than just a parade! The festivities start along Bayshore Blvd in South Tampa at 11am. You can experience the Bicycle Safety Rodeo and practice the rules of the road with bikes on scene, see the Preschooler’s Stroll, attend the parade, see the fireworks and MORE! It’s a day filled with family-friendly fun. We’re sharing all you need to know here.

Lost Pearl Pirate Ship Children’s Gasparilla Fireworks Cruise | Saturday, January 22 at a 5:15 pm

Pirate Water Taxi’s sister pirate ship, the Lost Pearl, will debut its Children’s Gasparilla Fireworks Cruise. Guests will enjoy a 2-hour cruise departing at 5:30 p.m. from its home dock behind the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. The dock is located at the same site as Pirate Water Taxi’s Stop 7. This cruise will have great views of the fireworks that will take place after the Children’s Gasparilla Parade. Tickets start at $49.95 for adults and $39.95 for children (infants two and under are free) and include complimentary soda and water for kids and a free open bar featuring domestic beer, house wine and house spirits for those ages 21 and up. Book tickets here.

NEW Big League Fun at Glazer Children’s Museum | Opens Saturday, January 22

This new, temporary exhibit is all about baseball and kids can fully immerse themselves in America’s favorite pastime by testing their skills, seeing what it’s like inside the professional world of baseball, and so much more! You can learn more here!

NEW ‘Tampa Fresh Foods’ art exhibit at Water Street in Tampa | NOW OPEN

Penny and Jeff Vinik have done it again! Their Vinik Family Foundation has brought another unique art experience for families to enjoy and this time it’s the incredibly creative creations by artist Lucy Sparrow. When you step inside this grocery store, you’ll realize it’s not any store…but one made entirely out of felt! It’s pretty spectacular to see. There are 50,000 pieces of food art Sparrow has sewn to create this one of a kind exhibit. IT’s free to attend, but you can purchase the food at the ‘store’! It’s pretty cool! We’re taking you for an INSIDE LOOK here.

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.

PirateFest Weekends at LEGOLAND Florida | Weekends through February 6

Arrrgghh!! Can’t get enough of swashbuckling fun with Gasparilla? Or maybe you’re skipping Gasparilla, but want a dose of pirate fun?? Head over to LEGOLAND Florida for PirateFest weekends where you can experience exclusive meet and greets, take part in pirate themed activities and builds and more! Learn more 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.

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

Save the Date: Mahogany Kids Fine Arts Foundation Kids Vision Board Party | Sunday, January 30 from 4pm-6pm

Come out to this year’s Kids vision board party with Mahogany Kids Fine Arts Foundation.
Learn how to make S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year, meet new friends and get inspired by 3 local kid-preneurs: Jordan and Joshua of @JLFunColorz and Michael of Queen’s Lemonade Palace. Learn more on their Facebook page 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

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.

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

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!

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 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.

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.


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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