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Saturday, December 3, 2022

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What to Expect at Theme Parks and Attractions

Temperature checks, social distancing and in many cases, face masks and required reservations are now part of the normal routine of visiting theme parks and attractions. This is all to help keep capacity at a level where you and the family can practice social distancing.

If everyone in your party is healthy and low risk, pack your masks, hand sanitizer and cautiously explore!

Walt Disney World:

theme parksThe happiest place on earth is reopening this month with some big changes in place including a new reservation system and a face mask requirement for guests ages 2 and older. If you are among the lucky ones who gets the chance to go, be sure to check out one of the newest rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. We got a peek and it is such a unique immersive experience! Rise of the Resistance at Galaxy’s Edge is also a fairly new addition that debuted in December. This is another immersive ride that is like no other ride you have been on.

theme parksUniversal Studios:

Face masks are required for everyone ages 2 and older. The Mueller family of Tampa recently went with their three children. They tell us despite the heat and humidity, even the kids managed to keep their masks on throughout the day!  You can take the masks off to drink and eat for obvious reasons.


Legoland Florida reopened last month at reduced capacity. Guests 2 and older should  wear a mask while visiting the theme park. Consider staying the night at the NEW Pirate Island Hotel right on property! It is one of the coolest hotels we’ve seen and the kids are guaranteed to love it. They even have their own bunk bed nook in the room. If you haven’t been in a while, be sure to check out the Lego Movie World area of the park. There is plenty of space here to socially distance and most of the rides are outside. The water park is also a family-favorite!

Busch Gardens:

Like the other parks and attractions, Busch Gardens has enhanced health and safety protocols, which means face masks are required for guests ages 2 and older and you’ll need to book your reservation online before you go. There are some designated areas of the park where you can take a mask break. You’ll also notice the queues for rides are marked to enforce physical distancing. Tours and animal interactions have been modified and might even allow for one-party at a time. Park hours and days have also been reduced.

Adventure Island:

Keep your cool at Tampa Bay’s favorite water park! Make sure you and the kids take a ride on the NEW Solar Vortex water slide. It’s North America’s first dual tailspin waterslide featuring super cool AquaLucent effects that fills the slide with the most amazing colors! Masks are required in some areas of the park, but not while you are in the water, for obvious reasons. You will also need to book an online reservation to attend. Park hours and days have been reduced.


ZooTampa is another attraction that’s basically all outside, but with plenty of opportunity to seek some shade under the trees. Masks are encouraged, but not required when outside, but you’ll need to wear one at indoor locations.  Online reservations are also encouraged to ensure you can gain entry due to limited capacity. Don’t forget to check out Dino’s Alive exhibit which features 30+ animatronic dinosaurs.

Glazer Children’s Museum:

If you need somewhere indoors for the kids to run around and explore, this is a good option. You will need to book an online reservation and all guests 12 and older must wear a face mask. Kids are encouraged to wear one. The museum has upped the frequency of cleaning and reduced the number of things your kids touch—that is because they are rotating out items four times a day for cleaning. Exhibits will be temporarily closed throughout the day for cleaning, but they reopen pretty quickly.

Florida Aquarium:

The Florida Aquarium was one of the first attractions to reopen to guests after undergoing a thorough review with an infectious disease prevention team. Online reservations and face masks for guests 2 and older are required. Most of the aquarium is indoors, however, there is plenty of space to keep your distance from other families.


MOSI was one of the first science centers in the country to reopen. Reservations are not required. A handful of exhibts are temporarily closed as they don’t allow for easy social distancing, but almost everything is open for you to explore. You will notice a lot more hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes at the exhibits. For an awe-inspiring experience, go wander through the new Space for Art exhibit during your visit!

Laura Byrne
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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