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What’s NEW in 2022 in Tampa Bay

It’s a new year with so many NEW things coming to Tampa Bay! From new rides, exhibits and even a brand new theme park, here are some of our favorite things we can’t wait to see unveiled in 2022!

Related: Our TOP PICKS of events coming to Tampa Bay in 2022

Glazer Children’s Museum has several new exhibits on schedule in 2022!

Big League Fun exhibit debuts January 22 – May 15

Take us out to the ballgame! Big League Fun at the Glazer Children’s Museum dives into the history, science and story of America’s Pastime. Created in collaboration with Major League Baseball, this unique traveling exhibit will entice fans of all ages to root for their home team! Families can explore the fundamentals of baseball including pitching, batting, and scoring. Themed dramatic play areas recreate a ballpark experience and allow children to interview players and coaches, broadcast from the announcers booth, and work in concessions. This exhibit is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and is ADA accessible to all.

Storyland debuts June 11- September 2

Beloved children’s books will come alive in Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites at the Glazer Children’s Museum. Storyland transforms beloved and award-winning children’s books into three-dimensional play and bi-lingual (English and Spanish) learning environments, Children can explore the worlds of their favorite books while practicing literacy skills and concepts through imaginative, interactive experiences and dramatic play!

Alegremente | Happy Brain debuts September 21, 2022 – January 1, 2023

Celebrate early connections together in a whimsical forest full of families of all kinds, both human and animal. Kids play and adults learn about how simple, everyday interactions build social-emotional, language, cognitive and motor skills. Caregivers explore alongside their children, discovering they’re equipped with everything they need to support early brain development and build healthy connections with their littles. This exhibit is fully bi-lingual in English and Spanish.

NEW Theme Park: Peppa Pig Theme Park opens February 24

Peppa Pig Theme Park Peppa Pig's Tree House

Oink, oink, look out grownups! The world’s FIRST Peppa Pig Theme Park is opening on Feb. 24 just steps away from the LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Designed with preschoolers in mind, this charming new park has six rides, six themed playscapes, a water play area and more oinktasic experiences. “Little piggies” can enjoy roller coaster rides, free fair games and tricycle rides down a sensory-rich trail. A colorful splash pad will celebrate “muddy puddles” jumping fun! Tickets can be purchased separately or bundled with admission to LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park.

Busch Gardens: Iron Gwazi opens in March 2022

Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens

Get ready to ride North America’s tallest hybrid coaster, and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world this March! Riders will plunge from a 206-foot peek into a 9-degree drop and reach speeds of 76 miles per hour. Iron Gwazi will race along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track and includes a dozen airtime moments and three inversions. A minimum height of 48 inches is required to ride.

Adventure Island: Two new waterslides debut just in time for spring break – Rapids Racer and Wahoo Remix 

Rapids Racer at Adventure Island
Rapids Racer at Adventure Island.

Two new attractions will be making a big splash this March! Rapid Racers will feature the world’s first dueling saucers. Riders will board a two-person raft before racing and swirling through nearly 600 feet of slide, high-speed tunnels, and turns during this side-by-side experience. Wahoo Remix (formerly Wahoo Run) will be the park’s first waterslide to feature synchronized light and sound elements. Delivering ultimate party vibes, this high-energy family raft experience will feature glowing tunnels and over 600 feet of fun. Also new for 2022, beginning in March, Adventure Island will be open year-round! With new heaters and comfortable water temperatures, guests can enjoy the endless summer vibe all year long.

ZooTampa will unveil the newly expanded panther and black bear area: Florida Wilds in Spring 2022

Opening in Spring 2022, the new Florida Wilds area will feature remarkable close-up encounters and inspiring moments for families to connect with endangered Florida panthers and protected black bears. This newly expanded habitat will house three black bears and three panthers who were rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and have been deemed non-releasable and serve as conservation ambassadors for their species.

LEGOLAND Florida: The NEW Pirate River Quest opens in 2022

Argh! Adventure awaits as you set sail with a rowdy crew of LEGO pirates during this family-friendly treasure hunt! On Captain’s orders, explore the murky waters to retrieve stolen treasure and journey through the uncharted waters of the legendary Cypress Gardens to discover the secrets protecting its canals.

*Originally Published in the January 2022 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine. 

Orlando: Exciting things are happening down I-4 in Orlando this year, too!

Typhoon Lagoon reopens with favorite attractions and all-new food offerings in January!

The 50th anniversary magic continues at Walt Disney World Resort as Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park reopens to the public on January 2nd. Guests will once again be able to enjoy favorite attractions such as the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool, Miss Adventure Falls, Castaway Creek, and Humunga Cowabunga.

There will also be a selection of mouth-watering new DOLE Whip menu offerings at the shipwreck-inspired eatery, Snack Shack. In addition to two Moana-inspired DOLE Whip character cones, guests can tantalize their taste buds by building their own tropical flavor combination with their choice of mango, lime, raspberry or pineapple DOLE Whip. Adults can complement their custom DOLE Whip creation by mixing in tequila, coconut rum or dark rum. The Snack Shack at Typhoon Tilly’s will also serve the Habanero Lime Galley Shack Swirl, a new signature cocktail balancing spicy habanero, sweet mango and tangy lime flavors. New food items in celebration of the 50th anniversary will include Walt’s Chili Nachos and the EARidescent Ice Cream Cone.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser debuts March 2022

Mock-Up Cabin for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort artist rendering.

On March 1, guests can depart for a galaxy far, far away. Going beyond anything Disney has created before, guests will become heroes of their own stories during a two-night adventure where they will see, feel and live Star Wars. They will stay in well-appointed cabins and can travel the galaxy in style aboard the glamorous Halcyon starcruiser. Throughout their voyage, guests’ choices will determine their personal adventures as they interact with characters such as Rey, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren, crew, droids and other passengers. Exquisite dining and out-of-this-world entertainment are also part of this one-of-a-kind experience. Each viewport in the Halcyon starcruiser – including those in each cabin – has a view of the galaxy beyond, featuring ever-changing vistas as the ship progresses from destination to destination.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT debuts Summer 2022

Rapids Racer at Adventure Island

Get ready to crank up the mixtape and blast through an intergalactic chase through time and space with the heroes of Xandar. EPCOT’s first coaster attraction will also be Disney’s first reverse-launch coaster. This thrilling family-friendly ride will feature the lovable cosmic misfits – Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, and Star-Lord. Located in the park’s newly renamed World Discovery area, Cosmic Rewind will be stationed in the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at EPCOT, the Wonders of Xandar pavilion. Along with the new ride, guests can visit the Galaxarium and the Xandar Gallery to discover more about the Xandarian life.

Disney Wish sets sail summer 2022 with all new enchantment

Imaginative worlds and all-new adventures await guests on the Disney Wish with all-new children’s areas featuring some of Disney’s most beloved characters like Mickey Mouse, Chewbacca, Black Panther, Rapunzel, Belle, Anna and Elsa. These kids’ clubs are more than just highly themed spaces. They transform into living worlds through magical entertainment presented with the care and expertise of Disney-trained counselors. Disney’s Oceaneer Club will feature more stories and spaces than ever before, including Marvel Super Hero Academy, Fairytale Hall and Walt Disney Imagineering Lab, a unique opportunity for kids to discover the secrets of world-renowned Disney Imagineers. Kids can also explore two brand-new spaces – Star Wars: Cargo Bay and Mickey and Minnie Captain’s Deck. Children ages 6 months through 3 years can be cared for in the whimsical It’s a Small World Nursery. The Disney Wish will set sail from Cape Canaveral for its maiden voyage on June 9.

SeaWorld: Ice Breaker roller coaster debuts February 18

SeaWorld’s first launch coaster will open this February. Featuring four airtime filled launches, both backwards and forwards, it will culminate into a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida! Riders will fly over a near vertical top hat maneuver into a series of exciting twists, turns and airtime hills. A minimum height of 48 inches is required to ride.

Aquatica: Reef Plunge to replace Dolphin Plunge debuts March 2022

Plunge into an all-new water slide adventure this March. Guests can splash, twist and turn through over 330 feet of eye-catching translucent cutouts and rings. This one-of-a-kind adventure also allows riders to zoom past a dynamic new underwater habitat that is home to a vibrant array of marine life such as Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks and cold-water fish. A minimum height of 42 inches is required to ride.

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Brie Gorecki
Brie Gorecki
Brie has been writing for websites and local publications for over 10 years. A USF graduate, she has worked for several major companies in New York, Atlanta and here in Tampa. You can read her articles on Tampa Bay Parenting, Tampa Bay Date Night Guide and Orlando Date Night Guide. She’s a Disney fanatic, an animal lover, and is a huge foodie who loves trying all the amazing restaurants around Tampa Bay. She’s a proud mom to a sweet little Star Wars and Godzilla-loving boy, and to her “fur-babies,” a rescue dog and cat from Humane Society of Tampa Bay. She loves spending time with her family, whether it’s a date night out with her husband or a day filled with roller coaster rides at a theme park.

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