April 6, 2021

City on the Bay Part 3: Family Fun

In this final part of our series about urban living in Downtown Tampa, we take a look at a few family friendly activities.

The first stop on our tour of Tampa’s family friendly attractions is the Florida Aquarium. Located right in downtown Tampa, this aquarium is an expansive 200,000 square foot monument to the beauty of Florida’s natural life. Featuring a massive aviary and wetlands habitat, an over 500,000 gallon coral reef tank, a shark tank, penguin meet and greet activities, and so so much more, you can get lost in this living archive. The aquarium houses around 14,000 distinct animal and plant species, primarily from the waters around Florida. In addition, the aquarium has a sprawling outdoor play area, summer camps, and hosts all manner of events that will keep the whole family occupied for hours on end.

On the other side of downtown, located directly adjacent to the Museum of Art, is the Glazer Children’s Museum. Dedicated more to learning through play than dusty exhibits, this museum educates kids on things like where their food comes from, basic money management, and the water cycle through fun interactive exhibits. The museum was founded on the idea that children should have a safe environment in which to play, learn, and explore more about the world in which we live, and it is this idea that has carried them through their first decade of operation admirably. Just outside the museum’s doors lies Curtis Hixon Park, roughly 8 acres of waterfront park that is home to a playground, dog park, and vast greenspace. Whether your plans include a picnic and lounging in the afternoon sun, or playing a game of catch, Curtis Hixon has plenty of room to run around in. The area is also a frequent concert venue, and in the winter months even sports an outdoor ice skating rink. A family picnic, trip to the museum, and an evening spent skating are all within a few hundred feet of each other.

Another outdoor diversion for the family can be found just a few minutes away from downtown proper. At the far point of nearby Davis Island, families can visit Davis Island beach for a splash in the cool waters of the Bay during the hot summer months. Located right near the yacht club, the whole family can appreciate the view of a sailboat launching out and cutting its way through the water across the Tampa skyline. While the surrounding area is home to a number of world renowned beaches, the fact that one is so accessible from downtown points to a major benefit of living in a waterfront city like Tampa.

Of course, it would be remiss not to mention the various theme parks within close proximity to Tampa proper. From the thrilling rollercoasters of Busch Gardens, to the magic of Disneyland, there are a number of options for kids of all ages and inclinations only a short drive away. In particular, Lowry Park Zoo is an excellent companion to the Tampa Aquarium. Families can spend hours exploring the lush park that stretches 63 acres and is home to roughly 1,300 species of animals from across the globe. As a center for conservation in Florida, the Zoo also puts on a number of summer camps, and events to help raise awareness and form a deep connection in young minds with the natural world.

Living in downtown Tampa presents so many exciting activities for people of all ages to engage in, and this series barely scratches the surface of what is on offer here. From museums, to nightclubs, to parks, to zoos, there is something in this city for everyone, all you have to do is let yourself become a part of it.

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