Summer in Tampa brings many, many sunny days, but the afternoons between July and September can bring thunderstorms and the danger of being trapped inside your hotel room with the kids. Luckily, there are several great Tampa Florida attractions that are perfect to keep kids and adults entertained on those rainy days.
The Florida Aquarium – most locals refer to it as the Tampa Aquarium, so don’t be confused when you ask for directions, there’s just the one. The Florida Aquarium was named by TripAdvisor.com as one of the top 10 aquariums in the country and is certainly worth the visit for you and your children. Located in the Channelside District, right next to Channelside Bay Plaza and the Port of Tampa, it’s a must for any Tampa Bay travel itinerary.
The Aquarium’s exhibits are organizes into several levels, following a drop of water from its underground source into the ocean. You’ll see a recreation of Florida’s Wetlands, with Alligators, Otters, Turtles and more then move all the way down to viewing a snapshot of the ocean floor. The Florida Aquarium is entertaining and educational for kids of all ages and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
The Glazer Children’s Museum – The Glazer family not only are the owners of both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the UK’s Manchester United football clubs, but have also endowed the new Glazer Children’s Museum. Located next to the Tampa Museum of Art and the Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa the colorful Museum building draws kids in from the outset. One of the best things for the parents on rainy days is the covered parking garage. The kids, however, will find hundreds of things to keep them entertained and educated inside!
The Museum is broken up into 12 separate areas with individual themes: Airplane Travels, Art Smart, Central Bank, Design and Build, Engineers Workshop, Fire House, Get Moving, Hospital, Kids Café, Kids Network, My House-Your House, Supermarket, Vet Clinic and Waters Journey. There’s something in here to keep any kid interested. There are also Featured Events that take place on a weekly basis, make sure you check their calendar.
The garage is a bit difficult to find, but it you follow the signs for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa Museum of Art or Tampa Public Library which share the same parking you will be fine.
GameWorks – If you have older children or just feel like a more adult friendly venue, head for GameWorks in Ybor City. Ybor City is Tampa’s Latin Quarter that’s grown into and entertainment center for the area. Located a quick Trolley ride from the Florida Aquarium or a 5 minute drive from the Glazer Children’s Museum, you’ll have no trouble finding Ybor. GameWorks is located on 8th Avenue, one block north of Ybor’s La Septima (7thAvenue) and is the end of the line for Tampa’s trolley car.
Inside GameWorks you will find the most exciting arcade in Tampa Bay. Air hockey, mini-bowling, dance and boxing video games and my favorite..the Sega formula one racing game! 6 almost full size racers that give you a real feel for the bumps and rattles of high speed face large video screens displaying the action to you and the crowd.
The 2 best things about GameWorks from a parental perspective are GameTime; the Sports/Bar and Restaurant located right INSIDE the arcade, and the fact that it’s a short covered walk from the Muvico movie theater in Centro Ybor. GameTime serves typical sports bar fare, but from here you can keep an eye on both the kids and whatever game happens to be on TV at the moment. Play some Games, grab lunch and see a movie, and if the weather clears you can enjoy everything Ybor City has to offer too.
Don’t let your Tampa Bay travel plans be put on hold because of a rainy afternoon, there’s plenty to do, especially if Art Museums are on your agenda.
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