This 75 Free & Cheap list has been updated for Summer 2018.
Spend the summer exploring all the free and cheap things to do in the Tampa Bay Area. From free movies, bowling, golf, discounted museum admissions and more. There’s something for everyone to do.
With this comprehensive list you will have no problem planning a family outing that is easy, free, and cheap. Here is a great list that will keep you out and on a budget this summer.
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Please Note: This article was accurate the day it was posted. All prices, offerings and dates are subject to change without notice. Please contact each location and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before heading out.
Disclosure: Affiliate links may be found throughout this post. When you purchase anything through our link, we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Movies: Free & Cheap
There is a great selection of new release movies and older ones that you can watch for $5 or less per person.
1. FREE movies all summer long at Cobb Theatres in Wesley Chapel, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Lakeland.
2. Watch free movies on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Xscape Theatres Riverview 14 in Riverview, FL at 9:30 a.m. this summer.
3. Check out Friday Flicks on Largo‘s event calendar for a free movie night with the family.
4. Visit Clearwater and enjoy the beautiful sunset and the large boardwalk with artisans, crafters, street performers and live musical entertainment. While you’re there, bring your beach chair and towel for a free movie under the stars at Sunsets at Pier 60.
$1 and Up MOVIES
5. $1 movies at Regal Cinemas in Tampa and Port Richey.
6. $1 Movies at Studio Movie Grill every weekday for their Children’s Summer Movie Series.
7. Movie ticket, popcorn, drink, and a fruit snack for only $4 at AMC Movie Theatres in Tampa, Brandon, and Palm Harbor.
8. If you live near Lakeland, you’re in luck! Watch a Kid Movie at Cinemark Lakeland for only $1 or see all movies for only $5.
9. $1 Kid movies at Zephyrhills Cinema every Tuesday and Wednesday this Summer.
10. If you live near Brooksville, FL check out the Beacon Brooksville Cinema for $1.50 movies, $1.50 drinks and $1.50 popcorn.
11. Watch the newest movies for only $5 at Studio Movie Grill in Tampa on Tuesdays.
12. $5 Movies can also be found at AMC locations every Tuesday. Join their free rewards program and start saving some money while watching the newest movies on the big screen.
13. Switch it up! Watch a movie for cheap at one of Tampa Bay’s Drive-In Theatres. They are affordable and many include two movies for one price.
SENSORY Friendly Movies
14. For those families affected by Autism or any other special needs, check out our 2018 list of Summer Movies that offer Sensory Friendly screenings for your family. Movies range from PG to PG-13 and is available for all ages.
BONUS MOVIE LIST:
A. Looking for clean and inspirational movies that you can watch with your family during the summer? Explore a free 30 day trial to this family-friendly video program that you will enjoy with entire family.
B. Looking for $5 movies just about everyday? Then catch Studio Movie Grill’s $5 movie deals on Groupon.
C. Don’t want to have to drive to rent a movie? Rent the latest movies through FandangoNOW and earn reward points for every purchase. It’s nice to be rewarded for things you were already going to buy.
Summer is all about deals! With over 70 days of summer break with the kids, doing things together can quickly add up. Make sure to take advantage of these deals before planning your summer adventures.
14. We purchased our Entertainment Book and we love that it has an online app that gives us alerts to help us save money this summer. This deal won’t last long. Take advantage of this amazing price before it goes up to it’s regular price.
15. If you are visiting the Tampa Bay Area then you definitely want to take advantage of Tampa Bay CityPASS. The Pass includes one low price to five Tampa Bay attractions, including Busch Gardens, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Florida Aquarium and more.
16. Take a trip to Orlando, FL and save, save, save! The Go Card Orlando offers big savings for 30+ attractions. Take advantage of this offer today.
17. Not sure what to do? Always check Groupon for amazing deals on food and things to do.
18. Keep your children learning this summer. Save 60% off for this Memorial Day Weekend Sale! This is absolutely the BEST deal ABCmouse comes out with. Take advantage before it’s too late.
19. Make sure to check out LivingSocial for local deals before heading out.
20. FUN SPOT AMERICA:
Save the date! On Saturday, June 9th enjoy $20 single day passes ALL DAY at Orlando OR Kissimmee! Regular price is $49.99.
• $20 armbands ALL DAY 10am-midnight
• Can purchase up to 10 in-park OR online (Price will go live on the website on June 9th) *Tickets expire June 1st, 2019.
INDOOR FUN ATTRACTIONS
Take a break from the Tampa Bay heat with some fun indoor attractions. Many of theses activities can be enjoyed by every member of the family and when you take advantage of their discount days and offers, it can also be a very affordable family outing.
21. Visit MOSI Tampa, The Florida Aquarium, and other Tampa Attractions for 53% off through CityPass.
22. Kids bowl free and cheap at select Tampa area locations. Check out our ultimate guide to free & cheap bowling centers for the summer.
23. Kids from K-12 grade can get a Student Lane Pass at Pin Chasers for $14.00 which includes 15 games of bowling. Use the games during the summer or fall. They never expire.
24. During the summer and holidays only at Airheads Trampoline Park in Tampa and the St. Pete/Clearwater location, take advantage of their Wild Wednesday special. Walk-in jumpers can enjoy unlimited trampoline jump from 3pm-close for only $15!
They also have a great deal on Mondays where you get unlimited trampoline jump in pairs for only $15 per jumper!
25. Kids Fun Skate runs on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at United Skates of America for only $5. Recommended for Ages 10 years and Younger or Wednesday Family Skate from 6:00-8:30pm for $5 (Includes Admission & Skate Rental)
26. Help your kids cool off inside the indoor bounce center, Gator Fred’s. They always have tons of summer specials and parents are always admitted free.
27. Go indoor rock climbing on Saturdays at Vertical Ventures at their Tampa or St. Petersburg location for their two-for-one admission from 6-10 p.m.
29. Kids love laser tag and Qzar Tampa Laser Tag specializes in just that. They have some great packages if you would like to spend hours laser tagging. Great way to let the kids have some fun for a few hours.
30. Go carting may not be the cheapest thing to do, but kids love this and so do adults. They may offer deals on bigger parties.
A. Check out Grand Prix Tampa for an outdoor carting experience.
B. Visit Tampa Bay Grand Prix for an indoor experience and if you’re near St. Petersburg.
C. Make sure to check out Pro Karting Experience, for a limited time your kids can bring in their straight A report cards and get a race for free!
31. Stay cool this summer by visiting a great assortment of ice skating centers around the Tampa Bay area. Visit the Ice Sports Forum in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar and Clearwater, Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, and a few others. Please check their website for their public skating hours and deals.
Tampa Bay Museums
Museums are a great way to spend the summer days with the family. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay area is home to many museums and some offer discounted or free days or hours that you can visit. Check out the great selection below.
32. If you have a membership to any museum, they may also offer discounted admission or free admission to other museums around Tampa and the United States. Members on average get 50% off of reciprocal membership programs.
33.***Special for Teachers*** get in for FREE at all of the Morean Arts Center locations in St. Petersburg for the month of June!
33a. The first Fridays in June-August gets you in for FREE at the Henry B. Plant Museum. Free admission, treats and entertainment starting at 5 p.m.
34. Art on the House: Visit the Tampa Museum of Art on Thursday evenings from 4 – 8 p.m. for Pay-as-you-will admission. Make a donation if you would like or simply pay nothing, either one will get you into the museum.
35. The Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs is home to more than 100 pinball games, video games and other amusements that you can actually play. No need to bring any coins. One admission fee gives you access to all of the machines. The museum opens Thursdays-Sunday in Tarpon Springs and admission is $8 for children 7-12 years old with a paying adult and $14 for Adults. Children ages 6 and under play for FREE with paying adult. You will definitely be here for hours!
36. Many Tampa Bay museums participate in the Blue Star Museum program for military families. This program offers free admission for military members and their family at select museums from May 26-Sept. 3, 2018.
38. Every Monday gets you free admission into the the beautiful Ringling Museum in Sarasota. So many beautiful art pieces to see. A large and interactive playground for the children and a beautiful rose garden are all apart of the free admission. Select parts of the museum will also be open at regular pricing. Definitely worth the visit.
39. Visit Glazer Children’s Museum for free admission on the first Tuesday of the month from 12pm-7pm.
40. If you have a car enthusiast in the family, make a pit stop at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum in Pinellas Park. It is FREE for children 12 and under and it’s only $8 for those 13 and up.
41. Take it outdoors and visit the Heritage Village, a 21-acre open-air living history museum in Largo, FL. Come visit more than 31 historic structures and it’s free admission for everyone to visit and explore. Bring some good walking shoes and sunscreen.
42. After visiting the Heritage Village, stop by next door to the beautiful 30 acre Florida Botanical Gardens for free in Largo, FL.While the Florida Botanical Gardens is not technically a museum, you will be amazed at how much you will learn and the many species of plants you will encounter. Pack a picnic lunch and take a stroll through the gardens.
43. Visit the Ybor City Museum from Wednesday-Sunday and take a walking tour around this historic city for $4 admission and it’s free for children 5 and under.
44. Learn more about the history of Firefighters by visiting the Tampa Firefighters Museum in Tampa. Admission is free and if you are so inclined, they do accept donations.
45. Explore dozens of art activities at Children’s Art Museum at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center for a budget friendly price of $4 for non-members. Free admission for children 2 and under.
46. Kids are always admitted for free at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College.
47. Kids 11 and under ride free at The Florida Railroad Museum on Saturday & Sunday in June, July and August.
48. FREE Admission to The Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City, FL on Saturday, June 23rd from 10AM-1PM for their Family Field Day. Find out more through the event page.
49. Discovery Pass provides one-time admission or tour to a local Tampa attraction during a 7-day checkout period.Your check-out receipt serves as your admission or tour pass to Tampa Museum of Art, Big Cat Rescue and others. Passes may be reserved through the Hillsborough County library branch. Discovery Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who says summer can’t be fun and educational? There are so many ways to make your summertime with the kids filled with learning. You can even make it something that the entire family can participate in doing.
50. Earn a free ticket to a Tampa Bay Rays game by taking part of the Reading with the Rays program.
51. Check out our Mega List of Tampa Bay area and national summer reading programs that earn kids 18 and under prizes, treats and even money.
52. Helping others can be lots of fun and a great family thing to do this summer. Youth can also earn their volunteer hours during the summer by signing up at volunteermatch.org or Justserve.org for local Tampa Bay service opportunities.
53. Looking for some spiritual education? There are so many Vacation Bible Schools located around Tampa Bay. Many are free to attend. Sign up now to receive 40+ Tampa Bay area VBS programs with FAQ’s. The list covers Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.
BONUS EDUCATION RESOURCE: Take advantage of this Memorial Day weekend sale by getting 50% off an entire year of ABCmouse.com! With more than 8,500 learning activities, your children will love learning with ABCmouse.
Wear your sunscreen for a day out at these fun outdoor attractions. Below you will find a great variety of things to do while you soak up the Florida sun.
54. ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and other Tampa Attractions for 51% off through CityPass.
55. Every Thursday is Family Fun Day at Celebration Station in Clearwater. Get Unlimited Outdoor Rides and Pizza Buffet for just $15.99 per person. Outdoor rides include Go Karts, Bumper Boats, and Playland Rides.
56. Come watch the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team perform for free in Oldsmar, FL. Each weekend performance comes with a different and fun theme. Pre-Show starts at 5:30 p.m. Concessions are available onsite.
57. The kids will get a kick out of this miniature train.The first weekend of the month the Largo Central Railroad offers free public run days at Largo Central Park.
58. Watch a live Alligator show on Sneak Peak Saturdays for $10 at Croc Encounters in Tampa which includes admission, a photo opportunity holding a small alligator and feed for a turtle or tortoise feeding with the Coupon. Click here to get the coupon.
59. Visit the family-friendly petting farm and horse stable at HorsePower for Kids on Thursdays and if a Family of 4 or more bring non-perishable donations, they will receive 1 free admission.
Fishing is an outdoor attraction, right? Spend a fun weekend with the family fishing in Florida water for license free-freshwater fishing days on the Second Saturday and Sunday in June across Florida (June 9-10, 2018) License-free saltwater fishing occurs on the first Saturday and Sunday in June across Florida (June 2 -3, 2018) Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Comission for details.
Tampa Bay is home to several professional and minor league teams. Many of them are adding value by offering discounted days, packages, meals or even free admission for qualifying groups.
60. For all Tuesday home games, the Tampa Bay Rays will offer $2 tickets for kids 14 and under with the purchase of a full price paid adult ticket. Teachers, military members and first responders can receive free or discounted tickets to a Rays game as well by signing up online through the Rays website.
61. Enjoy a game for only $5 per ticket, plus free parking, and food specials at the Tampa Tarpons game.
62. Affordable game tickets and food specials are available at the Clearwater Threshers.
63. Come support our Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team $11 Military & Student game tickets in St. Pete.
64. Kids get in free on Sunday games of the Dunedin Blue Jays.
65. So many promotions available at the Flying Tigers game in Lakeland.
66. Fun for all ages. Play a friendly game of golf at TopGolf in Tampa and pay one price for the Bay per hour. Come between Open and 12 p.m. and it’s only $25 per hour for up to 6 people. That’s only $4.12 per person.
Spend your summer nights listening to talented musical performers around the Tampa Bay area. Some musical entertainment are included with price of admission or membership.
67. Stay late during Busch Gardens Tampa Summer Nights on select nights from May-August for live entertainment, special summer menus, thrill rides in the dark and so much more. Free w/ admission or membership.
69. Stay tuned for dates from Adventure Island as they kick off the summer party with island-inspired performers, a live DJ and games on the beach. Free w/ admission or membership.
70. Take a stroll down to Curtis Hixon Park for Rock the Park, downtown Tampa’s FREE music concert series for all ages scheduled the first Thursday of every month.
71.Visit the Shops at Wiregrass on the first Wednesday of the month for their Wiregrass Ranch Kids Club w/ children’s entertainer Mr. Tommy.
Arts & CRAFTS
Get creative this summer and make a fun keepsake to remember the best summer ever!
73. Free Art projects for kids every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Tampa Museum of Art. Then cool off at the two splash fountains at the Curtis Hixon Park.
74. $2 craft projects for kids every Saturday at participating Michaels Craft stores.
75. Friends and Family $5 Friday Studio Fee deal at Potter’s House Studio in South Tampa.
76. Make it a family art night on the second Saturday of the month from 5-9 p.m. in St. Petersburg for their free ArtWalk, where more than 40 galleries and studios to premiere new art pieces. Walk to each gallery or take a free trolley that circles the arts districts.
77. Sundays @ The Morean is a FREE family drop-in art and clay studio hosted by the Morean Center for Clay and you can drop in for Saturdays at the Morean Center from 1-4 p.m. for free family art activities from June to August.
78. Combine free storytime and crafts:
- Visit your local Barnes & Noble location for weekly story times on Saturdays and select days during the week.
- Weekly storytime & crafts at Learning Express Toys Citrus Park. at the Citrus Park Mall.
- Pottery Barn Kids in Tampa offers free weekly storytime and crafts for kids and you can earn a free prize after attending five times.
NAture & Parks
There are so many beautiful wildlife, vegetation and trails to see and explore. Stay active and be prepared by bringing lots of water, sunscreen and a snack when out and about. Make it an enjoyable family adventure.
79. Visit the beautiful Hillsborough River State Park, and check out their Class II rapids along your hiking trail.
82. While you’re at Indian Rocks Beach, stop by Seaside Seabird Sanctuary for free admission. Children will love seeing the huge variety of birds.
Cool off this summer at one of the many water parks, pools, and splash pads available around Tampa Bay. Help your kids stay active, all while having fun.
83. The biggest and the most visited Tampa Bay area attraction is our beautiful beaches. Some of our favorite beaches include:
- At the top of our list is Honeymoon Island beach, it is a perfect way to spend the summer days.
- Pass-A-Grille Beach is another one of our favorite beaches to visit.
- Swim at the beautiful Treasure Island Beach.
- Sand Key Park has playgrounds, grills, and a dog park for the whole family to enjoy.
- Take a ferry to visit the beautiful Caladesi Island State Park and lounge on the beach. Kids 5 and under ride for free on ferry.
85. Many Tampa Bay Metropolitan YMCA & Suncoast YMCA offer free or affordable admission for non-members at their pool or water slide parks during the summer. Make sure to call your local YMCA to see if they are participating and dates and times for admission.
Some of our favorites:
- The Campo Family YMCA in Valrico, FL.
- Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch YMCA in Sarasota offers $7 admission for non-members.
- Bob Sierra North Tampa Family YMCA
- South Tampa Family YMCA
86. Splash and play at St. Pete’s 15,750-square-foot inflatable water park at Tradewinds Resort. So much fun to be had on the slides, trampolines, ocean loungers, and island rafts for $16 per person.
Admission or Membership Based
87. Splash Pads can be found in all the major Tampa area attractions like Busch Gardens.
Florida Aquarium Open daily from 10 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. (weather permitting)
ZooTampa at Lowry Park. The use of these splash pads are included in the admission/membership.
FREE or CHEAP Splash Pads
88. If you don’t have a membership to a Tampa Attraction, check out these free or low cost splash parks below. These are a few of our favorites:
- Check out the newly opened Julian B Lane Waterfront Park in Tampa on 1001 North Boulevard.
- The Curtis Hixon Park has two spray fountains in between their spacious field.
- The lion themed splash pad at Anderson Park (Kate Jackson Community Center). The beautiful park that has a playground and a Little Free Library where you can get a free book or drop one off.
- Great splash pad at Dell Homes Park in St. Petersburg. Shaded picnic shelters offers a great place for parents to watch the kids. Playground is super interactive and fun.
- The Water Works Park in downtown Tampa has a huge water bucket, scenic view, walking paths and close proximity to downtown attractions.
- Colorful water fixtures at the splash pad at the Ballast Point Park in Tampa. It has an amazing view of the bay and multiple playgrounds makes this a fun family spot.
- The interactive Waterplay Sprayground at Zephyr Park in Zephyrhills has water cannons and dumping buckets to keep the kids cool and entertained.
- All Person’s Rotary Park has a great playground area tucked into the Brandon community, in addition to their splash pad area.
- The Cypress Forest Park Rec Center in Oldsmar has a fun and interactive splash area for the kids. Parking is $5 per day.
89. Bring the family to Lithia Springs Regional Park and take a dip in the 72 degree natural spring water, In addition to swimming, there is a playground and picnic facilities.
90. Take in a magical mermaids show, river boat cruise and take a splash at Buccaneer Bay, all at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Hernando County.
91. Visit SunWest Park recreational waterfront facility in northwest Pasco, just off of Hwy 19. Fun inflatable obstacle courses, paddle boards and more.
92. Don’t have your own personal pool? No worries. Make it a family pool day at some of these family-friendly locations:
- Large tube slides and a zero depth entry into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pool. $2 entry fee for kids.
- Located on Davis Islands near downtown Tampa, Roy Jenkins Pool is a great family pool that has five lap lanes and a fun children’s activity pool.
- Take a dip at the large pool at the City of Dunedin Highlander Pool for $3 admission. The Sprayground is in the same park which doubles the fun.
- The St. Pete Beach Family Aquatic Center has a six-lane Junior Olympic swimming pool with an attached children’s play area for the little ones.
- 214 foot corkscrew water slide and 3-story speed slide is all the rage at Highland Family Aquatic Center in Largo.
- The North Shore Aquatic Complex in St. Pete is another local favorite that includes a 50 meter pool with a diving board.
93. Kids eat FREE & CHEAP across Tampa Bay. Tuesday is definitely the most popular day, so make sure to check our our Ultimate Guide to Kids Eat Free & Cheap.
94. Children 18 years and under can also eat free at designated Summer Breakspot locations throughout the summer. No child should have to worry about eating a healthy meal in the summer.
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Please Note: This article was accurate the day it was posted. All prices, offerings and dates are subject to change without notice. Please contact each location and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before heading out.