Tampa Bay families are slowly getting back to normal day life after Hurricane Irma. As we look to keep our kids entertained, we have found some fun and free things to do with your family that won’t break the bank.
There are some especially amazing Tampa family deals that you definitely want to check out. Many attractions like Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, Glazer Museum and others are slashing prices to help families as they try to stay cool and sane after the Hurricane. See the full details here.
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FREE Things to Do:
1. Parks: The different counties in the Tampa Bay are are slowly opening parks as they become safe. Please click on Tampa Parks & Rec and Pasco Parks for information on parks that are currently open. Pinellas County Parks will re-open on Saturday, Sept. 16th. Please continue to check your county’s social media pages for updates on parks and rec openings. Many housing communities also have their own playground structures and even walking paths if you are looking for a local park.
2. Libraries: Besides being air-conditioned, libraries are more than just books. You can use the computer and enjoy free access to the internet. Kids can use the internet to research or play fun and educational games.
Many libraries have free access to ABCmouse.com, which helps to keep kids 2-8 years old engaged and having fun. Want to access ABCmouse away from the library? Sign up for 30 days of interactive learning lessons and games through ABCmouse.com for FREE.
Libraries also host many events for the community, including story times, crafts, games, movie showings and a wide variety of activities for children and adults. You can even check out DVDs to watch at home. Many resources are free at the library and vary between branches. Check out your local libraries event calendar to see what exciting things they have planned.
3. Museums: There are a select few that are always free for the public to visit:
a. Tampa Firefighter Museum, 720 E Zack St, Tampa, FL 33602 (813) 964-6862. Open Tuesday-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for free admission. It’s a small museum that is very interactive for children. Explore all the unique artifacts that highlight the history of Tampa firefighters. They also have a gift shop where you can pick up a souvenir. Donations are accepted.
b. 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.
c. 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.
d. Art on the House: Visit the Tampa Museum of Art on Friday evenings from 4 – 8 p.m. for Pay-as-you-will admission. Make a donation if you would like or simply pay nothing, either option will still get you into the museum.
e. (Almost Free) Low income families can visit Great Explorations Museum in St. Petersburg for only $3 through the Museums for All program
4. Family Memberships: If you have a membership to any museum, they may also offer discounted admission or free admission to other museums around Tampa. Many museum or attractions have reciprocal programs like SWAPtember that allows members to visit other museums or attractions for free or 50% off admission fee. Check your family memberships to see what type of reciprocity they provide.
a. Have a membership at Busch Gardens? Lowry Park Zoo? Florida Aquarium? Have the kids cool off at their very interactive splash pads. Stay there for hours for tons of family fun.
5. Pools: Stay cool and jump in the pool. Many of your friends and even your housing communities will have pools to help cool you off. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
6. Shopping Malls: Many malls in the Tampa area have free indoor play structures to entertain the kids. Some children stores may even have story-time or fun activities. If you like window shopping then a mall could be a great place to stay cool while planning for future purchases.
Check out some of our favorite malls in the Tampa Bay area.
7. Free Shows:
a. 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.
a. Visit your local Barnes & Noble location for weekly story times on Saturdays and select days during the week.
b. Saturdays @ The Morean is a FREE family drop-in art for children from 10am – 12:30pm and 1-3:30 p.m. (Studio Closed for Lunch: 12:30pm – 1pm) Art activities are geared toward children ages 5-10. Parents and/or guardians must remain with their children at all times.
Each week the themed arts and craft projects brings something new and creative for children to do. Children may participate for a $2 fee for 30 minutes. All supplies and instruction are included in the fee.
c. (Almost Free) Micheals Arts & Craft Stores host a Kids art session every Saturday and starts every half hour from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. You can call your local store, sign up online or visit a Micheals store and register your child for a 30 minute craft session while you shop the aisles. $2 per child.
d. 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 nearby Curtis Hixon Park.