When it comes to family outings around Tampa Bay, try adding museums to the mix. Museums can be an affordable way to get your family involved in history and you may even find yourself having some fun. Some museums can be pretty interactive.

Museums may also be expensive? Well not if you know when and where to go. That’s where we come in to help guide you on daily ways you can visit a museum with your family that is absolutely free. Come explore these daily ways to enjoy museums around the Tampa Bay Area. While some of these museums only offer free admission for specific days, others are free to attend any time you visit, but in either case, always call or check their website to confirm hours and fees as they are subject to change without notice.

 

 

 

Monday

1. The John and Mable Ringing Museum: The Ringling Museum is located in Sarasota, Florida and preserves the legacy and estate of John and Mable Ringling. John Ringling was one of five brothers who owned and operated the circus called  “The Greatest Show on Earth. The museum is home to more than 28,000 art pieces, including memorabilia from the circus. It is home to the State Art Museum of Florida, the historic Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an Art Library, the Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater.  It’s definitely one to add to your bucket list if you’re going to be staying in the Tampa Bay Area for any amount of time. The grounds are beautiful and the art work and different artifacts there will put you in a happy place.

Details: Every Monday the Museum of Art, including special exhibition galleries are free to the public. Regular admission pricing applies if you wish to visit the Circus Museum or Ca’d’Zan. There is a playground onsite and picnic tables so you can bring your own lunch. Located on 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

 

 

2. Florida Botanical Gardens: Come walk the paths along the beautiful gardens. A great outing for the entire family. 

Details:
Free admission. Open daily from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., 12520 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, FL 33774

 

3. Tampa Police Museum in Tampa, FL. celebrates the rich history of the Tampa Police department. The museum is filled with police uniforms, badges, helmets, hats, original mug shots and fingerprint cards of famous criminals, and many other police memorabilia. Make sure to take a photo behind the bars in the museum.

Details. Free admission. Open from Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Please call ahead to confirm times as times may change due to staff availability. (813) 276-3200, 411 N. Franklin St., Tampa, FL.

Tuesday

1. Glazer Children’s Museum: This museum is ideal for young children. Located in downtown Tampa the museum offers a great interactive style to keep children learning and having fun. Their calendar is packed with fun activities, camps, etc.

Details: Every first Tuesday of the month, the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County sponsors a free museum entrance from Noon to 7 p.m. Food is sold inside the museum. They are also located near the Tampa Museum of Art and the Curtis Hixon Park where there is a splash area and playground for children. 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602.

 

2. Tampa Firefighters Museum in Tampa, FL. is housed in the first Tampa Firefighter Department building. The museum even includes a hands-on, interactive, fire safety and emergency awareness classroom.

Details: Offers free admission and is open on Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 2p.m. Located on 720 Zack Street, Tampa, FL 33602.

 

3. Open Tuesdays:

  • Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL. Open daily from 7 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Tampa Police Museum in Tampa, FL. Open from Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Please call ahead to confirm times as times may change due to staff availability. (813) 276-3200, 411 N. Franklin St., Tampa, FL.

 

 

Wednesday

1. Heritage VillageVisit the 21-acre outdoor living history museum located in the heart of Pinellas County. Explore 33 historic attractions, including a variety of historic homes, general store, railroad depot, two schools, church, and more.

Details: Free admission from Wednesday- Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Located on 11909 125th Street N. Largo, FL 33774.

 

2. Sulphur Springs Museum in Tampa, FL is dedicated to preserve and celebrate the natural and social history of Sulphur Springs, a community that helped shape Tampa.

Details: Free admission. Donations are accepted. Open on Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Located on 1101 E Ricer Cove St, Tampa, FL 33604.

 

3. Open Wednesdays:

  • Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL. Open daily from 7 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Heritage Village in Largo, FL. Open from  Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sundays from 1-4 p.m.
  • Tampa Firefighters Museum in Tampa, FL. Open on Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 2p.m.
  • Tampa Police Museum in Tampa, FL. Open from Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Please call ahead to confirm times as times may change due to staff availability. (813) 276-3200, 411 N. Franklin St., Tampa, FL.

 



Thursday

1. Tampa Museum of ArtThis modern building in downtown Tampa is filled with amazing art pieces and sculptures. In addition to docent led tours, they offer art classes, family events, free art activities and more.

Details: The Tampa Museum of Art invites everyone to Art on the House every Thursday evenings from 4 – 8 pm for Pay-as-you-will admission. You may decide to pay nothing or you may decide to pay any amount of money for admission. You get to choose!

There is a cafe inside the museum. They are also located near the Glazer Children’s Museum of and the Curtis Hixon Park where there is a splash area and playground for children. Located on 120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602.

 

Open Thursdays:

  • Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL. Open daily from 7 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Heritage Village in Largo, FL. Open from  Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sundays from 1-4 p.m.
  • Tampa Firefighters Museum in Tampa, FL. Open on Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 2p.m.
  • Tampa Police Museum in Tampa, FL. Open from Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Please call ahead to confirm times as times may change due to staff availability. (813) 276-3200, 411 N. Franklin St., Tampa, FL.
  • Sulphur Springs Museum in Tampa, FL. Open on Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

 

Friday

1. Henry B. Plant Museum: Located on the University of Tampa campus, the Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Victorian styled railroad resort is now a National Historic Landmark. The museum contains the actual furnishings enjoyed by the first guests to visit the hotel.

Details:

  • First Friday of every month (excluding December) visit the museum from 5-7 p.m. for free admission
  • Fourth Friday of every month, come visit from 4 – 5pm for free admission and audio tours.

This is a great place to take pictures. The museum looks like a beautiful castle near the water. There is a nearby park for little children to play on. Located on 401 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606

2. Tampa Museum of Art: Located at 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza in Downtown Tampa.

Details: The Museum celebrates Fourth Friday from 4 – 8pm with pay-as-you-will admission and free scheduled gallery activities. You get to choose how much or if you want to pay any admission. Everyone is welcome to attend.

 

3. Open Fridays:

  • Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL. Open daily from 7 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Heritage Village in Largo, FL. Open from  Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sundays from 1-4 p.m.
  • Tampa Firefighters Museum in Tampa, FL. Open on Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 2p.m.
  • Tampa Police Museum in Tampa, FL. Open from Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Please call ahead to confirm times as times may change due to staff availability. (813) 276-3200, 411 N. Franklin St., Tampa, FL.
  • Sulphur Springs Museum in Tampa, FL. Open on Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

 

Saturday

1. Museums on Us: If you’re a Bank of America card holder then you are in luck. The first full weekend of every month, participating museums invites Bank of America members to visit for free. This offer is only good for the card holder, not their guests.

Details: Visit on the first Saturday or Sunday to get in for free admission with your Bank of America bank card and Id for verification. Free admission only applies to card member.  Please Note: Participation may change at any time. Please call ahead to confirm.

Current participating museums in the Tampa Bay Area:

 

2. Open Saturdays:

 

Sunday

1. Open Sundays:

 

2. Museums on Us: If you’re a Bank of America card holder then you are in luck. The first full weekend of every month, participating museums invites Bank of America members to visit for free. This offer is only good for the card holder, not their guests.

Details: Visit on the first Saturday or Sunday to get in for free admission with your Bank of America bank card and Id for verification. Free admission only applies to card member.  Please Note: Participation may change at any time. Please call ahead to confirm.

Current participating museums in the Tampa Bay Area:

 

Seasonal

1. Manatee Viewing Center: One of Florida’s natural wonders is located in Apollo Beach, FL. The Manatee Viewing Center is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for these unique, gentle animals. You will see a lot of them. Make sure to step inside of their mini museum to learn more about the manatees and the Florida landscape. 

Details: The Viewing Center is open from Nov. 1st through April 15th of every year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission and parking is always free. They are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve (at 3 p.m.), Christmas Day and Easter. Located at 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572.

 

2. Blue Star MuseumsBlue Star Museums is a program that offers offers free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Find out which Museums are participating locally by visiting their website for more information.

 

3. Museum Day LiveMuseum Day is a one-day event in which participating museums and cultural institutions across the United States provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. Participants are allowed to download one ticket per email address through the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live website. The ticket provides free general admission for up to two people on a specified Saturday in September. Upcoming Museum Day Live is on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

See the updated Museum Day Live museums for 2018

 

4. Arts Alive: September is Art month in St. Petersburg, FL. As part of the St. Petersburg Festival of the Arts, the city celebrates by offering a free museum day which is usually on a Saturday in September. Residents and visitors can visit participating museums for free admission. Make sure to check out the St. Petersburg events calendar to find out more details. Celebration of the Arts. Upcoming Arts Alive is on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

See the participating Museums for Arts Alive in St. Petersburg

 



 

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