Sit inside a LEGO Ferrari at LEGOLAND Florida

The BEST Things to Do this Spring Break in Tampa Bay with the Kids

We live where the world comes to play, so you don't have to go too far to find an epic family adventure in Tampa Bay!

If you're sticking around town for spring break, or maybe just looking for something new to do around town this spring, we're sharing some our favorite things to do in Tampa Bay with the kids.

Experience what's NEW in Tampa Bay:

This spring break is the perfect time to get out and explore all of the new experiences our local attractions are debuting this spring! It's a chance to play at favorite places and be among the first to play in new areas and even ride a brand-new ride!

Just a part of ZooTampa's NEW Billabong Splash Pad in the Australia Realm
Just a small part of ZooTampa's NEW Billabong Splash Pad in the Australia Realm!

NEW Ways to Play at ZooTampa

It's been a busy few months at ZooTampa with the debut of a new realm, a new ride, new animal encounters, and more!

The NEW Australia Realm is now open, just in time for spring break! This completely re-imagined family area features a new safari ride, Aussie Trek presented by Outback. And since the splash pad was always such a popular attraction in this area, it's back and bigger than ever along with a new dry play area and bar for cool drinks. Be sure to connect with the wallabies with a new Signature Encounter and then head on over to see the NEW Stingray Shores exhibit where there is another new Signature Encounter, Stingray Shores In-Water Encounter.

But, that's not all friends…the Zoo also recently debuted a new temporary exhibit to explore, Prehistoric Predators

NEW LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race Experience at LEGOLAND Florida

From your imagination to the racetrack, it's race time at the new LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race Experience opening this March at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort! See a life-sized LEGO Ferrari and create your own Ferrari race car in interactive play zones before you test drive it through three extreme test tracks.

Then digitally build and race on a virtual track to the finish line! Plus, the youngest drivers can design their own Ferrari with bigger bricks in the LEGO DUPLO® build zone. Florida residents can also take advantage of the new LEGOLAND Florida Play Card deal.

NEW Animal Experiences at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is adding some NEW ways to connect with their animals with the introduction of Tortoise Treat Time where you can feed a tortoise, a VIP Pelican Experience that will put you up close with the CMA's resident pelicans, and the NEW Paint with a Dolphin Experience where one person in your group holds a canvas while a dolphin paints a masterpiece for you!

The aquarium is also booking a Sloth Meet and Greet along with Family Mini Camps where the entire family goes to spring break camp together! You can also attend one of the Amazing Animals events which will be held March 9-24, featuring a different animal. You can learn more about these new spring break experiences at CMA here.

DK Farms Spring Break Bash

DK Farms is hosting a Spring Break Bash all week from March 11-15 from 10 am-4 pm. In addition to the usual activities like the petting zoo, pony rides, gem mining, and hayrides, they'll have 4 bounce houses! Tickets are $10 per child and they'll also have a bar for the adults to enjoy while the kids get their energy out in the bounce houses.

Go see what's on exhibit in Tampa Bay this spring break:

It's a great time to check out some really cool exhibits, some of which are only here for a limited time!

Prehistoric Predators at ZooTampa
Gigantasaurus at Prehistoric Predators at ZooTampa. Photo by ZooTampa.

Preshistoric Predators at ZooTampa 

Giant larger-than-life predators dating back to prehistoric times are roaring back to life at ZooTampa's Prehistoric Predators exhibit. Immerse yourself in their world and learn alll about these incredible creatures including dinosaurs, Terror Bird, Titanoboa, and more! Included with general admission.

World's Largest Triceratops at Glazer Children's Museum

There's a new exhibit on the second floor of Glazer Children's Museum that's all about measuring in a hands-on and super fun way for kids! They can pull out a life-sized tape measure, find out how many chickens they weigh and so much more!

a-MAZE-ing Butterflies and DC Superheroes at MOSI

There are two traveling exhibits you can experience this spring break to add to the fun on display every day at MOSI! a-MAZE-ing Butterflies shrinks you down the size of the butterfly as you journey through their incredible life cycle in an interactive maze and DC Superheroes allow you to channel your superpowers along with your favorite DC superheroes.

NEW VR Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: “Drop in the Ocean”

This interactive and social adventure takes visitors on a deep underwater journey, shedding light on the pressing issue of plastic pollution plaguing our world's oceans. “Drop in the Ocean” allows guests to ride a jellyfish up to the ocean's surface, where they will encounter a colorful array of sea creatures and tiny organisms, including micro-plankton. From coming face-to-face with a majestic leatherback turtle to exploring the vastness of the ocean alongside a magnificent whale shark, participants will gain a firsthand understanding of the urgent threat pollution poses to our planet's delicate ecosystems.

Fairgrounds St. Pete: Permanent display

This whimsical wonderland is a collection of artistic works by more than 60 artists. An immersive art exhibit like you've never seen, heard or even smelled before, Fairgrounds St Pete celebrates all that is weird and wacky about Florida. Choose your own adventure experience: You can simply walk through and enjoy the scenery or try to solve the mystery laid out before you. We're giving you an INSIDE LOOK here to get a feel of what it's like!

Related: Our Favorite Museums for Kids in Tampa Bay 

Celebrate Pi Day in Tampa Bay

Pi Day pie fight at Glazer Children's Museum kids
Pi Day pie fight at Glazer Children's Museum

Glazer Children's Museum is hosting its annual epic pie fight on Pi Day, March 13 at 3:14 pm. The event is free and will be held out in front of the museum at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. You can read more about Glazer Children's Pi Day Celebration here.

MOSI will be offering slices of Mike's Pies on Pi Day too between 11 am- 2 pm while supplies last. There will also be fun Pi Day activities which will be included with museum admission.

Head to the U-Pick Farm

strawberry picking at keel farms in plant city
Strawberry picking at Keel Farms in Plant City.

Springtime means u-pick time in Tampa Bay and there are several farms offering strawberry u-pick and veggie u-picks. We're sharing or favorite farms to go strawberry picking in Tampa Bay here.

Explore one of our favorite family-friendly beaches in Tampa Bay:

Some of the world's top beaches are right here in Tampa Bay. Here are our favorite family-friendly ones where you can soak up the sun—with plenty of sunscreen, of course:

Caladesi Island via Honeymoon Island:

You can only access Caladesi Island via a 10-minute ride on the Caladesi Island Ferry from Honeymoon Island, but it's worth it! The beaches are pristine, and while Caladesi seems remote, there are beach chairs and umbrellas to rent as well as bathroom and shower facilities and a snack bar.

The BEST Things to Do this Spring Break in Tampa Bay with the Kids
Caladesi Island

Fort DeSoto North Beach

If you're looking for more beach and less touristy stuff, Fort De Soto's North Beach is your best bet, and has plenty of parking and bathroom facilities. We also love walking the area of the Fort before heading to the beach area of the state park, and we like that we can find plenty of parking and bathroom facilities as well. You can access Egmont Key via ferry ride from the Fishing Pier at Fort De Soto Park and enjoy walking or biking along the seven miles of paved trails.

St Pete Beach

St Pete Beach was rated #1 in the United States by Trip Advisor in 2021, and it's easy to see why! It's not only home to the picturesque Pink Palace, The Don Cesar, but also beautiful white sandy beaches like Pass-a-Grille, which is super family-friendly. If you want something even more rustic and less traveled, consider a ferry ride from the Merry Pier on the Shell Key shuttle to Shell Key. You can also get to the beaches from downtown St Pete for free on the new SunRunner.

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is the obvious mention because there are so many things to do while enjoying the beautiful white sand beach! Pier 60 always has something going on and there are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby to explore, like one of our favorites, Frenchy's Rockaway Grille. Stop by Clearwater Marine Aquarium or explore the area on the Jolley Trolley with multiple stops around Clearwater Beach. Look for the Park & Ride Marquee on the Jolley Trolley. Check out to learn more and see the route maps!

Spring Break
Shark Tooth Hunting at Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Further south of Tampa Bay is Venice Beach—the Shark Tooth Capital of the World! A perfect day trip from Tampa Bay, you can rent shark tooth hunting gear at shops on the beach, like Sharky's at the Pier. According to the Fossil Guy, the best spots here to find shark teeth are between Casey Key to the north and Manasota Key to the south.

Want to explore MORE Florida beaches? We're sharing some top picks of family-friendly beaches in Florida HERE.

Visit a park or playground around town. We, of course, have a few favorites to share:

spring break staycation ideas in Tampa Bay
Edward Medard Conservation Park in Plant City.

One of our favorite parks in Hillsborough County is Edward Medard Conservation Park in Plant City due to a unique area near the playground where you can walk among otherworldly tree roots exposed by erosion at an old phosphate mine over the last several decades. There are also hills to hike to make you feel as if you're anywhere other than Tampa Bay!

Another super kid-friendly and even stroller-friendly hiking spot is Weedon Island Preserve in St. Pete. The boardwalk winds you through the mangroves to a tower for a bird's eye view of the natural park. You can also stop by the Cultural and Natural History Center to learn about the history of the park.

Hillsborough River State Park is another place we've visited recently and really enjoyed hiking with the kids. We parked in lot 3 and hiked the Baynard Trail (1.1 miles) which features a cool suspension bridge and the Rapids Trail (1.2 miles) with has rapids. There is also a playground near the parking lot that has climbing structures and swings.

If you are looking for a playground to get the wiggles out, our favorites are Julian B Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa and  Glazer Family Playground at the St. Pete Pier. There's a lot more to do too at the Pier–there are not only awesome restaurants, but you can explore the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, ride your bikes or scooters along the Pier or go for a skate the Rockin' Roller Rink which is on display March 7-April 14, 2024!

Both parks have a splash pad nearby, so don't forget to pack the swimsuits, towels and sunscreen!

St Pete Pier playground
Glazer Family Playground at the St. Pete Pier

Our new favorite park is also one of the newest! Bonnet Springs Park recently opened in Lakeland and it's definitely worth the drive over from Tampa and is also home to the new Florida Children's Museum.  We also love the play spaces at the revamped Coachman Park in Clearwatertoo!

It also happens to be prime u-pick season in Tampa Bay for strawberries and more! Check out some of our favorite farms here!

Visit Florida's Natural Water Park

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Buccaneer Bay Water Park at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Photo by Natajassa Prose.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

When it comes to old Florida attractions, one of our favorites is Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to the north because they have ‘real' mermaids and a super cool natural springs water park called Buccaneer Bay with water slides and even tubing. Don't miss the famous mermaids in the underwater theater! If you want to explore the area a bit more, consider booking a kayak ahead of time.

NOTE: Buccaneer Bay water park reopens for the season on March 23, 2024, so this is better for those of you who have a later spring break. You can still go experience the Mermaid Shows, Ranger Experience, and Wilderness River Cruise now.

Related: Florida Natural Springs to Experience with the Kids Within a Short Drive from Tampa Bay

Enjoy the great outdoors in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay may be known for its beaches, but it has so much more to offer families! We've already talked about some awesome parks, so now we're going to share a few other ways to enjoy the great outdoors!

Go Kayaking with the Kids

kayaking with kids in Tampa Bay
Kayaking on the Weeki Wachee River

Kayaking with the kids sounds like a lot of work, but it's actually a lot of fun! There are so many awesome spots around the area whether you want to go kayaking in the springs, beaches or rivers, there is probably a spot near you. We're sharing our favorite 10+ places to go kayaking with the kids here.

Explore the TECO Manatee Viewing Center

If you go on a cooler day, you'll have better luck spotting manatees as they seek the warmer waters from the TECO energy plant in Apollo Beach–don't worry, the water is clean. In fact, it's a state and national sanctuary for manatees. But., that's not the only thing to do. You can also tour the revamped Manatee Education Center, go hiking on the boardwalk, explore the TECO Clean Energy Center, and see the Florida Aquarium's sea turtle rehabilitation center where they are also growing coral and sea urchins. It's a pretty spectacular place and will close for the season in mid-April.

Go Zip Lining in Tampa Bay

There are several places around the area where you can zip line with the kids in the great outdoors! We're sharing some of our favorite spots to go zip lining here.

Go to a spring training game

Baseball Spring Training in Tampa Bay

Did you know there are several teams that practice and play during the spring training season right here in Tampa Bay? In fact, the Tampa Bay Rays are playing at home at the Trop this season since the Port Charlotte stadium is undergoing repairs due to Hurricane Ian. We're sharing all the details about spring training in Tampa Bay and where.

There are plenty of ways to SAVE in Tampa Bay this spring break, too!

We all like to save a bit of cash, right? One of the best ways to save at local attractions for locals is to consider annual passes that often give members additional perks like free parking and discounts. Other ways to save include:

Tampa Bay CityPASS

Save as much as 55% at five local attractions with this pass which costs $139 for an adult and $124 for kids ages 3-9. This includes admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and MOSI or Tropical Boat Tours Dolphin or Sunset Cruise. The pass is only valid for nine consecutive days from the first day you use it.

Tampa Riverwalk Attractions Pass

Pick up a One-Day pass for $55 for adults and $35 for kids ages 3-11 or a Three-Day pass for $79 for adults and $49 for kids ages 3-11. The pass gets you admission to seven attractions: Florida Aquarium, Pirate Water Taxi, Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children's Museum, H.B, Plant Museum and Florida Museum of the Photographic Arts.

Library passes

Did you know your county library offers a special pass for families to check out for free admission to select local museums and attractions? They are only available on a first come, first served basis, so visit your neighborhood public library to learn more.

Since we're only just scratching the surface…here are MORE FUN ways to explore Tampa Bay with the kids:


Fun Day Trips from Tampa Bay:

Since we live in such a central location in Florida, a day trip is totally possible to places like Walt Disney World! In fact, we're even sharing some of our favorite things to do at Disney World that are not at the parks!  Here are a few ideas to add to your spring break bucket list!

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival:

We're pretty fortunate to live so close to world-famous theme parks like Walt Disney World. While we can guarantee the parks will be slammed, if you can squeeze in a weekday visit to EPCOT to experience the International Flower and Garden Festival, we highly recommend it. You'll get to taste and sip your way through the Outdoor Kitchens and get inspired by the numerous themed gardens throughout the park.

New Princess Tiana Topiary at EPCOT
Princess Tiana topiary at American Adventure at EPCOT.

Zip the Canyons: Idea from our contributor, Tara Payor:

Staycations don't mean our feet have to stay planted on the ground. Recently, my daughter and I didn't fly to our destination, but we did fly through Ocala's clear skies and above its pristine water at Zip the Canyons.

Located at 8045 NW Gainesville Road in Ocala, Zip the Canyons offers an exciting array of adventures by air, land and water. Kayaking and horseback riding in canyons doesn't necessitate a flight to Colorado this spring break. Both are available at Zip the Canyons, which has options for staying and playing all day.

We harnessed up, completed a brief practice zip and took the Big Cliff Canyon Tour. With nine zip lines, including an 1,100-foot-long zip across Lost Spring Lake, the tour lasts about three hours. I packed small snacks and tour guides provided water. Cell phones are discouraged but, like a mom, I placed mine in a crossbody pouch. Zip the Canyons takes photos and videos, available for purchase at tour's end, but guides graciously used my phone. Guides were great with kids—full of energy and age-appropriate-jokes. Participants should be about 10 years old and 70 pounds. Fearless: another requirement. Briefer ziplining tours are offered, though they don't include zipping above the canyon's lake. Online reservations are strongly encouraged. Save a few dollars on tours by visiting this amazing adventure park on a weekday. Consult their website,, for additional information on tours and participant requirements.

Spring Break

*Originally published in the March 2022 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, updated in March 2023.