STAYcation in Tampa Bay

STAYcation in Tampa Bay: All That’s NEW to Explore!

If you’re sticking around town and need some fun ideas of things to do during these final weeks of summer break, we’ve got you covered! Let’s explore all of the NEW ways to connect and play in Tampa Bay!

What’s NEW:

ZooTampa Clouded Leopard Encounter
ZooTampa’s NEW Clouded Leopard Encounter

ZooTampa Clouded Leopard Encounter

This experience returned last month to the zoo, giving you a unique opportunity to connect with this endangered species and see for yourself why they are so special and deserve our attention to conserve them for future generations. There are two possible experiences during this encounter—you’ll either assist in a training session or help build an enrichment. Open to all ages.
Price: Members: $19.95-$24.95  |  Non-Members: $24.95-$29.95

RELATED: 9 Ways to Upgrade Your Day with Unforgettable Animal Encounters at ZooTampa


ZooTampa Manatee Critical Care Center Tour
ZooTampa’s Manatee Critical Care Center Tour

ZooTampa Manatee Critical Care Center Tour

See the expansion of ZooTampa’s David A Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center in action while you get a behind-the-scenes perspective on what it takes to rescue, rehabilitate and release manatees. You’ll learn that it takes an astounding amount of food to feed the manatees each day—no spoilers here. You gotta go! Open to ages 5 and older, though older kids may enjoy it more since it is more of an educational walking tour.
Price: Members: $14.95-$19.95 | Non-Members: $19.95-$24.95

RELATED: ZooTampa’s Manatee Hat Trick: Rescue, Rehab, Release 


Florida Aquarium Stingray Feeding Experience
The All-New Stingray Feeding Experience at the Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium Stingray Feeding Experience

This is a brand new encounter that takes you behind the scenes to experience what it’s like to be a biologist at the aquarium. You’ll also get a chance to help weigh the food and then feed the rays in Stingray Beach and watch a training session. The program is offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2:10 p.m. Kids ages 8 and older may participate.
Price: $30 per person

READ MORE: New Stingray Feeding Experience at The Florida Aquarium


Capybara Chillout at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
The Capybara Chillout Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Capybara Chillout at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Last Day is July 7)

Don’t miss out on a chance to get up close with these adorable creatures! Clearwater Marine Aquarium invited Amazing Animals, Inc. to bring three capybaras for a limited time only during three different sessions throughout the day. You’ll get to feed them lettuce, and, because they’re very social animals, there’s a good chance they’ll come up to you so you can pet them on their backs. Open to ages 5 and older.
Price: $59.95

READ MORE: Visit the NEW Capybara Chillout at Clearwater Marine Aquarium!


Pirate Water Taxi Dolphin Patrol Cruise
Pirate Water Taxi’s ALL NEW Dolphin Patrol Cruise

Pirate Water Taxi Dolphin Patrol Cruise

There’s a new way to spot dolphins on the bay in Tampa! Pirate Water Taxi just launched a new Dolphin Patrol Cruise that you board at its main dock near the Tampa Convention Center. Kids will learn all about dolphins and be given a pair of binoculars to search for the frolicking mammals. There’s a special reward for the person who spots the first dolphin, but all kids will get to pick a prize from the treasure box. The 90-minute cruise is offered on Saturdays and Sundays.
Price: $24.95 for kids ages 2-12 and $29.95 for adults

READ MORE: Pirate Water Taxi launching new Dolphin Cruise in Downtown Tampa



MOSI's new Aviation Exhibit
Part of MOSI’s new Aviation Exhibit

MOSI Aviation Exhibit

In MOSI’s new Aviation Evolution experience, weave your way through a maze and discover the wonders of flight at every turn!

You’ll encounter walls that react to your touch, complete puzzles that tell the story of aviation, and test your own skills by building paper airplanes and helicopters—all with a real experimental aircraft suspended just over your head. From humans’ earliest dreams of flight to our modern age of space stations and satellites, explore the inventions and people who have taken aviation to new heights.

Don’t forget to check out the limited-time exhibit Brick Dinos and the newly expanded Drone Zone too!


NEW Volunteer Experience:

Tween Volunteer Program at Glazer Children’s Museum
Photo credit: Glazer Children’s Museum

Tween Volunteer Program at Glazer Children’s Museum

Do you have a tween looking for a fun volunteer opportunity? Following the popularity of the Teen Play Leader program, Glazer Children’s Museum recently launched the Tween Play Leader program.

Offered on Wednesdays from 12:30-3:30 p.m., the program is open to rising sixth to eighth graders. They’ll get to help greet and play with guests, assist with preparing and delivering education programs, and learn what it’s like to work at a children’s museum.

Apply at



Fairgrounds St. Pete is now FloridaRAMA

The whimsical wonderland known for its quirky, vintage Florida-inspired art installations is now called FloridaRAMA. FloridaRAMA will feature all the same immersive art experiences as always, with enhanced events and experiences such as entertainment, a venue space and a café.

It’s one of our top picks for places to beat the heat or spend a rainy day, so make sure to add FloridaRAMA to your summer to-do list! 

READ MORE: A Whimsical Wonderland: FloridaRAMA is a MUST-SEE for Families


Celebrate SUMMER!!

LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s Summer Brick Party
LEGOLAND Summer Brick Party, Photo Credit: Laura Byrne

LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s Summer Brick Party

Everything is awesome this summer at LEGOLAND Florida during this daily celebration where you can meet event-exclusive characters like LEGO Shark Suit Guy and our new favorites, LEGOLAND Girl & Boy! The Go Xtreme live show got some thrilling new updates this year and there are some new themed sips and bites to try too.

The party is included with admission. Take advantage of a limited-time ticket deal for kids and purchase up to four kids’ tickets at just $29 each with the purchase of one adult ticket. This deal gets kids into all three parks: LEGOLAND Florida Resort, LEGOLAND Water Park and Peppa Pig Theme Park.

READ  MORE: LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s Summer Brick Party is Back!


Island Nights at Adventure Island
Island Nights party at Adventure Island

Island Nights at Adventure Island

The celebration continues until 8 p.m. at Adventure Island on Friday nights through July 26! You can expect live music, selfies with a 360-degree camera and more.

READ MORE: Make a Splash at Adventure Island’s Island Nights!


Summer Nights at Busch Gardens
Summer Nights Fireworks at Busch Gardens

Summer Nights at Busch Gardens

Beat the heat and experience Busch Gardens during this summertime celebration every night through Aug. 11. There’s an all-new ice show this year where you can cool off when it’s still hot outside, so you can save the cooler evening hours for outdoor fun like the rides, Gwazi Rocks and more.

There are even fireworks on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. To see the full schedule of activities, visit

READ MORE: Summer Nights Returns to Busch Gardens! 


Local Beachfront Getaway:

TradeWinds Island Resort on St. Pete Beach
TradeWinds Island Resort, Photo Credit: Ralf Gonzalez

TradeWinds Island Resort on St. Pete Beach

This is a staff favorite simply because there are so many kid-friendly amenities to enjoy as a family without ever having to leave the resort, including a beachfront water slide, floating water park, zip line, paddle boarding, family pirate show, magic show and touch tank experience.

The TradeWinds Island Grand and RumFish Beach Resort on St. Pete Beach are offering Florida residents 15% off the best available rate, Sunday through Thursday, until Dec. 31.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW: The Ultimate Beachfront Staycation: TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach


Fun Family Event:

St Pete Pier Ice Cream Festival

3rd Annual Tampa Bay Ice Cream Festival! July 21 at 11 a.m. at Spa Beach Park

Indulge in delectable ice cream this National Ice Cream Day at the St. Pete Pier. With 25 vendors, unique and classic ice cream flavors, live music and family-friendly activities, a day full of sweet treats and fun awaits.

Originally published in the July 2024 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.