2024 is going to be huge in Tampa Bay with NEW rides, attractions, and experiences for families—and we are loving it! So, let’s dive in, friends. Here’s what’s on schedule to debut this year:
2024 is ZooTampa’s “Year of More”
So many new adventures are scheduled to debut at ZooTampa this year that they’ve decided to bill it as the “Year of More.” There’s a new exhibit opening this month along with a reimagination of a beloved area of the zoo! Here’s what you can expect:
Prehistoric Predators: January 13 through April
Go face to face with giant ferocious predators of the past like the dire wolf from the Ice Age and the allosaurus from the Mesozoic Age. As you wander through the outdoor exhibit, the animatronic animals will transport you back into the time when they roamed our planet. While teaching you about the important roles predators play in our ecosystem, they also show how these creatures of the past relate to species of today. Check out our sneak peek of Prehistoric Predators at ZooTampa!
Stingray Shores: Opening March 15 (new date)
We are so excited about this new interactive habitat that offers a chance to touch and feed stingrays. A new Signature Encounter experience allows you to immerse yourself in their aquatic worlds to connect with the stingrays like never before.
Australia: Opening Spring 2024
The construction fences at Wallaroo are about to come down with the opening of this completely re-imagined family area, which will include a new safari-type ride, Aussie Trek presented by Outback. And since the splash pad was always such a popular attraction in this area, it’ll be back and bigger than ever before along with a new dry play area. Connect with the wallabies with a new Signature Encounter. And, since snacks are always important, there will also be new food and beverage options too.
David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center expansion:
As one of only two critical care centers in the United States able to care for orphaned manatees, ZooTampa is expanding its capacity with the addition of two 16,500-gallon treatment areas for the direst (and smallest) patients.
NEW Exhibit at MOSI: a-MAZE-ing Butterflies
Opening January 24
You and the kids can step inside the world of butterflies at this new interactive, edutainment exhibit that will teach kids about these incredible creatures. a-MAZE-ing Butterflies will shrink you down to the size of a butterfly, and see the world through their eyes as kids run, jump, crawl, and play all while learning about the important role they play in our ecosystem. While you’re there, experience the new LIVEcycles Butterfly Garden outside and even grab lunch at the new Zydeco Brew Werks location at MOSI.
NEW Thrills and Experiences at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay:
NEW RIDE: Phoenix Rising
Coming this spring
This ALL-NEW family-friendly roller coaster will be the park’s 10th coaster. More recent additions like Iron Gwazi and Serengeti Flyer went after the titles that ended in -est…as in the steepest and fastest hybrid coaster in the world (Iron Gwazi) and world’s tallest and fastest of its kind (Serengeti Flyer), but Phoenix Rising is vying for the title of family favorite!
It’s going up in the Pantopia region and will be a suspended roller coaster, traveling at speeds up to 44 miles per hour throughout the 1,831-feet journey over the Serengeti Plain. We love that the minimum height requirement is only 42 inches, which means most families will be able to ride together. Other cool features include on-board audio with a one-of-a-kind soundtrack. We can’t wait!
If you want to be among the first to ride it, get your 2024 Annual Pass and experience “Phoenix Rising” before it opens to the public.
NEW SHOWS AND EXPERIENCES:
If you’ve visited the park lately, you’ve seen the construction fences up at Kangaloom, which is being completely renovated so families can have an even more interactive experience with the animals.
Two new shows also debut at Busch Gardens this year: Busch Gardens Animal Tales, a live animal presentation at Pantopia Theater, and a new ice-skating show.
NEW at Adventure Island: Castaway Falls
Opening in Spring
Just in time for spring break, Adventure Island will unveil an all-new, multi-level water play attraction, Castaway Falls! It’s part of the water park’s biggest expansion in its 40-plus-year history. This family-friendly attraction will have more than 100 play elements, four water slides, and three giant tipping buckets. It sounds like a perfect way to cool off on a hot Tampa Bay day!
NEW at Awesome Additions at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
LEGOLAND Florida Resort has been debuting new things to do each year and they’re continuing to bring on the awesome fun with a new exhibit and even a NEW SEALIFE-themed resort! Here is what they say they have in store for you:
NEW! LEGO Ferrari Build and Race
Coming Spring 2024
From your imagination to the racetrack, it’s race time at the new LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race Experience opening Spring 2024 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.
NEW! SEA LIFE Florida Resort
Coming Fall 2024
Discover the amazing wonders of the underwater world at SEA LIFE Florida Resort, an all-new aquarium opening this Fall 2024 at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. At this family-friendly aquarium, guests will marvel at a diverse range of marine life, interact with captivating exhibits, and embark on a voyage of oceanic exploration, ending in the ultimate final seascape—The Theme Park Under the Sea! Swim along with SEA LIFE with waves of updates on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube @SEALIFEFlorida!
NEW at Clearwater Marine Aquarium:
Winter’s Garden opened on Dec. 21, paying tribute to Winter the Dolphin’s legacy. Visit the garden to remember Winter’s spirit and how she inspired millions of people around the world. Because Winter’s Garden is just outside the front entrance, the public will also have access. It features a 10-foot-tall bronze statue of a dolphin called “Winter’s Dream,” which was created by artist Donjo. The garden’s dedication date was chosen to honor Winter because she was rescued in December, and also because Dec. 21 is the first day of Winter.
Winter the Dolphin passed away at 16 years old on Nov. 11, 2021, due to a gastrointestinal abnormality.
NEW VR Experience: “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.
NEW Exhibit at Glazer Children’s Museum: Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit
May 25 – September 8, 2024
Step into the pages of your favorite books by Eric Carle and experience them as an artist, reader, and character. This play-and-learn exhibit features activities inspired by five of Eric Carle’s classic books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle and The Very Busy Spider. Don’t forget to visit Big John, the world’s largest triceratops on display on the 3rd floor while you’re there!
NEW at The Florida Aquarium: The expansion continues
The Florida Aquarium is excited for what’s to come in the year ahead as it works to further enhance the experience for guests and to impact conservation efforts in our community and beyond. There will be added interactions with animal ambassadors along the Aquarium’s walkways, providing visitors with a close-up opportunity to learn more about our world’s unique creatures.
The Aquarium’s $45 million, multi-year expansion project kicked off with the opening of the MORPH’D gallery in July 2023, and the next phase begins in 2024—making way for the introduction of new species like puffins and California sea lions, as well as expanded penguin habitats and other galleries in the coming years.
At the Aquarium’s Apollo Beach conservation campus, a new 4,200 square-foot addition to the coral care complex will provide more space to expand biologists’ coral research and reproduction advancements to help restore the threatened species that are vital to the protection of Florida’s marine habitat and coastlines and support our state’s economy and tourism.
NEW PROFESSIONAL SOCCER TEAM: Tampa Bay Sun Kicks Off in August
The new Tampa Bay Sun women’s professional soccer team kicks off its first season this August! Watch for exciting milestones in the year ahead, including unveiling the team’s mascot, announcing the first-ever players, and revealing the jersey for the team. Season tickets go on sale later this year, but you can join the Sunchaser Club now with a season ticket deposit of just $24 at tampabaysunfc.com!