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In the warm city of Tampa, Florida, United States outdoor activities are aplenty. From historic buildings to theme parks, from nature trails to white sand beaches and warm water, from picnic areas and sports recreation, from a rich history city to chill Saturday morning walks full of food trucks, there are a variety of free admission activities you and your whole family can do in this busy city to enjoy nature.
- Free active and fun things to do in Tampa
- Free cultural activities and things to do in Tampa
Free active and fun things to do in Tampa
Should you be in the Tampa area and in search of some cheap things to do and some outdoor entertainment, here are some of the options to make your stay in Tampa active and fun.
Busch Gardens Trip
A trip to Tampa’s Busch Gardens theme park is one of the best things you can do and it can provide a fun day in the sun and even in the winter months. Walking around the large park, guests can enjoy a daring roller coaster, like the newest addition Sheikra, which drops guests at a 90-degree angle from 200 feet. You can also view many of the exotic animals the park houses, like white tigers and hippos. Guests also have the chance to learn about different regions of the world, as each section of the park is decorated like an exotic location, including Egypt, Morocco, and the Congo.
Adventure Island Trip
To cool off on a hot day, head to Tampa’s Adventure Island water park. This small park boasts a large number of both thrilling and relaxing rides for guests to enjoy. Try out one of the swirling flume rides, have a thrill sliding down the over 200-foot Gulf Scream slide, or relax and float down the Rambling Bayou river ride. The park also offers a large wave pool to enjoy as you splash around the rolling waves.
Canoeing is another popular outdoor activity you can do in the Tampa area, as the area has a number of rivers. Head to the Hillsborough River State Park, rent a canoe and enjoy riding down the river for an hour-long tour. The Alafia River is another popular canoeing spot. The river runs more than 10 miles long and has a few areas where you can rent canoes along it and paddle for as long as you like, although about an hour is best for beginners. Rental spots for the Alafia can be found at Lithia Springs County Park and at the Bell Shoals Bridge, to name a few.
Historic Downtown Dade City – Take a Long Walk
Located in Pasco County about twenty minutes from downtown Tampa proper, Historic downtown Dade City features early 20th-century buildings which used to be apartments and everyday stores. Many of the buildings now contain antique shops (feel free to walk in and drool over the pricey and less expensive antiques) and family-owned restaurants. There is an old-fashioned Town Square looking very much like the scene in the play and movie “The Music Man”. It is often used for concerts. Of special architectural interest is the Pasco County Courthouse built in 1909. You can usually find free parking on the street or in a parking lot. This is good for about half a day unless you decide to splurge on lunch.
Tampa Bay’s Awesome Beaches
Indian Rocks Beach; Clearwater Beach; Madeira Beach; St Pete Beach; and Treasure Island to name a few. Tampa’s sandy shorelines are incredible. Here’s a parking tip: If you plan to spend all day, you may need to pay for parking. But, if you only want to stroll and tan for an hour or two, you may be able to find open parking at a hotel, motel, or restaurant located just a few feet from the beach where short parking is allowed. One more tip: If you do decide to buy food at the beach, don’t walk out from under the food stand’s roof or the birds will swoop down and they will be the ones getting a FREE meal!
In the Tampa bay area, you can stroll through Channelside, where the Florida Aquarium is located, and do lots of window shopping and people gazing. Or you can watch cruise ships come and go on the dockside. There are grand outdoor stairways and escalators with great views and lots of restaurants to peek into. On Friday and Saturday nights, you can sit and listen to FREE live music in the courtyard, or if you dare spend $2-3, you can get coffee or ice cream.
A fishing trip is another outdoor activity for family fun you can enjoy in the Tampa area. Head to the old Sunshine Skyway bridge, known now as the Skyway Fishing Pier, where you can park and set your reel right over the edge. At the pier, guests can catch a variety of fish, including sea bass, grouper, mackerel, and red snapper. Bring your own gear or rent some on the pier. You can also try your hand at deep-sea fishing by renting a boat and heading out with your gear or going on a guided tour to find a great spot. Tours and boats can be found all along Clearwater Beach.
Babe Ruth’s Longest Home Run Marker
A simple plaque reading “Babe’s Longest Homer” stands at the spot where Babe Ruth’s longest home run hit ended in Tampa, FL. This site is a must for any baseball lover, a small piece of baseball history, and one of many legends surrounding the larger-than-life Babe Ruth. Babe hit a 587-foot homer during a spring training game in his Boston Red Sox years. The marker is on the University of Tampa campus.
Billy Graham’s Origins
The late Billy Graham is known today as the spiritual adviser of several presidents. However, his beginnings were much more humble. Billy Graham started preaching on the streets of Tampa in 1939 in an area known as Tampa’s skid row. The neighbourhood has improved a bit but still isn’t one of the greatest in Tampa. However, those interested in seeing a piece of American and international Christian history shouldn’t miss the plaque denoting where Billy Graham’s worldwide crusade started.
Tampa’s Muffler Man
Some roadside attraction enthusiasts are particular fans of the nation’s muffler men. Muffler men are the oversize men advertising muffler sales across our great nation. Tampa was once home to two muffler men but now hosts only one. Whether you are new to the muffler man phenomenon or a connoisseur seeking to see as many as you possibly can in every city that you visit, Tampa’s lone-standing muffler man is worth a visit.
The World’s Largest Bowling Pin
A bowling alley in Tampa has what it claims is the world’s largest bowling pin. Those with a taste for the deliciously tacky will find that their journey ends with the bowling pin, as the associated bowling alley has an upscale flavour, including a dress code. Still, cruising by the world’s largest bowling pin costs nothing.
Fans of our nation’s imitation sauropods take note: Tampa is home to a large red dinosaur made entirely of trash – a great way to recycle. Standing outside of Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry, the large Tyrannosaurus Rex is an advertisement for the dinosaurs inside the museum. Snap a photo of yourself next to this giant creature made entirely of trash and add it to your collection of faux dinosaur photographs.
Free cultural activities and things to do in Tampa
Roadside attractions are popular tourist attractions either as the primary destination or as a side stop on a larger trip. Regardless of your reasons for wanting to pull over, Tampa has a variety of attractions that may catch your fancy. From historical footnotes to the strange and unusual, Tampa, Florida has roadside attractions that will appeal to almost anyone.
Tampa Bay is the perfect place to visit and do fun things, especially if you are interested in exploring its cultural side. Here are some fantastic local museums to visit while in the Tampa area:
Best Museum For Families of Young Children
The Glazer Children’s Museum located in downtown Tampa will keep your little ones busy for hours. This free museum welcomes little hands to touch and provides endless opportunities to use their imagination while participating in pretend play. The museum is best suited for toddlers and preschool-aged children although older children will find plenty to keep them busy. Currently, Target is hosting Free Tuesdays at the museum from 4pm-8pm.
Best Science Museum
The Museum of Science and Industry or MOSI is a hands-on interactive science centre located in the northern section of Tampa. The museum has more than 450 interactive exhibits and free events and is the largest science center in the Southeast United States. Although there is something for everyone, the museum is geared toward grade school students. Attached to the museum is an IMAX dome which offers a visual experience like no other. The museum also houses the Saunders Planetarium which provides family shows and adult programs.
Best Museum for Lovers of Art
The Tampa Museum of Art is located downtown and has revolving art exhibitions and a selection of ongoing fine art collections for viewing. Currently, the Hill Ward Henderson attorneys at law are sponsoring ìArt on the Houseî every Friday from 4pm – 8pm, where admission is free. Bank Atlantic is also sponsoring ìPay what you Willî every second Saturday of the month from 9am-11am.
Best Museum for Local Flavor
Ybor City Museum may be small, but it houses a great deal of historical information such as the unique role of Cuban immigration and the importance of the cigar industry to the Tampa Bay area. This local history museum is a cultural gem for local artists.
Best Surreal Experience
The Dali Museum was opened on 1/1/11 after relocating to a different location in St. Petersburg. The new museum still holds the treasures of the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali but is now in a building twice the side of the original. The collection is quite impressive on its own, but be sure to read the explanatory wall texts or take a tour so that none of Dali’s many treasures hidden within his paintings will be missed. It is worth a trip just to see the futuristic building – a $36 million dollar masterpiece.
Your family will truly enjoy visiting this great place we call Tampa and these are only some of the best free things of the many attractions in the Bay Region.