34 kid-friendly activities to do within driving distance of Tampa Bay

What follows is a list of kid-friendly activities that’ll help you not only entertain junior, but yourself, too. We’ve arranged them by distance from Tampa International Airport, so make a plan and get the hell out of the house.—June Bunch

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Get Inspired at Glazer Children’s Museum
8 miles from Tampa International Airport
110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
"Play with purpose” and use your imaginations to climb, thrive, and create. It’s a controlled environment where your kids can “take on the world.” Admission runs $15 for adults, $13 for children under 12.
Photo via GlazerChildrensMuseum/Facebook

Get Inspired at Glazer Children’s Museum

8 miles from Tampa International Airport
110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
"Play with purpose” and use your imaginations to climb, thrive, and create. It’s a controlled environment where your kids can “take on the world.” Admission runs $15 for adults, $13 for children under 12.
Photo via GlazerChildrensMuseum/Facebook
Catch a classic at Tampa Theatre
8 miles from Tampa International Airport
11 N Franklin St., Tampa. Sunday and Thursday Showtimes at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The nonprofit hosts a classic movie series with nothing short of golden box office options. Watch your kids get mesmerized by the theater’s realistic star-lit ceiling, and see why the community kept this beloved 1926 theatre popping (get it, like popcorn?). Admission runs $10 per person. Doors open an hour before showtime.
Photo via Javi Ortiz

Catch a classic at Tampa Theatre

8 miles from Tampa International Airport
11 N Franklin St., Tampa. Sunday and Thursday Showtimes at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The nonprofit hosts a classic movie series with nothing short of golden box office options. Watch your kids get mesmerized by the theater’s realistic star-lit ceiling, and see why the community kept this beloved 1926 theatre popping (get it, like popcorn?). Admission runs $10 per person. Doors open an hour before showtime.
Photo via Javi Ortiz
Take on the Tampa Riverwalk
9 miles from Tampa International Airport
Begins near Tampa Bay History Center: 819 Water St., Tampa
Indulge in downtown's 2.6-mile waterfront walk along the Hillsborough River which spans from the History Center all the way to Armature Works, highlighting a cityscape with lit-up waterways and plenty of quality people-watching. The art along the path is sure to light up the eyes of the little ones. If you’re feeling adventurous,  add rollerskates to the mix.
Photo via Keir Magoulas/Visit Tampa Bay

Take on the Tampa Riverwalk

9 miles from Tampa International Airport
Begins near Tampa Bay History Center: 819 Water St., Tampa
Indulge in downtown's 2.6-mile waterfront walk along the Hillsborough River which spans from the History Center all the way to Armature Works, highlighting a cityscape with lit-up waterways and plenty of quality people-watching. The art along the path is sure to light up the eyes of the little ones. If you’re feeling adventurous, add rollerskates to the mix.
Photo via Keir Magoulas/Visit Tampa Bay
Rock your roar at ZooTampa
13 miles from Tampa International Airport
101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. Open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Meet a macaw, encounter a giraffe, witness a wallaby and simply fall in love with a lemur (because who wouldn’t?). Admission runs $42.95 for adults, $32.95 for children 3-11 and free for children 2 or under.
Photo via Visit Tampa Bay

Rock your roar at ZooTampa

13 miles from Tampa International Airport
101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. Open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Meet a macaw, encounter a giraffe, witness a wallaby and simply fall in love with a lemur (because who wouldn’t?). Admission runs $42.95 for adults, $32.95 for children 3-11 and free for children 2 or under.
Photo via Visit Tampa Bay
Get fired up at Busch Gardens
16 miles from Tampa International Airport
10165 McKinley Dr., Tampa.
Why limit fireworks to July 4? Get your adrenaline activated on roller coasters, then stay for sparks that fly nightly through Aug. 8, then every Friday-Sunday through Sept. 6, including Labor Day (so long as weather permits). Admission runs $114.99 (tip: buy an annual pass for the same price).
Photo via BGT PR

Get fired up at Busch Gardens

16 miles from Tampa International Airport
10165 McKinley Dr., Tampa.
Why limit fireworks to July 4? Get your adrenaline activated on roller coasters, then stay for sparks that fly nightly through Aug. 8, then every Friday-Sunday through Sept. 6, including Labor Day (so long as weather permits). Admission runs $114.99 (tip: buy an annual pass for the same price).
Photo via BGT PR

Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future.