The Tampa Bay Area is one of Florida’s best kept secrets for families. There are so many great events and activities for parents and children throughout the entire year. When you call the Bay area home it’s hard to find a day when you can honestly say, ‘I’m bored’. We enjoy access to America’s best beaches, some of the most amazing aquariums, theme parks, zoos, and museums. The question isn’t ‘what should we do today?’ instead it’s ‘what should we do first?’ Here are our top 10 reasons to relocate to Tampa Bay:
Photo credit to my blogger friend Denise, a mom on the run at Run DMT
10.) The Beaches
Clearwater always ranks in the top 10 when it comes to beaches. Trip Advisor currently has Clearwater Beach as #1. When you need to relax and rejuvenate there isn’t a better place than our beaches. Clearwater Beach is kid friendly with snack stands, restaurants, parasailing, jet skiing, and more. When in doubt, you can always pack the family up for a day at the beach and everyone will leave sun tanned, worn out and happy.
“Tell me and I’ll forget, Teach me and I’ll remember, Involve me and I’ll learn.” ~ Ben Franklin. The Tampa Bay area is equipped with so many tools to help your child learn. Most of the time they won’t even realize they’re learning! Inspire their inner marine scientist with a trip to one of our famous aquariums. Choose from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or the Florida Aquarium. Here are two examples of ways to get your child excited about their day.
- A day or two before your planned trip make sure the kids have a chance to watch Dolphin Tale 1 and 2.
- Explain to them that they are about to meet Winter and Hope and they will have a chance to see how science saved Winter by giving her a tail.
- Give them time to explore the Clearwater Marine Aquarium website and make sure they visit the Kid Zone where they can play games and download coloring activities.
- Ask them to make 5 observations about Winter and Hope by using the webcam online.
- Visit the Aquarium and have them bring their observations so they can add to their list!
- After your visit, have them read about the careers associated with marine science.
- A day or two before your planned trip give your children a chance to watch Finding Nemo.
- Explain to them that they are about to see a real coral reef.
- Ask them to visit the website and find information about the sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
- Visit the Aquarium and have them make one or two observations about the animal and marine life they see.
8.) Theme Parks
There’s nothing like a great theme park to exert all of that pent up energy! You don’t have to drive to Orlando to have a great theme park experience. We have plenty of opportunities right here in the Bay area.
When you crave the most exciting day possible then look no further than Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The roller coasters are some of the fastest and most thrilling in the country, there’s a premier zoo, live shows, restaurants and we can’t forget North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower - Falcon’s Fury! The littlest guests will love making memories at Sesame Street Safari of Fun, Busch Gardens’ newest kid's area with kid-friendly rides, a 3-story net climb and cool water fun.
Summer’s here in the Bay area can be hot but you can cool off with a trip to Adventure Island. Kids and adults of all ages can enjoy 30 acres of pools, water-themed rides, and fun in the sun. Take the kids through a watery playground or fly down the slides. There’s something for everyone with more than a dozen attractions to explore and conquer. It’s a great way to get some exercise and stay cool!
At the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, families will find a theme park and a water park, complete with more than 50 shows, rides and attractions designed for ages 2-12. Kids can build, climb, play or relax in attractions including DUPLO-themed areas for toddlers to building areas that delight the biggest LEGO fans. Your tiny techie might enjoy building and program cutting-edge, computerized LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ robots!
Denise's daughter at MOSI - more at Run DMT
The culture of the Bay area would not be complete without mentioning our museums. The Tampa Bay area has so much to offer when it comes to art and history. In fact, it was recently named one of the top five most culturally diverse and integrated urban areas in the country by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here is a list of all the museums in the Tampa Bay area. There are also some wonderful children’s museums in the Bay area including the Glazier Children’s Museum and Great Explorations.
MOSI, a science museum located in Tampa, will give your family a fun-ducational day of more than 450 interactive exhibits on space and astronomy, technology, robotics, gaming and more.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in this part of the country. More than 800,000 people visit the zoo every year, earning it the coveted TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence five times (2010-2015). There are 24-acres to explore and they are divided into areas including Africa, Asia, Australia and Florida. You can get up close and personal with the African Elephant, Queensland Koala or the Florida Manatee. There are hundreds of animals, birds and reptiles to meet and learn about. There’s also a splash zone where you can cool off and relax after your amazing adventure. Attractions also include a carousel, a totally wild log ride, bumper boats, guided safari tours and a family-friendly mini roller coaster.
5.) Performing Arts
It’s important to expose your family to all kinds of arts… and the Performing Arts thrive in Tampa Bay.
Straz Center - The Straz Center brings popular Broadway shows touring the country to the Tampa Bay area. Check out the Broadway Family Nights which include free pre-show family-friendly activities, including Patel Conservatory dance, theater and music activities. There’s also a chance to get discounted tickets and post-show performer talk-backs.
Ruth Eckerd Hall - See traditional and innovative performances throughout the year including Broadway shows. Stomp, Mama Mia, Dirty Dancing and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer are all on the agenda this season!
Mahaffey Theatre - From orchestra performances to concerts and even Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood the Mahaffey Theatre welcomes all kinds of live events throughout the year.
These are just a few of the performing arts venues in the Tampa Bay area. Whatever sort of live entertainment you desire you are likely to find it here!
Denise's daughter at Gasparilla Children's Parade - more at Run DMT
When you live in the Bay area there is always something to celebrate! From pirate parades, to towering sandcastles and 5k’s you’ll find a lot of excitement almost every weekend. Here are a few of our most popular festivals.
Gasparilla Pirate Fest - Each January the keys of the city get handed over to Jose Gaspar and his band of pirates during the annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest. The weekend before the festival is designed just for kids with a Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza. Kids take over Bayshore in downtown Tampa with their own parade and festival activities. Gasparilla is a tradition in Tampa Bay - and you won’t want to be caught without a pirate costume!
Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival - Enjoy the famous Clearwater Beach sunsets each April during the annual Sugar Sand festival. The ten day event offers activities for all ages.The highlight of the celebration is a 21,000 square foot tent that’s filled with incredible sand creations made by world-class sculptors using sand right from Clearwater!
Shark Con - Shark Con is an ocean-focused comic con. If you love learning about the ocean than Shark Con is for you! The Florida Fairgrounds in Tampa transform into an entertainment and education hub as more than 80 vendors display all sorts of ways to explore the ocean. Exhibits include the Florida Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Sea World and more. The event swims into the Bay area each July.
These are just a very select few of the dozens of festivals each year. Click here for a more comprehensive list!
3.) Parks & Pools
Great cities have access to clean and safe parks and crisp refreshing pools. You’ll find all of those and more in Tampa Bay.
Click here for information about the parks and pools in Tampa.
Click here for information about the parks and pools in Pinellas County.
2.) Sporting Events & Concerts
We’ve got four major sports teams here in Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team is in the playoffs for the second year in a row. Lightning games are held in Amalie Arena when they play in Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are our local NFL team and play at Raymond James Stadium.
The Tampa Bay Rays play at Tropicana Field.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies professional soccer team will get you shouting, “Come on you Rowdies!” at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg.
It’s probably one of the most popular reasons people give for moving to the Bay area. We enjoy great weather in the state that is known for its “endless summer.” St. Petersburg holds the Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine. In 1967, the “Sunshine City” had 768 days of sunshine. It’s hard not to be happy when the skies are blue, the sun is bright and the people are some of the most welcoming you’ll ever meet.
Speaking of welcoming… The Shorecrest community is always excited to meet new and potential members of our community. We’d love to introduce you to our part of the Bay! Call our Admissions Office and speak to one of our friendly advisors right now. We’d love to schedule a tour for you and your family to see our beautiful 28-acre campus located along the Bay in St. Petersburg.