Spring Time is here and this Mommy is jumping for joy! The weather is perfect in Tampa Bay (not too hot like summer) and there are lots of places within driving distance to take the kids on a Day Trip. I’m sure parents up north are a little envious of the great weather here… so take advantage of it! There are a ton of places to visit and some you can do in just a few hours. Here are a few ideas to get you started. If you don’t have enough time to do them all, I suggest writing each idea on a piece of paper, put them in a jar and let the kids pick the idea for the day. It’s a fun way to get them excited about Family Travel.
Day Trip 1- Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
If you have a little one who absolutely loves Mermaids like we do..then this is a great stop. It’s been around for decades and underwater Mermaids are still entertaining crowds young and old. There are two different Mermaid shows you can watch in a submerged 400-seat auditorium. You will see Mermaids displaying their beautiful moves in the crystal clear spring, but I must make one disclaimer just like the movie “The Little Mermaid” the show does have a evil sea witch that’s a little scary for the younger children. However, check the website to see the different shows and times. The Mermaid shows are definitely what you drive to see but there’s activities for everyone in the family. Make sure you pack bathing suits to enjoy Buccaneer Bay, there’s a kiddie pool, lazy river and some pretty big slides that drop you into the crystal clear waters of Weeki Wachee Springs. If you want more of an adventure, rent a kayak or canoe and take a 3-hour trip in the clear Weeki Wachee River where you can enjoy wildlife up close. If you live in Tampa, this trip is a little more than an hour away.
Day Trip 2- Dinosaur World
Get ready to hear your kids ROAR because this place is filled with life-sized dinosaurs. Kids can roam through the park checking out the dinosaurs. There are even Dino-themed playgrounds, interactive exhibits such as the Dino Gem Excavation and a fossil dig where kids can dig for items like shark teeth or Mosasaur (your kids will probably know better than you who this guy is) teeth. I really like that you can bring your own cooler and have a picnic with your kids at this attraction. Friendly dogs on leashes are also welcome. This is also a great place for kids to learn about dinosaurs. It even has a Prehistoric Museum that includes Animatronics. Yes, motion activated displays make dinosaurs come to life. And if you are looking for any dinosaur toys for your kids, this is definitely the place because there’s a 7,000 ft2 gift shop that has it all. This attraction in Plant City is only about 20-minutes from downtown Tampa.
Day Trip 3- Wilderness Safari
Wilderness Safari is a unique experience where you can take the kids on a Vehicle Safari to see over 450 animals from various parts of the world including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. If the Vehicle Safari isn’t adventurous enough, go on a Camel Expedition, Horseback Safari or even a Kayak Safari. Yes, you can kayak through freshwater areas while viewing the animals on land. You can even hand-feed lemurs on lemur island. Llama Lovers will enjoy taking Llama’s on a trek that will make you feel like your on the savanna. Safari Wilderness Ranch is not a zoo or theme park, but prices are similar to a theme park starting at about $90 dollars per person for the Vehicle Safari. Of course, going to Africa would cost you a lot more. Wilderness Safari is located in Lakeland and a little less than an hour drive from Tampa.
Day Trip 4-Bok Tower Gardens
If you need a beautiful place to just relax with the kids, then this is the place. Bok Tower Gardens has been around since 1929. It’s known for the 50-acres of beautiful landscaped gardens by the same guy who designed Central Park in Manhattan and its 205-foot art deco and neo-Gothic Singing Tower Carillon which still performs concerts daily. There’s even a Children’s garden. The Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden is designed to be a place for kids to learn through power of the natural world and experience art in a tactile, meaningful way. In Mommy terms it’s a fun adventurous garden where kids can explore nature and just be kids. Bok Tower Gardens is also the perfect place to picnic, you can bring blankets and baskets. It’s a place I still remember going to as a kid, so make memories with your kiddos by taking them to this hidden gem. A typical visit here takes about 4-hours. It’s located in Lake Wales which is a little more than an hour drive from downtown Tampa.