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Tampa Travel with Kids

Under 13 With more than interactive exhibits on topics including space, physics and robotics, MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) (4801 E. Fowler Ave.) has fun things for kids and adults alike. They can immerse themselves in space at the planetarium and the simulated moon base, and then tackle the ropes course.

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At ZooTampa at Lowry Park (1101 W. Sligh Ave.), do more than simply look at the animals. Stand eye level with giraffes and feed them lettuce. Touch the smooth back of a stingray as it glides past in a shallow pool. Sit in on some of the daily shows and learn about birds of prey, elephants, penguins and other animals from the zoo keepers.

Adventure Island (10001 N. McKinley Dr.) is a tropical-themed water park. Feel the excitement of the big slides, relax in the half-mile lazy river and play in children’s areas complete with waterfalls, slides and bridges.

Children will have fun learning at the 17 themed areas and during the daily programs at Glazer Children’s Museum (110 W. Gasparilla Plaza). While here, kids can soar through the skies of New York, San Francisco and Tampa in a biplane, become a firefighter and drive a truck at the scaled-down fire station, and take the journey of a water droplet that evaporates into the sky and trickles back down into an aquifer.

Teens A visit to the Tampa Museum of Art (120 W. Gasparilla Plaza) will add a bit of culture to your trip. The permanent collections feature Greek and Roman antiquities as well as modern and contemporary art with a focus on photography. After dusk the building itself becomes a piece of art when the facade of LEDs, designed by Leo Villareal, lights up in a random sequence.

Try one of the specialty pizzas at Eddie & Sams Pizza & Gelato Bar (203 E. Twiggs St.). The food is cooked with water imported from New York—said to give it that extra authenticity. Although delicious, save room for gelato.

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If shopping is what your teen is into, spend some time in Hyde Park Village (1602 W. Snow Ave.). This charming area has a delightful assortment of high-end and specialty shops as well as some great restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating. Enjoy the pleasant environment with a stroll through the butterfly garden, and check out the loading docks on Swann Avenue where local artists have painted murals.

What to Do for All Ages Have a wild time at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (3000 E. Busch Blvd.), Tampa's premiere thrill-ride destination. Ride the big coasters, such as Tigris, for a thrill. Then take a trip down Stanley Falls or through the Congo River Rapids to cool off. Animals are a delight on the Serengeti Railway; view these beautiful creatures from above on Skyway cable car. For the smaller ones in your group, Sesame Street Safari of Fun has rides and play areas that are perfectly sized. Check with a AAA Travel professional for available vacation packages.

Get an up close view of Florida’s marine life at The Florida Aquarium (701 Channelside Dr.). Visit the wetlands to see alligators, otters, great blue herons and roseate spoonbills. Travel farther south to the coral reef in Key West, and dive through the colorful ecosystems to a depth of 60 feet. Your journey’s not over yet! Cross the Atlantic, and go to Africa where you’ll spend time with black-footed penguins and ring-tailed lemurs.

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If you fancy a bit of baseball, catch a game during the New York Yankees Spring Training at George M. Steinbrenner Field (1 Steinbrenner Dr.). In the month of March the Yankees call Tampa home, and game day tickets are surprisingly affordable. Plan your trip well in advance though because tickets sell out quickly.

Learn about Tampa and how the city developed at the Tampa Bay History Center (801 Old Water St.). The museum covers topics such as Spanish explorers, Seminole and Miccosukee tribes, and the cigar industry in Ybor City. The second floor has several interactive elements for kids. Plan to get a bite to eat while here. The famous Columbia Restaurant , one of the most popular restaurants in Tampa,has a satellite location, Columbia Café, in the lobby.

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Tampa, FL

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Travel Information

City Population

352,957

Elevation

27 ft.

Sales Tax

Sales tax is 8.5 percent in Hillsborough and 7 percent in Pasco County. An accommodations tax is 6 percent in Hillsborough County and 4 percent in Pasco County.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(813) 231-6130; Sheriff (813) 247-8200

Fire (non-emergency)

(813) 274-7011

Hospitals

AdventHealth Carrollwood, (813) 932-2222; AdventHealth Tampa, (813) 971-6000; Memorial Hospital of Tampa, (813) 873-6400; Tampa General, (813) 844-7000.

Visitor Information

201 N. Franklin St., Suite 102 Tampa, FL 33602. Phone:(813)226-2752 or (800)448-2672

Air Travel

Commercial domestic and international flights entering Tampa land at Tampa International Airport (TPA). Several commercial airlines and private planes use St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE). Private and corporate planes have access to Albert Whitted Airport (SPG) in St. Petersburg and Peter O. Knight Airport (TPF) in Tampa.

Rental Cars

Hertz, which offers discounts to AAA members, is at the car rental center at Tampa International Airport, (813) 874-3232; St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, (727) 532-4801; and at St. Pete Beach, (727) 360-1631; or phone (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

Tampa's Amtrak station is at 601 N. Nebraska Ave. in downtown Tampa, behind historic Union Station. Daily service is offered; phone (813) 221-7600 or (800) 872-7245. Bus service to Union Station is available via HART routes 9, 12 and 400; phone (813) 254-4278.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc. is at 610 E. Polk St. in Tampa; phone (813) 229-2174.

Taxis

Major companies include United Cab Co., (813) 777-7777, and Yellow Cab Co., (813) 253-0121.

Public Transportation

HART serves Tampa and its immediate suburbs, including shopping malls and area attractions. Service also includes the TECO Line Streetcar System, which makes 11 stops along a 2.7-mile track between downtown Tampa and Ybor City. For HART bus and streetcar fares and schedules, phone (813) 254-4278.

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