Tampa is a great place to visit. There are elaborate tourist attractions that know how to put on a good show but we have other ways of having fun too. Whether it’s grabbing the latest deal or finding something to do that doesn’t cost a dime, Florida has it all. Here’s where to get the best deals in Tampa.
1. Florida Botanical Gardens
The Florida Botanical Gardens are a 100-acre garden featuring a Butterfly Garden, a Cactus and Succulent Garden, a Palm Garden, a Native Plant Garden among others. Stroll along at your leisure or bring your family for a guided tour along the Children’s Trail where Flora, the mascot, talks about the surrounding flora and wildlife. Open every day of the year, garden specimens are devoted to showcasing the unique tropical wildlife while incorporating art and water features. Also, pets are welcome so feel free to bring your furry friends! Admission is free and the gardens are open daily if the weather permits!
2. Manatee Viewing Center- Tampa Electric
Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center is located at the Big Ben Power Station in Apollo Beach. Their website explains that the discharge canal uses water from Tampa Bay to cool these stations where the water flows back into the canal, clean and warm and is also known as a federally designated manatee sanctuary that protects these gentle mammals from cold waters. Admission and parking are free, however, the sanctuary is only open from November 1 through April 15.
3. Sunsets at Pier 60
Sunsets at Pier 60 is a daily festival that promotes tourism to Pinellas County and Clearwater Beach that offers two of Florida’s most prized attractions: the sand and the sunset. Attend a sand sculpting class or watch professional sand sculptors compete against one another as they show off their speed and skill. Watch nightly street performers or, on Friday and Saturday evenings, grab an oversized blanket or low-laying chairs to enjoy a free outdoor movie. Bring your favorite snacks, movies begin at dusk so don’t be late! Admission is free, but souvenirs and food are available for purchase.
4. Tampa’s Riverwalk
Tampa’s Riverwalk is loaded with new things to try. Check out Riverfest, held during summertime, an event that includes a concert line-up, TacoFest, Taste of Riverwalk, and Tampa Bay Pride Band among many others. Check periodically because they host events at different times of the year. Last year they hosted an at-night lighted boat parade. This year they’re hosting a Trick or Treat event along with a Holiday Habor event, where guests can view Christmas lights along the harbor- all for free!
5. Lettuce Lake Conservation Park
Lettuce Lake is a park that offers playgrounds, barbeque grills, hiking trails, and a visitor center so guests can enjoy the great outdoors. Admission is a minimal $2 entrance fee per vehicle and covers up to eight people. Visitors can also rent kayaks or canoes for $25 for four hours. Want to minimize cost? Hike along the nature trails or take a nap by the water for that time away you always promise yourself.
6. Imagine Museum
The Imagine Museum in St. Pete offers a look into the human imagination. The exhibits feature pieces from the American Studio Glass Movement and a vast collection of glass sculptures from around the world dating from the 1960s to now. Admission is not free but is available for $15 for adults, $10 for college students with an I.D, and $10 for children aged 7-18. Younger children get in free. They also offer special discounts on Thursdays where you can get in for $5 after 5 pm.
7. The Alligator Attraction
The Alligator Attraction is a unique experience letting guests see the pride of Florida up close and personal. Dedicated to the conservation of Florida’s ecosystem, the Alligator Attraction even lets you symbolically adopt one of the animals (they have alligators, tortoises, frogs and iguanas available!) for a membership fee that helps support the park. General admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children. They even offer an enhanced experience where you can hold a small to large gator for $10-20 or a tarantula for an additional $5. Come experience the real Florida!
8. The Worlds Largest Food Truck Rally
The World Largest Food Truck rally is, you guessed it, the largest accumulation of food trucks in one place. This year marks the 10th anniversary for this event and features live music, adult beverages, market vendors, and of course, food! With over 200 food options from desserts to entrees, there is sure to be something for any palette and any diet! Admission is free, which means you get to try more food!
9. MOSI- Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry
MOSI is a great place to take the family for a day filled with fun learning. Adults can purchase tickets for just under $13 while children’s (3-12 years) tickets are just under $8. More like a scientific playground, MOSI offers over 100 hands-on exhibits that children and adults will enjoy. Explore the solar system with a MOSI astronomer as they guide you through the Saunders Planetarium or indulge your adventurous side with the 36-foot high Sky Trails Rope Course. Learn about NASA’s vision for living on worlds beyond Earth by learning how to cultivate your own lunar colony.
10. Sunken Gardens
The Sunken Gardens is a botanical paradise and is St. Petersburg’s oldest living museum because it houses some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. Parking is free, but admissions for adults cost $10 and $4 for children. Take a walk through the winding paths, rich in over 50,000 exotic plants or explore cascading waterfalls, or watch garden demonstrations. Sunken Gardens also provides guided tours and horticultural programs.