The city of Tampa, Florida is filled with so many incredible experiences. No matter what kind of vacation you desire, Tampa is the destination for you. Whether you are looking for heart-racing thrills at the top of a roller coaster or a relaxing kayak ride on a beautiful river, this city will provide you with the right amount of adventure and leisure. While visiting Tampa, we experienced the five following attractions which provided us with top thrills and relaxation at the same time, putting them on the top of our must-see list.
The Florida Aquarium
Since being established in 1995, the Florida Aquarium has become home to 7,000 plant and animal species. The aquarium has many exciting exhibits that allow you to experience various aquatic environments such as wetlands, bays and beaches, and the coral reef. The aquarium also offers a 4-D theater experience and a water play zone called the Splash Pad, included in admission!
The Florida Aquarium has a family friendly environment and a goal to educate every family member. Children and parents can both enjoy the various touch tanks that include sea urchins, starfish, and my personal favorite, stingrays. Highlights from our trip were the huge grouper fish, the scuba diver entertaining the children in one of the tanks, and the only fish I have ever seen that has human-like teeth!
Busch Gardens is a unique combination of an amusement park and zoo. The rides and roller coasters in this park are designed to satisfy everyone in the family, even the most dedicated coaster enthusiasts/thrill seekers. The zoo is spectacular and definitely a sight to see! It is one of the largest in North America and home to 12,000 animals from over 300 species.
Busch Gardens is one of the best amusement parks I have experienced so far. The best roller coasters such as Cheetah Hunt and Shikra provided us top thrills, while kids can enjoy the Sesame Street section with jungle gyms and kiddie coasters. We also rode the safari train which allowed us to enjoy up-close views of the safari animals and was free with admission!
Big Top Flea Market
Big Top Flea Market lies on more than 36-acres of land and has over 500 vendors! At this flea market, there is something for everyone. From the quirky items to everyday items, and even farm fresh produce. In the center of the Big Top is the concession area, which has great prices and delicious food to help you recharge while walking around the amazing booths.
There was so much to see and experience at this flea market, it took us more than a few hours to walk through the whole thing. Highlights from our trip were all of the live animals for sale such as puppies and bunnies and the dollar liquidation section which had thousands of items for sale for only a dollar. I made an impulse purchase upon finding a wireless charger for my cellphone, I was excited it was only $1! Big Top Flea Market will forever be one of my favorite flea markets.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
ZooTampa at Lowry Park opened to the public in 1988. The Zoo started out as a 24-acre facility and has now grown to over 56 acres of beautiful and exciting animal exhibits. ZooTampa at Lowry Park’s mission is not only to rescue and care for animals, but also to create experiences that bring people and the wildlife closer!
This is exactly what we experienced while visiting ZooTampa. During our visit, we were able to watch several up-close demonstrations with the animals. Our favorite being the orangutans feeding where we were able to get up close and personal with the family of orangutans during while they were being fed by the zookeeper. ZooTampa also offers paid animal encounters such as the Indian rhino feeding and a Koala photo encounter. ZooTampa is perfect if you’re looking for a family day trip with up-close animal experiences.
Lettuce Lake Park
Lettuce Lake Park is a 240-acre conservation park. This beautiful park features a boardwalk, conservation tower, exercise trail, and wooded picnic areas. Canoe and kayak rentals are available for more close-up views of nature and the Hillsborough River. There is a $2 admission fee per vehicle which is very cheap!
Walking along the boardwalk, we experienced wildlife such as alligators, turtles and many species of birds! The conservation tower was the biggest one we have seen! We are always in search of experiences with nature, even in a busy city like Tampa, Florida. Lettuce Lake Park allowed us to get away from the city and immerse ourselves in its beautiful nature
Experiencing these five attractions made our time in Tampa perfect. We were able to relax and enjoy nature, while also having the time of our lives on epic roller coasters. Tampa is a beautiful city with so many amazing things to do, it will always have a place in my heart. If you’re planning a trip to Florida, make sure to visit Tampa!
If you have any experiences in Tampa that you would like to share or any suggestions for fellow travelers visiting the city, leave a comment below!