Tampa is a family-friendly city with lots to see and do. In fact, this abundance of activities and sights can often be overwhelming. Do take the time to plan your trip and resist the urge to cram too many experiences and sights into too short a period of time.
There are many resources available to help you plan your trip to Tampa. Use them, as they can save you a great deal of time and aggravation. Here are some organizations, online services (click on the blue text to see web sites), books and phone numbers to help you plan your trip:
** Tampa-Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Bureau-- This organization would be happy to send you free maps, brochures and seasonal planners for the Tampa area. (813) 223-2752 or (800) 44-TAMPA. www.gotampa.com
** City.Net Tampa, Florida --this is part of Excite's City.Net collection of city information.
**Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a 335 acre amusement park that features thril rides and 2,800 animals. It is divided into 9 different themed areas including Africa, zoo habitats and the world's largest roller coaster.
**The Florida Aquarium re-creates the wetlands, coral reefs, beaches and bays of the state. Visit thousands of animals in their natrural habitats. The interactive exhibits are entertaining and educational. The building is quite impressive made out of glass and steel.
Admission: Adults $13.95 Youth (13-18) $12.55 Children (3-12) $6.95
Hours: Daily 9am-6pm
**Lowry Park Zoological Garden is a natural habitat of more than 1,500 animals. Exhibits include Children's Village (petting area), Florida Wildlife Center, Asian Domain, Manatee and Aquatic Center, Primate World and Free-Flight Aviary.
**The Children's Museum features Saftey Village, a miniature city where kids can go to the supermarket, bank, television station and hospital. There are also indoor interactive mulit-cultural exhibits.
**Museum of Science and Technology (pronounced "mosey") features over 450 exhibits including health, the human body, science, industry, technology, flight and space and flight displays. It is the largest science museum in the Southeast United States. They also have an area for children under the age of 5.
The IMAX Theater and MOSIMAX, a wind tunnel to experience hurricane-force winds and the Challenger Learning Center, a space shuttle simulation are very popular.
The Tampa and St. Petersburg Visitors Bureau is offering great rates at 22 hotels! Rates begin at $89 per night and your choice of two multi-attraction tickets are only $20 per person.
The Tampa Adventure Passport- Admission to the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, the Museum of Science and Industry and the MOSIMAX Theater.
The St. Petersburg-Clearwater Cultural Passport- Admission to the Salvador Dali Museum, Great Explorations Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Clearwater Marine Science Center and the St. Petersburg Museum of History.
For more information on the hotel accomodations call (800) 425-8622.
The Tampa, What a Great Idea book is filled with coupons on Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, restaurants, shopping and rental cars.
To request the coupon book call (800) 826-8358 extension 75, write to Visitor Information, THCVA, 111 Madison Street, Suite 1010, Tampa , Florida 33602.
THCVA Web Site: www.thcva.com
Holiday Inn Tampa-Busch Gardens
2701 East Fowler Avenue
(800) HOLIDAY or (813) 971-4710
Holiday Inn Worldwide
This hotel is located near all of the kid-friendly attractions. They have an ice cream parlor in the lobby for great snacks. Kids stay and eat for free which makes this an even better deal for families. Suites are available and rates start at $85 per night.
Doubletree Guest Suites Busch Gardens
11310 North 30th Street
(800) 222-TREE or (813) 971-7690
This hotel is located just 1 mile from Busch Gardens. They give each guest freshly baked chocolate chip cookies upon arrival. The suites are great for families. Rates begin at $109.
Days Inn Busch Gardens Maingate
2901 East Busch Boulevard
(800)DAYS-INN or (813) 933-6471
This hotel is within walking distance to Busch Gardens. They offer discounts on area attraction tickets. Their newly renovated rooms will make families feel like they are home! Rooms start at $40.
Hyatt Regency Tampa
Two Tampa City Center
(800) 233-1234 or (813) 225-1234
Hyatt Regency Tampa, Tampa, Florida US
This hotel has a breathtaking two story cascading waterfall. They have a people mover that connects the hotel to Harbour Island Marketplace. It is located in downtown Tampa, right near the Florida Aquarium. Rooms start at $89 per night. Suites are also available.
Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa
3400 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, Florida 33706
"The Don" is a pink landmark that was built in 1928. It has had many famous guests. The kids program offers great activities to keep families happy. Adults will enjoy swimming with the state-of-the-art underwater music system. Suites are available.
5500 Gulf Boulevard
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
TradeWinds Resort on St. Pete Beach Florida
This resort offers the best of Tampa's beaches. They have a waterway for paddle boats and gondolas. TradeWinds KONK Club (Kids Only, No Kidding!)kids program offers activities for ages 3-6 and 7-12. Family suites are available and there are 3 restaurants including a Pizza Hut and ice-cream parlor.
Renissance Vinroy Resort
501 5th Avenue , NE
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
(800) 468-3571 or (813) 894-1000
This hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America. It offers guests a championship golf course, tennis complex, fitness facility, day spa, croquet, volleyball and marina for pleasure cruises and fishing excursions. There are five restaurants to satisfy even the fussiest eater. Rooms and suites are available.
Radisson Sandpiper Beach Resort
6000 Gulf Boulevard
St. Pete Beach, Florida 33706
(800) 333-3333 or (813) 360-5551
This resort is located on the beautiful beaches of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico. Beachfront cabanas are available for rent. They offer daily activities for kids ages 3-6 and 7-12. Babysitting services can also be arranged. Rates for rooms start at $115 and suites start at $157.
BERN'S STEAK HOUSE
1208 South Howard Ave.
Come and enjoy some of the best steaks in Florida. This is just the place to enjoy a quiet dinner for Mom and Dad or a great family outing. The kids will love the deserts-- so many yummy choices! Expensive.
2117 East 7th Ave.
This is a great place to bring the family for authentic Cuban fare. Come and see the flamenco dancers perform nightly. --It's a GREAT show! Open for lunch and dinner. Moderate.
3611 West Hillsborough Ave.
This restaurant has a great theme -- Their "motto" is "treat you like a dog"-- the food is served to you in dog food bowls. Kids will love it! They have great hamburgers and fries-a sure pleaser to everyone. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Inexpensive.
JIMMY MAC'S RESTAURANT
113 South Armenia Ave.
Are you in the mood for burgers? Then you've made an excellent choice! This place has over 20 varieties of burgers to choose from. Delicious!! Open for lunch and dinner daily. Inexpensive
Quality Hotel Airport Plaza
This pizza joint is so close to Busch Gardens, you can smell the pizza when you leave the park. Come on by and enjoy one the best pizza pies in Tampa-- Yum! Open for lunch and dinner Monday- Friday, Saturday for dinner. Inexpensive.
14904 N. Dale Mabry Highway
This is a great "family friendly" restaurant. Kids can express themselves in crayon right on the table. The food is great and the atmosphere is family oriented. It's described as "Warehouse Chic" -- Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.
** Consider purchasing the Entertainment book for Tampa. It is packed with 2-for-1 coupons on dining. Entertainment books are available from Entertainment Publications (800-374-4464).
** The Tampa-Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Bureau is a great resource for information. They can be reached at (800) 826-8358 or (813) 223-1111. Check out their web site THCVA Web Site THCVA Web Site: www.thcva.com
** Look for local newspapers that offer coupons to area attractions.