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Kayaking is one of the best ways to see the Florida landscape up close. At Kayak Nature Adventures, rent a single, double kayak or stand up paddleboard for a half or full day and leisurely explore the waterways. Bring a picnic lunch and stop at Clam Bayou Nature Preserve for a break. Find a perfect location and go snorkeling. Kayak Nature Adventures also offers a two-hour guided tour through the preserve during which you can learn about the area and its inhabitants. The tour is perfect for children, nature lovers, and photographers looking for the perfect picture of Florida's diverse environment. Hours of departure and locations for launching vary. Call for reservations. -Vickie Ferguson
Enjoy a relaxing day of horseback riding through winding trails at the family owned R & R Ranch. The two R's stand for rest and relaxation and that is what you can expect when visiting. Whether you are a beginner or experienced, there is something just for you at R & R. The ranch offers riding lessons, guided trail rides, and pony parties. Especially for kids is a choice of single day and multi-day camps with plenty of fun activities and educational training for horse and farm animal care. Boarding for horses is available. - Vickie Ferguson
A hub for outdoor activities, this Tampa park offers visitors the opportunity to hike, fish, kayak, and more. The little ones can let loose on the playground structure and the picnic tables and barbecue's are perfect for a summer gathering. A nature center informs visitors on the local flora and fauna along with the extensive hiking trail information.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park provides for a calm and serene space in a busy town. This recreation park is equipped with modern equipments like LED lighting, adjustable seating arrangement, NEOS 360 Ring featuring challenging games for kids and so forth. Also, the lighting and water supply for the park is done through reclaimed water, thereby conserving water and electricity. It also has playground, picnic area, a separate dog park and walking trail, thereby catering to the entire family. All in all, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is an ideal space to spend a lazy afternoon.
Tired of the usual dinner and a movie date? Try your hand at something new and take your significant other or group of friends for a night of painting. Painting With a Twist offers patrons a unique atmosphere where they can partake in an art lesson, with paint and canvas provided, while sipping and snacking on food and beverages brought from home. Far from the usual date or girls night activity, this is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is sprawled over 56 acres (22.7 hectares). It boasts of a dual distinction of being Tampa's oldest zoo as well as one of the most kid-friendly attractions in the city. Its fauna are sheltered in eight habitat zones that recreate the natural environment of the wildlife. These include the Wallaroo Station for Australian species, the Asian Gardens and Sulawesi Aviary for giant cats, and the Florida Boardwalk for native animals. Its rehabilitation and preservation programs extend well beyond the efforts of a typical zoo. Its most notable initiative is the hospital, Manatee and Aquatic Center. After an engaging day with animals, kids can delight in safari tours, bumper boats, roller coasters and pony rides. Its traveling exhibits and talk shows educate the public on environmental conservation. This venue is also ideal for camps and sleepovers. Celebrate a birthday party, business event or a wedding in style amidst wildlife.
At Dunedin Lanes, there is something for everyone when it comes to bowling from tournaments and leagues to youth bowling and teen nights. Enjoy DJ cosmic bowling every Friday and Saturday night with the lanes fantastic sound and lighting system to keep you rolling along. Take a break and enjoy quality food at the Chatterbox Restaurant or take part in karaoke competitions along with the everyday happy hour selections until 6pm in the lounge. Whether stopping in for a leisurely game or planning a bowling birthday party for the kids, Dunedin Lanes has plenty of atmosphere with 24 lanes equipped with speedy and easy computerized scoring and provides children's bumpers on every lane. - Vickie Ferguson
The Florida Aquarium gives visitors an all-access pass to the mysteries of the deep. Observe seahorses, lobsters, colorful fish, moray eels, gators, river otters, Australian sea dragons and many more. If you're feeling truly adventurous, take advantage of the “Swim with the Fishes” or “Dive with the Sharks” programs (advance reservations required). Kids will love the wide range of colorful and fun-filled interactive displays. The aquarium also sponsors ecotours aboard a 64-foot catamaran, affording patrons an opportunity to get even more up-close-and-personal with the sea. See website for complete list of attractions, calendar of events and more.
Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. They are home to over 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species, most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. Their dual mission is to provide the best home they can for the cats in their care and educate the public about the plight of these majestic animals, both in captivity and in the wild, to end abuse and avoid extinction.
Seeking the refuge of the warm canal waters near the old Big Bend Power Station, manatees were seen flocking to this area. From this, the Manatee Viewing Center was born and has since been designated a habitat sanctuary for these peaceful creatures. The onsite educational center features colorful displays and exhibits along with a hurricane simulator. A butterfly garden encapsulating the centers solar panels rounds out this ecologically and environmentally friendly tourist attraction.
Located in downtown Tampa across the river from the University of Tampa and near Riverwalk, the Glazer Children's Museum provides plenty of fun and entertainment for children. The museum offers a full range of games, workshops and interactive exhibits. Craft activities, story time, parades, and fun fitness and aerobics are just a few of the daily programs accessible to children. Monthly events are scheduled with special themes, guests, face painting, demonstrations and exhibits designed just for kids. Food, snacks and beverages are available at the Tiny Bites Café.
At Busch Gardens, animals roam free and you are the outsider. You can see the park by monorail, cable car or train. Roller coasters, wild animals, entertaining shows, rides, food, shopping, sightseeing, bird shows, exotic flowers, train rides, Serengeti adventures, river rapids...the list goes merrily on. Wear comfy walking shoes and spend the day at this 300-acre park. You can even taste the Anheuser Busch brew that started it all. Busch Gardens is open year-round with varying schedules. Call or see website for details.