Discover places to go in Florida using this category, including itineraries for city visits, tips for kid-friendly destinations and restaurants to try. Learn about things to do in cities in Florida, including Tampa, Orlando and Clearwater.
When flying from Omaha to the Orlando area, you’re faced with an overwhelming assortment of hotel options. Deciding where to stay depends on your priorities (theme park junkie? adventure-seeking? part-time beach bum ?)
We recently flew into the Sanford Orlando International Airport via a direct flight from Omaha with Allegiant. It was going to be a quick weekend Florida getaway. We needed a centrally-located hotel that could make it easy for us to get to attractions like the Central Florida Zoo and airboat rides at Black Hammock, as well as a quick hop onto the interstate to get to a beach.
Knowing our priorities (along with acknowledging a lot of visiting families want proximity to major theme parks in Orlando), Seminole County suggested we stay at the Hilton Altamonte Springs.
About the Hilton
The location was convenient and within a mile of Interstate 4. It was also near many dining options, a movie theater, shops and, for the parent who needs it, a wine store.
It also had an outdoor pool and hot tub – a major plus for my kids, as well as a couple dining options for the family.
Like your coffee? They serve Starbucks there. The same counter has a grill, or if you need a cold treat, there’s an ice cream case full of tasty offerings.
We tried out the breakfast buffet one morning. If you’re a Hilton Honors member, the buffet is included with your stay each morning (or a reduced cost entree from the menu).
Hiltons are known for comfort and the one in Altamonte Springs was pretty comfortable.
Nothing beats a Hilton pillow. And the beds were the most crisply made beds I’ve ever encountered – they don’t get more tucked in than the do there.
Another bonus for us were the blackout curtains, which helped our kids get a full night’s sleep without the Florida sun waking them early.
Everyone we encountered at the Hilton was friendly. We arrived very late on our first night and the evening clerk was prompt and cheerful.
We were warmly greeted by housekeeping, restaurant staff, and front desk clerks. A special shout out to Keith, who took the time to read my Florida bucket list post and left us a local’s guide to checking off some of it – including brochures, restaurant suggestions and a couple oranges. It was very thoughtful and helpful!
All my kids are about is the pool at a hotel. If they had their way, it’d be the only thing we visit while on vacation.
The Hilton’s pool stays open until 10 p.m. We swam before dinner one night (you could get takeout and have it at one of the tables on the pool deck). We had the pool and hot tub to ourselves for most of our swim.
The only downside to the pool area was the steady hum of the interstate. While I count the hotel’s proximity to it as being a perk for getting around, there’s no escaping the sound of it, even with high privacy walls.
The kids never noticed. It’s only if you’re trying to unwind in the glorious hot tub and you were seeking some quiet time do you notice it. But, if you’re reading this, you’re a parent and you never get quiet time.
If you go
Hilton Altamonte Springs
Where: 350 Northlake Blvd., Altamonte Springs, Florida
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens offers a relaxed kid-centric outing to families visiting the Orlando area. Located about 20 miles north of Orlando in Sanford, Florida, the zoo is smaller than what we’re used to in Omaha, but offers some hands-on and fun activities we don’t have.
We visited during a recent weekend getaway hosted by Seminole County, Florida. As luck would have it, Allegiant just started a new direct flight to the area, so this adventure makes sense to share with you guys. This zoo is pretty close to the Orlando Sanford International Airport!
Central Florida Zoo Highlights
By far, the runaway hit of this zoo is actually located just outside its main gates: ZOOm Air Adventure Park. UPDATE: The adventure course has a new name – Seminole Aerial Adventures.
My kids and I got a chance to try out the adventure ropes and zip line courses during our visit. It was challenging but fun for all of us.
One animal encounter at the Central Florida Zoo that we haven’t tried at our home zoo is the daily giraffe feedings. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can try to feed one of the male giraffes there (for $5 for the food). I write “try to” because when we visited, the big guys weren’t motivated to move much, least of all by the food kids were trying to offer them.
They also offer Rhino Encounters on the weekends, something I think we’ll do the next time we’re visiting!
The Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground was a large play area right near the entrance.
It would’ve been wonderful to cool off after ZOOm Air with a run through the splash ground, but I’d forgotten to bring along swimsuit. My friend, Marisa (AKA @tampamama) had warned me to always, ALWAYS pack swimsuits when visiting attractions in Florida, every place seems to have a splash ground.
Guess I’ll never learn.
There’s also a children’s garden, which was less about animals and more about nature.
Don’t skip the cute area of the zoo dedicated to domestic animals like goats.
At the Barnyard Buddies Children’s Zoo, you can spend a couple dollars for a large amount of food to feed the goats, and my favorite, the llama.
Feedings at the barnyard start at 11 a.m.
Since my kids are still pretty young, they wanted to ride the train. If you’re long-legged, I’m sorry, this ride is not going to be comfortable.
It doesn’t matter where a little train goes, it’s always a big deal. Throw in a tunnel and kids lose their minds. (FYI, the train does not go through the zoo, and you’ll see no zoo animals – just cutouts).
The playground at the zoo, KaBOOM! Playground, was a big hit with my kids – it never fails… I have to tear them away from a playground wherever we go just so we can see what we actually came to see – animals!
There’s also a carousel that your kids will try to talk you into, and depending on the season, other add-on activities like WOW Balls and Bungee Jump. They weren’t in operation when we visited in early November.
Another seasonal offer is camel rides.
Regular activities at the zoo
Weekend & Holiday Show Schedule when we were there. Double check before you go to see if the schedule has changed:
Keeper Chats & Demonstrations: Every Saturday, Sunday and Holiday (weather permitting)
10:30 a.m. Rhino*
11 a.m. Cheetah*
11:30 p.m. Flying High!
Noon Venom! outside Herpetarium at the Tiffany and Charles Davis Animal Showcase
1:30 p.m. Wild Tales! at Magpie Jay Stage
2:30 p.m. Giraffe*
3 p.m. Lemur*
3:30 p.m. Snake or Alligator/Crocodile Feeding
*Meet the Keeper
More things kids will like at the zoo
It was a good size zoo for our kids, who were both under 6. It was small enough that we could get away with not having a wagon to cart the kids around.
There were a lot of stealth animal encounters if you look for them. We found one volunteer sitting on a bench with snake. He had a lot of interesting facts for the kids.
We also caught the cheetah feedings on accident. Don’t ask what kind of meat they were feeding them (OK, ask, I’ll tell you).
With just over 200 species in the zoo, you could breeze through things in a morning. The zoo does not allow outside food, so if you are there around meal time, there are concession stands offering the typical zoo fare.
Or you can do what we did and head to the charming downtown Sanford for lunch. I recommend lunch at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe (even if you think you don’t like German food, you’ll like this German food).
I knew I loved German beer but I didn’t think I was a fan of the food until Hollerbach’s. Everyone said I should go to this restaurant, and I’m glad we did.
It was a busy place, but we were still promptly seated outside. The menu is large, the food is heavy and not exactly vegetarian friendly. I ordered off the lunch menu and got a manageable portion of wiener schnitzel with a side of Heaven & Earth Potatoes and red cabbage.
Do not miss out on those potatoes. So good.
The kids each got a kinder plate of sausage.
The fresh fruit was a nice touch, but it couldn’t compete with gummi bears.
For dessert, we split German chocolate cake. It was a huge slice, and more than enough for four people after eating a big lunch. I recommend getting the cake, but share that big boy.
Don’t skip this place. They have live music on the weekends, as well as soccer breakfasts.
If you go
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Where: 3755 Highway 17-92 (Exit 104 off I-4), Sanford, Fla.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Cost: $19.50, adults; $15.95, seniors 60+; $13.75, children (3-12); FREE, children 2 and younger.
How to get a 50% off discount: If you’re a member of your local zoo, you may qualify for 50% off admission – Omaha Zoo & Aquarium members do! Get the current list of zoos that participate here or learn more about how the reciprocity program works in this post.
How much time you’ll be there: 2 to 3 hours at the zoo, longer if you eat lunch there and your kids play in the splash garden. Add at least an hour to your visit if you plan on doing ZoomAir Tree Adventure.
Update: March 18, 2019. Since our visit, ZOOm Air is now called CFZ Seminole Aerial Adventures, but it looks to still be run under the ZOOm Air umbrella.
We’re an outdoorsy kind of family, and I’d like to think we’re up for most adventures… that can accommodate young kids.
The idea of trying out a ropes course with zip lines was one of the first things that caught my attention when researching family-friendly things to do on our upcoming trip to Seminole County, Florida.
And I found one that was suitable for even my youngest child!
ZOOmAirTreetop Adventure Park has two locations in Florida – one in Daytona and one in Sanford, just outside the Central Florida Zoo. I’ve never found a zip line outfitter that offered courses suitable for children young as 4 until ZOOMAIR. I was so excited for us to try it out.
I’m glad we did!
It was one of the highlights of our whole trip, and I recommend giving it a shot if you’re not afraid of heights.
What to expect – Kids Course
Children who are 5 and older (between 36 inches and 60 inches tall) can do the children’s course. They are fitted into harnesses and provided instructions on clipping themselves on to the safety ropes.
The kids Upland Course is never gets higher than 4 feet above the ground ground, but does provide a challenge and a thrill of adventure. Farley likened the experience to being on “American Ninja.” It ends like the adults’ course, with a zip line (but much lower to the ground).
A guide walks with kids on the Kids Upland Course, while a parent stays on the ground. Safety is a priority and even a 5-year-old can understand having one clip on a rope at all times. The kids’ guide, Maggie, was very patient.
It was a challenge for our younger daughter and while she struggled to get through each obstacle, our nearly 6-year-old cruised along. She’s an agile girl, and was determined to keep up with her big brother – and she did.
The end of the first course includes a zip line. Farley got to do the zip line several times while Mooch finished the course.
Older kids have the option of continuing on to the Kids Jungle, which is a little higher above ground and more challenging. The guide stays on the ground with the parent along the course. I stayed with Farley so he could continue on while Mooch and Mr. Wonderful went to the zoo.
When they complete their course, they’re rewarded with a little candy and a bumper sticker.
Note: Adults, for some reason, do not get candy after completing their course. Hmph.
What to expect – Adults Course
Before you begin your course, you’re fitted into a harness and walked through a practice course so you can get the hang of clipping yourself on to the safety ropes and how to do a zip line without injuring yourself.
You’re also advised that you get three warnings and if you break a rule (horse around, forget to clip yourself in, etc.), then you’re kicked off the course. You also are warned that if you get stuck and have to be helped out of a bind, you’re done for the day.
Since it was just me on the course, I was a dutiful rule follower.
I did the Upland Course, which took about 45 minutes to complete (they recommend estimating an hour and a half, especially if there are more people on the course). You do need some coordination and balance walking along, but it’s still something any beginner could do. It was very physical, which was welcoming since I fully intended to eat way too much at lunch.
Most of the course is a series of ropes obstacles and a bit of climbing. If you’re afraid of heights, it’s not for you.
The experience was thrilling and made me feel like I was reliving childhood again, only this time it was like I was for real on “Swiss Family Robinson.”
The end of the first course is a fast zip line back to ground, where you can either continue to the more challenging Rainforest Course (if you purchased that option), or you return your gear and go on with your day. The Rainforest Course has more zip lines.
Other details about the course
– We arrived just about an hour after the location opened (opens at 9 a.m.) and we were able to get started right away. No one else was on the course with us at that time and it was awesome. I’m told during the busy season (around Thanksgiving to Christmas especially), you can expect a longer waits to get started and to progress through the course if you’re not there first thing in the morning.
– You need to buy your ZOOmAir passes at the ticket booth for the zoo. Walk past the ticket booth and follow the signs to the Harness House.
– You’ll fill out waivers for everyone and hand over ID. If you want your ID back, you need to remember to return your harness and gloves.
– Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes. Athletic shoes are a smart idea. Farley had slip-on shoes and he had to double up socks to be sure they wouldn’t fall off.
– This is located just outside the Central Florida Zoo, sharing the same parking lot and ticket booth. If you’re going here with kids, might as well make a day of it and visit the zoo.
If you go
Zip lining at the Central Florida Zoo
Where: Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 3755 Highway 17-92 (Exit 104 off I-4), Sanford, Florida
Hours: Open every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, at 9 a.m. Last admission for Upland & Rainforest combo admissions at Zoom Air Orlando is between 2:30 and 3 p.m.
Cost: Kids’ Course (must be 36”-60” tall and at least 5 years old) $15.75 plus tax; add a second round on Kids’ Course, $12.95 plus tax; Upland (must be over 54” tall), $35.95 plus tax; add all of Rainforest after Upland, add $12; Upland and Rainforest full combo is $45.95
Seminole County, Florida, asks visitors to explore the wild side of Florida, to discover Orlando’s natural oasis. Challenge accepted. I started planning out the adventure with the help of this Central Florida Bucket List.
Our two-and-a-half-day trip to the north Orlando area included seeing an alligator while canoeing, zip line courses for the whole family, a sunset airboat tour and a quick trip to coast to play at Cocoa Beach. I’m writing about it because Allegiant now offers a direct flight to an airport that puts you in the middle of it all.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small payment if you purchase something after clicking the referral link.
Where to stay in Central Florida
Our trip was hosted by Seminole County, and knowing my family wanted adventures both on water and land, they suggested a centrally-located hotel that was affordable (and near theme parks, should we choose to visit…er, next time, kids).
We stayed at the Hilton-Altamonte Springs, a beautiful hotel near familiar chains and close to the interstate we’d use to get everywhere – I-4. I’ll share more about the hotel in a future post, but for traveling families – yes, there’s an outdoor pool (the only hotel amenity important to my kids).
It’s approximately 20 miles from Orlando Sanford International Airport, which is a direct flight from Omaha on Allegiant. Check out my post on what to expect when flying this route – I include helpful tips for making it a smooth experience with kids!
Search for the most family-friendly hotels near Orlando on TripAdvisor!
Trying a zip line course in Florida
On our first day, we headed to the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford. ZOOMAIR Treetop Adventure Park Orlando (now called Seminole Aerial Adventures) is located at the zoo (since this post was published, the zip line course has changed its name to Seminole Adventures. Our plan was to try the ropes and zip line course first, then go to the zoo.
While the kids tackled their age-appropriate course with the help of the wonderful Maggie from ZOOMAIR and Mr. Wonderful , I tried out the more challenging course. It was not too easy, but also manageable for any first-timer.
Both kids did great on the smaller course, and our nearly 6-year-old went on to try the more difficult kids course after conquering the easy one. He said it was like being on “American Ninja.”
(I agree. I loved the physical challenge of this activity.)
Mooch had a harder time, being only 4, but was proud of herself for finishing. Expect at least an hour for the kids to get through their ropes course. If you do a course, you can get through the first one in 45 minutes, and if you add on the rain forest course, you’ll double that, at least.
Visiting the Central Florida Zoo
After our zip line adventure, we checked out the zoo. This small zoo covers about 116 acres and is great for little ones. Bring a swimsuit so kids can cool off at the splash garden (which will be refreshing after the adventure on the zip lines). I forgot and was reminded repeatedly.
There are hands-on experiences there that kids will like – mostly feeding animals and enrichment encounters. There are extras like a carousel and train ride, as well.
After our zoo and zip line adventure, we headed to charming downtown Sanford to have lunch at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café.
The German food was so good, and the beer was even better.
If you manage to save a little room, try the German chocolate cake there – we split it between the four of us and couldn’t finish it.
Beach & air boat tour in Central Florida
Our second day was going to be all about water. But first, breakfast.
We made the short drive to Winter Park to grab some pastries at Croissant Gourmet – which we enjoyed in the cute park before strolling through the farmers market.
Breakfast Part II was a breakfast quesadilla from a the Tastebuds food truck at the Winter Park Farmers Market, and citrus fruit samples.
It’s fun to check out farmers markets when traveling – we don’t have avocados or oranges at the Omaha ones.
We met friends at Cocoa Beach at around noon – the drive was about an hour (beware of the tolls). I don’t regret the drive – the kids could’ve played in the water all day.
Little tip from my Florida friends: Shephard’s Park is a convenient spot to park at Cocoa Beach but also the most expensive ($15). Found that out the hard way. Go toward the Cocoa Beach Pier for meter parking or head farther south for cheaper or free parking at city and county park entrances to the beach.
The good thing about the location is that there is a place to change, bathrooms, a shower to rinse off and a lifeguard.
And it wasn’t crowded.
We didn’t pack a lunch for our time at Shephard’s Park, so our friends suggested we try the Cuban sandwiches at Seven Eleven across the street. Don’t knock it ‘til you try them. They hit the spot.
After the beach, the kids were surprisingly still awake so we decided to check off an item off my Florida bucket list – an airboat ride.
We arrived at Black Hammock in time for their final 30-minute tour of the day, timing it perfectly to catch a gorgeous sunset.
The kids loved the ride (so did the adults).
Unfortunately, our boat got stuck after stopping to look at cows. So what would’ve been a lovely sunset ride ended in darkness. Our funny captain swore it’s only happened to him two other times in all his rides.
The kids forgot about it after they each got to hold a baby alligator afterward.
Black Hammock also has a few cages to see alligators and parrots, and an awesome tiki bar. There’s a restaurant on site serving up gator.
The kids tried the gator bites with Cajun flavor and loved them.
We ended our late night with some ice cream and gelatti at Jeremiah’s – a frozen treat chain offering ice cream and Italian ice, and the combo of laying ice cream and Italian ice called gelatti.
Canoeing at Wekiva Island in Florida
Adventures on our water carried over to our last day. We went to Wekiva Island to rent a canoe so we could paddle roughly one mile to Wekiwa Springs State Park. The route was gorgeous and not challenging if you’re familiar with paddling.
You’ll spot lots of birds along the way, and with luck, other wildlife like an alligator.
You can paddle about 30 minutes to Wekiva Springs or take a four-hour round trip to Rock Springs. We were short on time and went to Wekiva where sadly, we only got to pause and watch others swim. We’ll definitely return to take a dip.
We finished canoeing in time to grab lunch on the run, fill up our rental car and head for the airport to fly home. Yes, we were a stinky mess on the plane.
Kid-friendly restaurants in Central Florida
– Breakfast: During our trip, we had breakfast at the Hilton Altamonte Springs (a buffet that’s complimentary for Hilton Honors members), pastries at Croissant Gourmet in Winter Park (try the pain au chocolat), hearty breakfast quesadillas at the Tastebuds food truck at the Winter Park Farmers Market, and a filling breakfast at Keke’s Breakfast Café (there are several locations; we went to the Altamonte location on the way to Wekiva Island).
– Lunch: We enjoyed lunch outdoors at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café in Sanford. The other lunches were on the go, courtesy McDonalds (hey, we were running late to the airport after canoeing), and Seven Eleven (you do what you gotta do at the beach).
– Dinner: We enjoyed take out pizza from Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Altamonte Springs and it was delicious. We also tried several variations of alligator during dinner at Black Hammock Restaurant in Oviedo.
– Snacks: Our visit to the Central Florida Zoo involved some snacking at one of the concession stands (usual fare, Dip ‘n Dots, chips, etc), kettle caramel corn from the Winter Park Farmers Market, and ice cream and gelatti at Jeremiah’s.
Omaha is about to get another direct flight to a prime vacation destination courtesy Allegiant: Orlando (or rather Sanford International Airport, located just north of the city). Just a few hours – no layovers – and you’re in Florida. There’s no better area to explore than Central Florida and the Orlando area! Check out my Central Florida Bucket List for fun things to do near Orlando.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, by making a purchase through one of the links, I receive a very small payment for referring you.
That’s a tempting destination, right? You’re not far from some of the most exciting theme parks in the country, AND about an hour’s drive from the beach. Get a guidebook like this one for more ideas of great Florida attractions!
After the announcement of the flight was made, it got me daydreaming. If you remember, when Allegiant started flying to the Tampa Bay area, they invited my family to try out the route and we had a whirlwind of an amazing adventure.
Guess what? Allegiant asked if I wanted to try the new route with my family so that Omaha readers could hear about the experience!
So time to start planning, right?? Here’s my bucket list of the Central Florida area, if time and money were not constraints. It goes beyond Orlando and the obvious choices of theme parks – they’re there too – and it includes the closest beaches along the Space Coast.
Central Florida Bucket List
Airboat Tour – Never done one of these in my multiple visits to Florida over the years. I’m hoping to change that. Most operators say kids can safely ride on these too, so the whole family can come along.
See Manatees – If it sounds like I’m repeating myself, it’s because I am (they graced this Tampa Bay bucket list too). I still haven’t seen one. My trips never time out right for prime viewing time. I read somewhere that Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on the coast has Black Point Wildlife Drive with a chance to look for the sea cows at Haulover Canal.
Beach Please – I live in the middle of the Midwest. If I’m within 100 miles of a beach, I shall seek it out. I have my eyes on either Daytona Beach or Cocoa Beach, but I’m not picky. What I’d really love to find is a great hotel with beach access. Suggestions?
If you have inquisitive kids, and want to be prepared for their questions about the things you find on the beach, make sure you have a beachcombers guide to Florida’s beaches, because you’ll encounter some doozies.
Ziplines – I haven’t been on a zipline for years, not since my glorious 20s while I was in Costa Rica. It seems Central Florida has a couple different places offering a speedy zip through the trees, but the most interesting location has to be a zoo – Central Florida Zoo. There, you can find ZOOMAIR Treetop Adventure Park.
Animal Kingdom – I’ve never been to this theme park, though I’ve been to the other biggies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s on a side bucket list to take the kids to the Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and all those others, but since this is my list, I want to put a place I’ve never been to.
Fresh orange juice – Is it a thing to want this? Can you go to an orange grove and get the most freshly squeezed orange juice ever known to man? I don’t know if there are even groves in this part of Florida, but I’ll just put this on the list regardless.
Kayak in a zoo – Seems like a strangely specific item to have on a list, right? Turns out, the Brevard Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. that offers kayaking on the grounds. How cool would that be?
Canoe Wekiva – I’ve seen countless pictures of the pristine Wekiva River and it looks gorgeous. The State Canoe Trail winds through a semi-tropical forest, and the water is jewel-toned.
I also heard there are guided tours through picturesque Shingle Creek, the headwaters of the Everglades, offered by two Orlando hotels, the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott at Grand Lakes. In addition to paddling at Wekiva, I’ve seen gorgeous pictures of people swimming at Wekiva Springs. I want to go there, too. If you’re into exploring Florida waterways, definitely check out this water trail guide for Florida!
See a launch – This would require some luck and better timing, but someday, I’d love to be near Cape Canaveral on a launch day. When the kids are a little older, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be a destination. If you want to read up on the the space center’s history before you go, I recommend “Gateway to Space.”
Stroll Winter Park – In my research, I kept coming across restaurants and wine bars in Winter Park that seemed to be calling my name. Then a friend recommended I go there. So that city is added to my list…to visit when I’m not traveling with kids.
Visit an organic brewery – How granola of me. I heard Orlando Brewing Company is the only USDA-certified organic brewery south of Vermont and east of Colorado.
Eat ridiculous amounts of good food – I have a growing list of restaurants that pique my interest. Among them: Polonia Restaurant in Longwood (I read one person’s review that insisted diners order the Wazanki); Orlando spots like Pom Pom’s Tea House, Beefy King, Imperial Wine Bar and Beer Garden, White Wolf Cafe and Bar; Winter Park’s Cask and Larder; and the German restaurant, Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, in Sanford (I’m told to try the German Chocolate Cake).
Save money on some of the these Florida bucket list items
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to save money on some of the Florida bucket list items! Get Your Guide offers quite a few discounts on activities near Orlando. Here are a few of my favorites:
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We brought the kids here while visiting Tampa Bay – and while our visit was shortened due to it falling smack in the middle of one kid’s nap time – I’m using our visit to make an unscientific and untested point that science museums are really just huge children’s museums for grownups.
Which is to say, they’re a lot of fun.
Science Museums Are Just Big Children’s Museums For Adults Because…
1. The exhibits are interactive
Children’s museums are all about hands-on activities and it turns out, so is MOSI. But they’re not kid-sized, so you don’t feel silly interacting with any of it.
The permanent exhibitions, the giant IMAX dome theater, the planetarium, the flight simulator and the bike on a wire thingy are all stuff adults can enjoy shamelessly without kid in tow.
And then there’s this: The ropes course and zip line.
My 3- and 5-year-old were not old enough or tall enough to do it, so we skipped it.
If we didn’t have the short ones with it, you bet both Mr. Wonderful and I would’ve been in line faster than you can fasten your superhero cape.
We all probably should remember facts about weather.
And elementary physics.
And natural disasters.
But we don’t remember any of that stuff.
Visiting a science museum makes relearning it fun.
And, if you’re visiting with kids, it’s fun relearning teaching it to your kids, especially when both of you have that aha! moment at the same time.
A few things about our visit
We only saw a fraction of MOSI while we were there – you’ll want to factor in several hours for your visit, not two. MOSI recommends a minimum of four hours.
Kids in Charge! is great for elementary-aged kid and younger. They get the most out of the exhibits in that building. That’s not to say you can’t take them around the main building. They’ll like it too, but the STEM concepts may be harder to absorb. They’ll have fun, regardless, so don’t skip it just because you have a preschooler.
If you go
Where: 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa
When: Open daily, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (ropes course and zip line are open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
I also wrote about the Allegiant Air direct flight from Omaha to the Tampa Bay area, so check that out, plus if you need a hotel suggestion and you L-O-V-E food and pampering, read my post about Epicurean Hotel in the beautiful Hyde Park area of Tampa.