7 Free Things to Do in Tampa with Your Kids

    By Dalia Colon

    One thing I know about kids: They don't care how much things cost—or don't cost.

    My 2-year-old daughter, Norah, has just as much fun playing with a balloon as she does watching videos on the iPad.

    In my quest for affordable family-friendly fun, I've put together this list of free things to do in Tampa Bay. I hope your kids will enjoy these cheap thrills, too.

    1. Pinellas County Heritage Village

    Go back in time at Pinellas County Heritage Village in Largo, an indoor-outdoor living history museum where admission is always free (donations welcome).

    2. Glazer Children's Museum

    On the first Tuesday of every month, the Glazer Children's Museum in downtown Tampa offers free admission to all guests from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    3. St. Petersburg College Planetarium

    The St. Petersburg College Planetarium will have you seeing stars, with public shows by resident astronomer Dr. Craig Joseph most Fridays at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

    4. Largo Central Railroad

    All aboard Largo Central Railroad’s miniature train, which offers free rides (donations accepted) on the first full weekend of each month. The 1.2-mile track winds through Largo's Central Park—another great free attraction.

    5. Florida Botanical Gardens

    Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon at Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, which features 30 acres of flora and an interactive children's trail.

    6. Sunsets at Pier 60

    In Clearwater Beach, don't miss Sunsets at Pier 60, a free nightly celebration that includes live entertainment, street performers, vendors and more. 

    7. Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

    When the weather turns cold, manatees flock to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach—and so should you, if you'd like to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures. Seeing manatees is one of the best free things to do in Tampa.