One of our favorite Sunday activities is visiting the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa, where we are members. There are a gazillion learning activities for my toddlers and we never get through all of them in only one day.
Xavier, 3, and Hope, 1, are at the ages where make believe is real to them. They are little sponges, who adore learning through play. When we are at Glazer there are so many opportunities to explore the world around them! From art activities to science exhibits to pretend play, there is no limit to the amount of fun that can be had here.
110 W Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602
Open daily except the day of the Gasparilla Parade, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Mon-Fri 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sat 10:00am to 6:00pm
Sun 1:00pm to 6:00pm
Distance from SRQ: 1 hour (via I-75 or I-275)
Time spent at the museum: about 2 hours with 2 toddlers. We usually get through about 50% of the museum when we go.
Level of toddler satisfaction: A+, but it appeals to kids through elementary school-age.
Admission prices: Children under 1 are free; Children 1-12 $10; Adults $15.00; Teachers/Military/Seniors $12.50. There are also annual memberships available ranging from $125-350. Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month.
Parking: The parking garage is located next to the museum on the corner of Ashley Dr. and Cass St. Parking is $1.20 per hour, but that amount may change if there are special events in the area.
Kidsport: On the ground floor, this is a must-do each trip. It is a giant water table where both of my kids love playing with boats and sending balls over a replica of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. There are pulleys that they use to move cargo across “Tampa Bay.” We dress the littles in bathing suits and hit this attraction first. We bring some towels and throw them into a change of clothes before we head upstairs.
Near Kidsport you will find a fenced-in play area designed for little ones under three with puzzles, books and a small “fishing” dock. There is even a tugboat where kids can pretend to be the captain with realistic boat sounds.
Light Cloud: This is a cool new activity geared toward the older kids. Little artists can create their own sound and light shows using touch sensors. It is really beautiful.
Ocean Sandbox: The last exhibit to mention on the ground floor is a recycled rubber “sandbox” with all sorts of toys. Thankfully, this is much easier to clean off than real sand!
Hospital: At the Hospital, Hope pretends to be a doctor. She likes to wear lab coats and care for doll “patients.” My favorite is the sound generator that uses a sensor to hear the funny sounds our bodies make.
Vet Clinic: For animal lovers, this area offers the opportunity to play veterinarian. There are all sorts of stuffed animals and medical equipment to care for them.
Publix: The last time we were here, Xavier must have spent an entire hour here. He filled up his cart and “checked out” with play money. He played the part of the baker, handing out goodies to other patrons. Then it was his turn to be the cashier. This is a fun place to learn about colors and nutrition!
Twinkle Stars Theater: Your little thespian or Grammy hopeful can put on a show for you!
Pizza Place: This “restaurant” is the place where the little chef in your life can serve you delicious goodies.
Design + Build: There’s always something fun to do at this house. Kids learn about gardening, electricity, plumbing and tools.
Gadget Garage: Older kids love working on robotics in this new exhibit.
Engineers Workshop: This is the place for your little inventor or architect. You can build a train track or play with LEGO blocks here too!
Global Cafe: Celebrate diversity and learn about other cultures through the activities offered here.
Artsmart: For small artists, there is a dance studio, building toys, life-size kaleidoscopes, computer art and a magnetic board.
Get Moving: Your little ones can let out their energy on the rock climbing wall and indoor playground!
Water’s Journey: For older kids, there is a large treehouse-like structure where they can pretend to be a drop of water, journeying through the water cycle.
Know before you go:
Food: There is a Subway in the museum. You can bring your own food and eat in the designated area.
Outside: Next to the museum is Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, which is fun and has a splash pad. However, check Tampa’s event calendar and avoid days when there is a big event going on in the park. Parking in the garage will cost more, if it is even available.
Parking: In the garage, park on the highest level, as close to the elevator as possible.
Breastfeeding: Per the law, mothers can breastfeed anywhere they want. But if you prefer privacy, the museum offers a nursing area in the big yellow house. A staff member will unlock it for you.