Family Fun Guide

Things to Do With Kids: Road Trips

A variety of fun excursions await just north of Sarasota. Here are a few of our faves.

By Ilene Denton May 2, 2016 Published in the May 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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The Florida Railroad Museum

Take your train-obsessed kids (and aren’t they all at some point?) to this museum in Parrish. It offers a look-see at 11 classic train cars, plus a 90-minute round-trip ride on a diesel train. You also can rent a red caboose for birthday parties. (941) 776-0906;

The Glazer Children’s Museum

This downtown Tampa museum offers 170 interactive exhibits—a kid-sized firehouse, a cruise ship, an engineers’ workshop where you can build with blocks and giant Legos, and on and on—all designed to spark your young ones’ creativity. Extended summer hours. (813) 443-3861;

Ruskin Family Drive-In

Pile everybody into the mini-van for a night at this old-timey spot in south Hillsborough County. Admission is just $1 for children 5-8; $6 for 9 to adults, and free for 4 and under—and that’s for two movies. Teens especially seem to love this. In mid-July, Despicable Me 3 and Spider Man: Homecoming were playing. (813) 645-1455;

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

More than 1,200 animals, from African elephants to the great Indian rhino, call this place home, and there’s even a small water play area for those hot summer visits. (813) 935-8552;

The Florida Aquarium

You can easily spend a day here exploring the more than 20,000 sea creatures that call downtown Tampa’s Channelside district, home. (813) 273-4000;

Busch Gardens

Equal parts amusement park and wild animal preserve, Busch Gardens is that summer treat you save up to reward really good behavior. If you have young kids, hit the new Sesame Street Safari of Fun, with a dozen fun things to do, like Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie (a pint-sized ferris wheel) and other rides, and Bert and Ernie’s Watering Hole water play area. And don’t forget the Adventure Island water park right next door. (888) 800-5447;

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