Tampa’s Best Stuff For Tweens (9-12)

January 12, 2012 3:31 PM

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(credit: http://buschgardens.com)
Not quite old enough to drive and yet not a child. What’s a kid, er, tween, to do? If they’re in the Tampa area, the answer is “plenty.” Tampa has a several theme parks, arcades and attractions that thrill not only the young, but also the young at heart. If you have a tween of your own (or you are one) read on for a few things that might be just the ticket. – Steve Hartsoe

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

10165 N. McKinley Drive
Tampa, FL 33612
(888) 800-5447
www.buschgardens.com

Let’s start with the biggest area attraction…Busch Gardens of Tampa Bay. Operating 365 days a year, this is one place where no one will be bored. With more than 2,000 animals and 12 exhilarating roller coasters, this place has more thrills than you can count and literally has something for everyone. If you’re not into high speed dips and curves, check out one of the park’s multiple animal attractions – from big cats to birds – or catch a show. As an added bonus, Busch’s water park – Adventure Landing – isn’t far from Busch Gardens and combination tickets can be purchased. Hours: Daily, typically 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours during summer months and on some holiday weekends. Admission (before applicable taxes): Adults and children over nine, $77.99; Children three to nine, $67.99. Discounts are available for senior citizens, military, guests with disabilities and AAA members.

MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry)

4801 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL 33617
(813) 987-6000
www.mosi.org

Yes, it’s educational and yes, there are a lot of attractions for younger kids, but don’t let that fool you. The Museum of Science and Industry will “wow” even the most hard-to-please tween. Think not? Just try being bored on MOSI’s “High Wire Bike,” where, after being strapped to a bicycle, you’ll pedal along a one-inch-wide, 98-foot-long steel cable. Did we mention it is also 30 feet above ground? If you’ve still got strength left in you when you come down, why not check out a show at MOSI’s IMAX Dome Theater – featuring the largest screen in Florida – or take in an astronomy show at The Saunders Planetarium. In addition to these and other regular attractions, MOSI holds many special events throughout the year. Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: Kids (two to twelve), $16.95; Adults (13 to 59), $20.95. Price includes admission to all MOSI exhibits and galleries, a show at Saunders Planetarium and a standard IMAX Dome Theater Film.

Grand Prix Tampa

14320 N. Nebraska Avenue
Tampa, FL 33613
(813) 977-6272
www.grandprixtampa.com

Florida knows fun and racing (ever heard of Daytona?). And fun is the operative word at Grand Prix Tampa. Enjoy some exciting, old-fashioned good times at this racing-themed family fun place. Grand Prix Tampa features bowling, arcade games, miniature golf, batting cage, and, of course, go-kart racing on both an adult track and a family track. Grand Prix Tampa has something for everyone, especially that hard-to-please tween, including “paintless” paintball! Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight (some attraction hours vary).

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