Don’t let rainy days get you down. Even in the Sunshine State, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do. Whether you have kids, you’re looking for an idea for your next date or you just want to spend an afternoon enjoying some “me” time, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to indoor activities in Tampa Bay.

The Florida Aquarium

701 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 273-4000·

The Florida Aquarium, located in Channelside, is well loved by both kids and adults. Marine life enthusiasts will discover a vast assortment of both saltwater and freshwater sea creatures, including sharks, sea turtles, hundreds of species of fish, huge rock lobsters and the new stingray touch pool, where you can get up close and personal with Florida’s beautiful skates and rays. You’ll also get a close look at some of Florida’s other inhabitants, including birds, river otters, alligators and even a huge python.

Vertical Ventures

5402 Pioneer Park Blvd., Suite E
Tampa, FL 33634
(813) 884-7625

If you have an adventurous spirit and are looking for a fun new hobby to make your heart pound, check out Vertical Ventures, an indoor rock climbing gym. If you have no experience, no problem. Introductory classes are offered on a daily basis to familiarize climbers with safety information and climbing techniques. Best of all, you can return to Vertical Ventures again and again and never climb the same wall twice – the routes are always changing.

Glazer Children’s Museum
110 W. Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 443-3861

Bring the kids for this one. For safety reasons, no adults are allowed in the museum without children, and no children are allowed in the museum without adults. Glazer helps foster inquisitiveness, discovery and learning by letting kids do what they do best: play. In the Engineer’s Workshop, for example, kids can practice building highways, designing and flying airplanes and generating electricity. Then there’s the Vet Clinic, where children can look at x-rays and examine charts to determine the best treatment for their “patients.” With over a dozen different exhibits, kids can play the day away and not even miss playing outside.

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Tampa Bay Grand Prix
12350 Automobile Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33762
(727) 527-8464

If you want to try something that will make your heart pound, indoor go-karting may be your new favorite activity. Adults must be 56 inches or taller to participate. Children must be at least six years old and at least 48 inches tall. All drivers must sign a waiver before participating. If it’s your first time racing, all you have to do is pick out a race package and purchase an annual racing license. As soon as your race is ready – 10 people can race at one time – you will be called into the pit for safety and instructional briefing. After that, you’ll be given a head sock, helmet and kart number, and you’ll be whizzing around the track before you know it.

International Plaza and Bay Street
2223 N. West Shore Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 342-3790

Sometimes, all you really need is a little retail therapy. International Plaza and Bay Street is one of the best shopping destinations in the state, with over 200 stores and 16 full-service restaurants in addition to concessions kiosks. Serious shoppers will love to explore high-end merchandise like Gucci, Juicy Couture, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and others. When you’re ready to eat, you will enjoy a great selection of dining choices including The Cheesecake Factory, The Pub, Pelaggia Trattoria and The Capital Grille.

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Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at