As the nation's 54th largest city, (Reference 1) Tampa has a plethora of free activities to do with an infant in tow. Whether the baby is in a backpack where he can see above your head, tucked comfortably into a stroller or carried in your arms, the sights and sounds of Tampa will have him entertained, and you relaxed while enjoying some much-needed time out.
Parks and Zoos
Babies and infants can enjoy swings at a park, either by sitting on an adult's lap or secured in a baby swing, the fresh air and feeling the sand between their toes. Alfred "Al" Barnes, Jr. Park offers a safe, structured environment for little ones on 32nd Street. American Legion Park, on Sligh Avenue, features playground equipment, picnic areas and a bicycle path. Secure the little one in an infant carrier and enjoy bike riding around the park. Visit Lowry Park Zoo, which features 1,700 wild animals in their natural habitats. Infants and parking are free every day and, if you go on your birthday, you get in free, too.
Markets and Beaches
On the weekend, take a walk through the Ybor City Saturday Market, in Centennial Park, and delight in food and entertainment for you and your baby. Fresh produce and breads, homemade honey and other goods can be sampled. Through February 26, enjoy the market's free Flan Fest and parking. Head to Picnic Island Park, located in Port Tampa, which features 7.8 acres of sandy beaches. Soak up some rays and then feast on a homemade picnic lunch. Later that day, climb up a lifeguard tower to watch the sunset.
Museums and Art
Discover traveling exhibitions downtown at Tampa Museum of Art, where children under six can go for free and adults have free admission on Friday evenings. Enjoy music, art, entertainment and refreshments. The Glazer Children's Museum, featuring 12 interactive themed areas, in addition to play and discovery rooms, offers Target Free Tuesdays, where from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. there is no admission fee.
December Holiday Events
Witnessing the annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade in December is a must. Watch decorated boats as you enjoy holiday cheer around Davis Islands, Garrison Channel and Harbour Island. Or take your baby to the annual Santa Fest, located at Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Gardens, a free holiday extravaganza featuring a parade and strolling performers.
Out for a Walk
In March, participate in a free fitness walk, starting at Al Lopez Park, with the town's mayor. At noon, on the first Saturday of every month, stroll the Ybor City Artwalk where you can visit the Ybor Museum State Park and numerous historic neighborhoods. At the Local Motion Walking Tours, join the free fitness and wellness program where you will be shown the best walking routes in the area. Simply strap baby in the stroller and take in the sights.