Explore fantastic museums with hands-on activities

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For custom-designed kid-friendly spaces, try some of Tampa Bay's children's museums. The Great Explorations Children's Museum in St. Petersburg is an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon. Don't worry about putting the kids to sleep that night. The climbing wall, tennis ball launchers, robot lab and even a veterinary clinic with stuffed animals to practice on assures they'll be pooped by day's end.

The Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa is brand-new, pricey and filled with high-tech gadgets. Its 4,900 square metres include 12 themed areas and 170 "interactivities." You definitely get your money's worth. There's always a big line to operate the giant crane, drive the cruise ship, or activate the horns and sirens on the fire truck.

The old Museum of Science and Industry is also in Tampa, although some of its 450 exhibits may seem a bit dated.

Heritage Village in Largo is a free 21-acre living history museum that tells the story of Tampa Bay's early settlers. Explore nearly 30 buildings and features like schools, churches, a sea sponge warehouse and other historic homes. Re-enactors in period costume provide narration and demonstrate pine needle and palm frond weaving, blacksmithing, rope-making and cooking. Next door is the Florida Botanical Gardens which makes for a great outdoor stroll.