Your guide to free family-friendly activities in Pinellas County
Looking for free things to do in the Clearwater St. Petersburg area? Check out our favorite free activities in Pinellas County, including lots of free things to do with kids around St. Pete-Clearwater!
We’re two local moms bringing you all the fun things to do in the Clearwater-St. Pete area with kids. We are also both very frugal and always looking for ways to save money.
This list we made for our own kids and hope that it helps other families find free things to do in Pinellas.
Let’s find your next free family-friendly activity!
1. Splash pads
Let’s kick off the list with a fun way to beat Florida’s heat — splash pads! There are lots of splash pads around Pinellas (here’s our Pinellas splash pad list). Most of the splash pads are free making them an awesome free things to do with kids in our area.
2. Walk a causeway
Many of our bridges have beautiful walking paths along them making for a fun and unique hike. My toddler goes nuts walking the Courtney Campbell Causeway trail because he can watch all the semi-trucks drive by.
In addition to the Courtney Campbell, you can also walk along the Dunedin Causeway and the Clearwater Memorial Causeway.
3. Manatee Viewing Center
Across the bay, Tampa Electric has a very cool and free Manatee Viewing Center that is free for the public to visit. During the cold months (November to April), manatees congregate in the thermal effluence coming from the Tampa Electric facility.
Not only can you see lots of manatees, there are also stingrays to pet, an educational building and trails to explore. Parking is free too!
4. Library museum passes
If you’re a Pinellas resident, you can check out museum passes at any of the local library branches to get free admission to a number of libraries around Tampa Bay. The library museum passes are checked out on a first come, first serve basis and you have a week to visit the museum with up to 2 adults and 3 children.
Whimzeyland is an amazing art house that is a Safety Harbor institution. Also known as the bowling ball house, It is the residence of two local artists who have turned it into something magical. You are welcome to walk through the yard and explore the art for free, though donations are welcome. My kids absolutely loved it there.
Nearby, you can also check out the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center, which is also decorated all over with art.
6. Home Depot & Lowe’s kids classes
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s hold monthly kids workshops for free. Kids can build the project for that month and learn woodworking and tool skills. We’ve done the Home Depot workshop before and my kids love the truck they made.
NOTE: We recommend verifying with your store minimum age of participation before attending. Home Depot doesn’t specify a minimum age online but the store we went to wouldn’t let our 2-year-old participate. However, friends have taken their 2-year-olds to other stores without issues.
7. Michael’s craft workshops
Similar to the Home Depot and Lowe’s workshops, Michael’s offers free craft workshops in store that are open to kids. You can find a list of upcoming crafts on their website.
8. Morean Art Center
Morean Art Center has a mission of connecting people in the community with art. They have a contemporary art gallery that is free to visit.
In addition to the gallery, they also hold free weekend art exploration for kids. On Saturdays at Morean, kids can do an art project of the week. On Sundays at the Morean, kids can create and explore with clay. You can register for both online.
9. Kids Eat Free
Throughout Pinellas you’ll find lots of restaurants that do free meals for kids specials. Check out our list of kids eat free deals in the Clearwater-St. Pete area. This is a fun way to try new places and enjoy a freebie for kids!
Looking for even more free meals? Don’t forget to check out our list of local birthday freebies!
10. Library activities
The Pinellas county libraries are great places to find free activities for the whole family. There are baby and me classes, toddler story times, kid STEM activities like our local library Lego clubs, and family activities.
In addition to scheduled activities, many of the libraries have great spaces for kids to play. Check out our list of our favorite children’s library areas in Clearwater-St. Pete, with the best libraries with toys, art maker spaces, and more!
11. Theme Park Preschool Passes
Each year, select theme parks and attractions, like Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Kennedy Space Center, offer free preschool passes for Florida’s youngest kids. There is a registration period at the beginning of the year where families can get a essentially a free annual pass for their kids who are 5 and younger.
Check out our full guide to free Florida theme park preschool passes
12. Kids Summer Bowling Pass
Over the summer, bowling alleys across the country offer families a free pass for their kids to bowl free all summer long. You register in advance for the pass, which gives kids two free games every day over the summer. You can also buy a discounted family pass so parents can bowl too.
In our area, Largo’s Liberty Lanes, Seminole’s Seminole Lanes and St. Pete’s Sunrise Lanes and Ten Pin Lanes participate. Check out the Kids Bowl Free website for more information.
13. Ride the Jolly Trolley
The Jolly Trolley is a trolley that rides along Clearwater Beach and connects the northern Pinellas coastal cities up to Tarpon Springs. Kids 8 and under ride free all the time, and adults are only $2.25.
In addition, Jolly Trolley offers free ride days throughout the year that you can find on the Jolly Trolley website. March and April are free for Spring Break (park & ride locations), and they also offer free ride days on holidays like Earth Day and Car Free Day.
14. Tour a Firehouse
Some of our local fire departments will give families tours of their firehouse, which is amazing if you have a truck-loving little kid.
For example, the Oldsmar Fire Department says that they are happy to give tours and recommend calling in advance to schedule (per their website FAQ). You can find a list of all the Pinellas Firehouses here.
15. Seaside Seabird Sanctuary
The Seaside Seabird Sanctuary is a free bird sanctuary on the beach in Indian Shores. The sanctuary was a staple of my childhood. My grandparents lived a few minutes away and would take me all the time when I was little.
It is totally free to visit but donations are welcome and support the care of the resident birds. Parking is also free and it is open every day, making it an easy stop for families.
16. Countryside Mall
A trip to the mall is a surprisingly kid-friendly way to fill a few hours that is totally free. You can go walk in the Countryside Mall an hour before the mall opens. My kids have a great time walking up and down the ramps looking at everything.
There is a small playground for toddlers, and big checker and chess boards for bigger kids. There’s a train that rides around that isn’t free but fun for kids to watch too.
There are so many amazing playgrounds around Pinellas that are always free to visit. Some of our favorites include the Glazer playground on St. Pete Pier, the new Coachman Park, and the playground at Largo Central Park.
18. Largo Central Railroad
The first weekend of the month, you can ride the model train around Largo Central Park. My kids love to ride mini model trains and adults can ride too. You can register for the train before heading to their park at their website.
If you like trains, you can also ride the model train at the Palmetto Collection car museum. There was no wait to ride when we visited and it is free with a library museum pass. It makes our list of fun things to do with kids in Clearwater!
19. Pier 60 Sunset Festival
Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach is a fun stop for families. Each night there is a sunset festival that takes place two hours before and after sunset. It includes street performers and artists, plus the pretty west coast sunset. You can find more information on their website.
20. Tarpon Sponge Docks
Explore the history and kitsch of the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. You can stroll through the Spongerama sponge museum for free and watch a short movie about the history of the sponge docks.
Check out our guide to our favorite sponge dock activities
21. Dillydally with Dali
A couple Sundays a month, the Dali Museum opens up their ground floor for free for Dillydally with Dali. Dillydally is an activity for kids 6-12 where they explore the artistic process through arts and crafts. You can find the upcoming schedule here.
22. Florida Botanical Gardens
The Florida Botanical Gardens is free to visit year round. It includes over 100-acres of gardens to explore, including a children’s garden. The children’s garden has climbing structures, sensory play and a water pump (my kids love a water pump).
23. Heritage Village
In the same park as the botanical gardens, you’ll find Heritage Village. Heritage Village is a park exploring Pinellas County history through lots of old buildings and a museum. It is free to visit and open Wednesday-Sunday.
24. Coachman Park
The recently renovated Coachman Park is a great way to spend an afternoon. It has a beautiful waterfront, a small pier, and lots of wide open space. There’s an awesome playground with sand pits and a splash pad too!
Check out our guide to Coachman Park
25. Glazer Children’s Museum 1st Tuesdays
Glazer Children’s Museum opens for free visits on the first Tuesday of the month. Glazer’s Free Tuesdays get busy so plan for crowds (Glazer was very busy just on a regular weekend day when we visited). The museum has so much fun stuff for kids to play, explore and build.
Check out our full guide to the Glazer Children’s Museum
Shake up your normal routine with a park picnic. There are so many beautiful places in Pinellas that are perfect for a picnic. This is an easy and fun activity for kids that doesn’t require much to make happen.
27. SPC Planetarium Shows
St. Petersburg College does free planetarium shows during the academic year. The show dates and times change throughout the year depending on sunset so check their planetarium website for updated times.
28. Tiny beach
You don’t have to go to one of the big beaches in Pinellas to have a great time. Find a tiny tuckered away beach along the Tampa Bay, which can have much easier parking and no crowds. They’re particularly nice to little kids. We love the ones in Phillipe Park.
29. McGough Nature Park
Visit the turtles at McGough Nature Park in Largo! The park has lots of nature and animal experiences that are perfect for families. There is a nature center, bird enclosures, butterfly garden and a turtle viewing deck. Plus there’s a playground and a trail.
30. Moccasin Lake Park
Another great park for nature experiences is Moccasin Lake Park. There are also rescue birds in enclosures park that my kids loved. You can also often find roaming peacocks throughout the park. There are nice and easy hiking trails and a playground too.
When we visited, there are were park staff out with a bird on their arm too. They were showing kids and talking about the bird to anyone who wanted to interact.
31. Hammock Park Butterfly Garden
Hammock Park is a huge nature park in Dunedin. In addition to hiking trails and a cool playground, you’ll find a butterfly garden to explore.
Note that the playground at Hammock Park doesn’t have much for the smallest kids. I took our 1-year old at the time and the playground equipment felt big for her.
32. Pinellas Trail
The Pinellas Trail stretches across the whole county and is an awesome feature of our area. The trail is made from an old rail line so it also has a cool history too.
You can walk, bike or skate along the trail for a fun family-friendly activity. We particularly like the stretch of the trail in Dunedin where you can hit up breweries just off the trail. You’ll find a few of them on the list of our favorite kid-friendly breweries in Clearwater-St. Pete!
33. St. Pete Pier
Last but definitely not least is the St. Pete Pier. The St. Pete Pier has to much to explore for free, including an absolutely amazing playground, splash pad and a small beach. Plus, the pier itself is beautiful constructed with cool features for kids to run around.
Parking at the pier isn’t free, but you can find free 2 hour street parking a few blocks away if you visit at an off-peak time, so its possible for this to be a totally free activity.
Looking for more fun things to do in our area? Check out some of our other lists: