Your guide to indoor activities for families in Pinellas County
Living in Florida is amazing when everyone else is dealing with winter and we’re heading to the beach. But over summer… you need things to do with kids inside to beat the heat and the thunder storms.
We are two local moms and we write about family-friendly Clearwater-St. Pete. Here are some of our favorite ideas for what to do with the kids indoors around the Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg area!
1. MakerSpace – Palm Harbor Library
The Palm Harbor Library is home to a really cool MakerSpace for kids ages 5 to 12. The MakerSpace is full of art supplies and kids can visit once a week to create. Plus, the Palm Harbor Library makes our list of the best libraries for kids in Pinellas. There are toys, an outdoor musical garden, art sculptures and scheduled activities.
2. Highland Recreation Complex
The Highland Recreation Complex in Largo is home to Play World, a huge 3 story climbing playground. Playworld costs $3 for members and $6 for non-members.
It has specially designed play areas for different age groups. On weekdays from 9-10:30 there is also dedicated time just for little kids who are 5 and under, and parents are allowed to climb in the structure with their children during that session.
3. Dunedin Children’s Art Museum
The Dunedin Fine Art Center has one of the best kept secrets for kids in the area — a very cool and affordable children’s museum! We love this museum and especially love that tickets are so much cheaper than other museums. There are so many interactive things to explore at the museum that you could easily spend hours there.
Check out our full guide to the Dunedin Children’s Art Museum
4. Countryside Mall
Countryside mall is a surprisingly kid-friendly activity that is indoors. Families can go explore the mall an hour before mall opening, giving a pretty empty and open indoor space to run around.
My kids love 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. A train that you can ride goes around the mall and there are small quarter rides too.
5. Ice Skating
I spent a lot of time in my youth strolling the Countryside Mall and coveting the ice skating rink there. I still remember the fews times we got to go. Other parents who grew up here probably know what I mean.
Ice skating is a fun indoor activity and a huge novelty for a Florida kid. Tampa Bay Skating Academy has three rinks in our area: Countryside Mall, Oldsmar North Rink and Clearwater Ice Arena
6. Kids Eat Free Restaurant
Eating in a restaurant can be a fun indoor activity for some kids, so taking advantage of a kids eat free special is a win-win way to spend some time inside. Find a special on our list of kids eat free deals in St. Pete-Clearwater.
Don’t forget to check out our list of local birthday deals for even more free meals!
7. Discount Movies on Tuesday
On Tuesdays, you can get discounted tickets to some of the movie theaters in our areas. The Cobb theaters in Countryside Mall & Tyrone mall have $5 movies on Tuesdays. AMC Theaters have select movies and showtimes on a half-price deal on Tuesdays.
8. Fast food play areas
You can still find some fast food restaurants that have indoor play areas. Most of the Chick-fil-A locations in our area still have attached playgrounds. Plus, with the Chick-fil-A app, you can easily order food to come to your table while kids play without having to wrangle them to go up to order.
There is also the rare remaining McDonalds’ play grounds. You can find one in Pinellas Park at the 5170 Park Blvd, Pinellas Park, FL 33781 location. I called this location and they verified that their play area opens at 9.
9. Indoor playgrounds
Fast food spots aren’t the only indoor playgrounds you can hit up. You’ll also find indoor playgrounds at Countryside Mall, Highland Recreation Complex, Great Explorations Museum, and trampoline parks.
Check out our list of indoor playgrounds in St. Pete-Clearwater
10. Celebration Station
Be a hero and take your kids to Celebration Station at a time that isn’t someone’s birthday party. Celebration Station has indoor and outdoor spaces, with plenty to do inside. They have lots of arcade games and laser tag in their main building.
AstroSkate is a skating rink with locations in North Pinellas and Pinellas Park. It was a big hangout place when we were in middle school but they also offer family hours and “tiny tot” skating sessions making this a family-friendly indoor activity.
Bowling can be a great indoor activity for families. Throw up some bumpers and kids can have a great time at a bowling alley.
13. Library kids areas
Our local libraries offer so much to do for kids, and most of the activities take place inside the library. There are baby and me classes, toddler story times, kid STEM activities like Lego clubs, and family activities like movie mornings. On top of scheduled activities, many of the libraries also have spaces and toys for kids to play.
Check out our favorite children’s library areas in Clearwater-St. Pete
14. Library Museum Pass
Pinellas county libraries offer museum passes good for free admission to a number of libraries around Tampa Bay. Each pass gives you one week to visit the museum with two adults and three kids. The passes are checked out on a first come, first serve basis.
Most of the museums in the program are inside so you have lots of options. Some of our personal favorites for kids that we’ve done include Great Explorations Children’s museum, the Palmetto Collection old car museum in Clearwater, and the Glazer Children’s museum in Tampa.
15. Florida Aquarium
Florida Aquarium is one of the many great aquariums in the Clearwater-St. Pete area. While it’s may not be our #1 pick (looking at you, Tarpon Aquarium!), it is the best aquarium for those looking for an indoor activity.
The Florida Aquarium is almost fully inside so it is a great pick for bad weather days — plus, there’s a great splash pad to help kids cool off during hot Florida summers.
Check out our full guide to the Florida Aquarium before you go!
16. Munchkin Town
Munchkin Town is an indoor play space designed for children 5 and under — this instagram post shows the play space well. They have open play hours and also put on activities for kids throughout the week. They have climbing structures, toys and also sensory activities for kids to explore.
It is a little pricy for a single visit but they have packages and 6-month memberships that make it more affordable. Note: remember to pack socks before your visit.
17. We Rock the Spectrum
We Rock the Spectrum Clearwater is similar to Munchkin Town as an indoor play space with daily open gym hours for kids to explore. It specializes in sensory spaces and play for kids, and has some cool additions like sensory swings, crash pads and a zip line.
Their single entry price is similar to Munchkin Town but their membership passes are more expensive. Socks are also required
18. Little Explorers
Little Explorers is also similar to Munchkin Town and We Rock the Spectrum in that it is a play space designed for smaller kids. Admission includes an hour of open play in the play space and a 30-minute class session.
Little Explorers drop-in rate is more expensive than Munchkin Town and We Rock the Spectrum. Their annual membership is more expensive than my Disney annual pass which feels a little shocking.
19. Open gyms & toddler gymnastics
Some gymnastic gyms in the area offer open gym times where kids can play on the equipment. For example, Bayside Sports Academy has open gym times during the school year for kids 13 years old and younger. Future Flipz also does open gym hours (advanced registration required).
You can also kind toddler “classes” and gym times for younger kids. Tampa Bay Turners has toddler gym a few times a week for kids aged 1-4 years old.
20. Trampoline Park
SkyZone Clearwater is the big trampoline park in our area. They have pretty much everything you could dream of, including big foam pit, an ninja warrior obstalce course, a toddler area, and wall-to-wall trampolines.
They have dedicated little kid jump times so they can enjoy without being run over by big kids. Keep an eye on their Facebook page where they post deals (they were on our list of local Black Friday deals in Pinellas)
For something a little smaller, Bounce City in Countryside Mall is a play area full of lots of different bounce houses. It’s located near the entrance by Auntie Anne’s.
21. Arts & crafts
There are many cool indoor arts and craft experiences around our area. Here are a few ideas, most of which are free too!
- Michaels’ free craft classes (website)
- Splatter painting room (website – this looks really fun!)
- Morean Center free weekend art projects for kids (website)
- “Dillydally with Dali” free arts and crafts for kids ages 6-12 (schedule)
22. Collection on Palmetto
We recently visited the Collection on Palmetto using a library museum pass and had a great time. It is a big room lined with old cars and the docent was great at explaining things to our preschooler. They also have a room with coloring for kids and old videos showing.
23. Great Explorations
Great Explorations is a children’s museum in St. Pete. It is a scaled back version of the old Great Explorations Hands-on Museum but still a lot of fun. There is a mini city for kids to play in places like the grocery store, dentist office and fire house.
In the middle the museum is a large climbing structure playground and there are STEM & building activities through the museum. You’ll also find a toddler area and a big sand pit that my kids loved.
Check out our full guide to Great Explorations
24. Explore IKEA
Spent an afternoon exploring IKEA, which is kind of like a wonderland for kids with all the displays. IKEA is basically the wild west anyway so kids exploring apartment set-ups and running around the big empty warehouse aisles aren’t going to make a blip in the radar.
Some IKEA locations also has Småland, a supervised play area for kids between certain heights. They were previously places where parents could drop kids off for free for 30 minutes, but they’ve not all re-opened to allow parent drop-offs since the pandemic.
25. Vertical Ventures Rock climbing
Vertical Ventures is an indoor rock climbing gym in St. Pete. This could be a really fun inside activity for families with older kids. We include it as one of our favorite local experience gift ideas in Clearwater-St. Pete for older kids.
There are so many arcade options for families around Pinellas, including:
- Replay museum
- Cici’s Pizza (that’s why it makes our list of kid-friendly restaurants in Pinellas)
- Starlight Arcade
- Reboot Bar Arcade
- Southern Lights Brewery (its arcade games earned it a spot on our kid-friendly breweries list)
- Celebration Station
- Fun Zone Arcade
27. Indoor pools
Even in bad weather, there are still options to go swimming in Pinellas. The Long Center has an indoor olympic pool that has a lot of opening hours (closed on Sundays).
Some YMCA locations also have indoor pools. The Jim & Heather Gills YMCA location even has a indoor zero-entry pool — my kids went nuts for a zero-entry so this can be great for families with smaller kids.
Looking for more fun things to do in Pinellas? Check out these free things to do around Clearwater & St. Pete