In Florida, August is more commonly known as “Is it November yet?” This month has been particularly brutal with record temperatures that just won’t quit. We have a few ideas across Tampa Bay to have fun while staying cool.
Skate the day away
What better way to cool off on a hot summer day than at an ice skating rink. Tampa Bay Skating Academy offers public skating hours year-round at their locations in Oldsmar, Clearwater and inside Countryside Mall. Be sure to bundle up before you hit the ice – indoor air temps at the rink hover somewhere between 50 to 60 degrees. Those looking to up their skating skills can sign up for Learn to Skate classes that are available for all age groups – from toddlers to adults.
Tour the Tampa Theatre
Voted one of “America’s Best Historic Movie Theaters” by Fodor’s travel guides, this iconic theater in downtown Tampa is a must-see. Monthly Balcony to Backstage Tours take you behind the scenes, including a demonstration of the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ. In October, tours get a bit spookier with the Ghosts of Tampa Theatre Tours that share stories of patrons and employees past. For something a bit lighter, join them for Cat video Fest 2023 Aug. 20 and 21, or enjoy one of the final showings in their Summer Classics series, which runs through Aug. 27.
Head to the Arcade
Level up your gaming experience at Level 19, located next to Surf Shack. Play Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox games while sitting at the bar using wireless controllers, or opt for pinball, shooting games, driving games, Golden Tee, Pacman and more. There is a full bar and food is available for order from Surf Shack. Leve 19 is all ages until 8 p.m. and then it is 21 and up. There is also a Golf Swing Suite where you can play courses and different games using real clubs and balls.
If you’re looking for a bit more than arcade games, head to Elev8 Fun in Citrus Park Towne Center. The 125,000-square-foot space houses a massive arcade, full go-kart track with cars for kids and adults, laser tag, duckpin bowling, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, virtual reality games, a Triotech’s XD Dark Ride, a ropes course and much more. PL8 Bar & Grill is now open to keep you fueled up while you play.
A bit further away, Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs is a fun way to spend a day. This interactive museum has over 120 playable games and unique amusement devices set to “Free” play. Purchase a day pass ($14 adult; $8 7-12; free for 6 and under with adult) and play to your heart’s content. They also offer unlimited re-entry on the same day, so you can grab a bite to eat and then come back for more.
Explore St. Pete’s Museum Scene
St. Pete is home to some of the most captivating museums in Tampa Bay, including the iconic Dali Museum. This architectural marvel is packed with surrealism and interesting stories about the artist and his work. And there has never been a better time to visit this quirky museum. Dali alive 360º an immersive, multi-sensory experience, lets you experience the artist’s works like never before with the newly erected Dali Dome. Save money by visiting Thursday evenings, when they stay open until 8 p.m., and offer discounted admission after 5 p.m.
Just up the road, the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg features a collection covering almost 5,000 years of civilization in thousands of objects extending from antiquity to present. It is easy to spend an entire day exploring works of art in air-conditioned comfort. On Saturdays and Sundays, they offer enlightening docent-led tours and the on-site Café Clementine offers delicious food with waterfront views.
Other unique offerings in St. Pete include the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement; the Imagine Museum, showcasing glass art from around the world; and the James Museum of Western Art & Wildlife.
In the heart of the Warehouse Arts district in St. Pete you’ll find Faigrounds St. Pete, an indoor, explorable world of playful immersive exhibits, featuring works by acclaimed artists from Florida and around the globe. It’s a space you have to see to believe.
While Florida is known for fun in the sun, it has its fair share of exciting indoor fun. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun ways to stay cool in these sweltering summer months.