Last month, my family spent a long weekend in Tampa. The three days were devoted to our kids, and we took them first to the Aquarium and then to the Zoo. I was not overly excited for either one of these activities. The idea of spending hours touring an aquarium and a zoo sounded excruciating. At the Florida Aquarium, we saw more than twenty thousand plants and animals from the local area and beyond. The up-close view of the marine life was fascinating. Plus, there were “touch tanks,” where my kids were able to interact with marine life. It was definitely a learning experience, and there was nearly an endless amount of things to do and see. The Tampa Aquarium is 250,000 square feet and took us all day to explore. I most enjoyed the octopus and shark collection, while my kids were thrilled by the penguins, otters and alligators. The following day, we headed to the Zoo, which is located at Lowry Park in Tampa. This particular zoo is well known for having one of the most beautiful, tropical wildlife settings in the world. My kids were able to feed the giraffes and get up close with wallabies. We saw rhinos, stingrays, monkeys and lorikeets. There was also a roller coaster, bumper boats and a carousel. Although I’ve been to a lot of different zoos, the one in Tampa is by far the best. There is a Manatee Aquatic Center, Primate World, Free-Flight Aviary and Asian Gardens, which provided something interesting for every member of the family. By the time we’d spent two full days at the Aquarium and Zoo, we were all ready to simply relax and enjoy the weather in Tampa. We found a nice quiet spot along the waterfront, and spent the last day of our trip simply playing games and soaking up the sun.