Valerie Kalfrin

13 low-cost ways to keep kids occupied in Tampa this summer

Kids climb a rock wall at the Glazer Children's Museum, which offers free admission on the first Tuesday of each month. / Courtesy of the Tampa Tribune

Kids climb a rock wall at the Glazer Children’s Museum / Courtesy of the Tampa Tribune

Right about now, two weeks after school let out for the summer in Hillsborough County, August seems awfully far away. Even with play dates and enjoyably lazy days, odds are, your youngster has proclaimed, “I’m bored.”

We’re blessed with a variety of summer day camps and classes in the Bay area, offering animal encounters, cooking lessons, dancing, soccer, even filmmaking. But if your budget’s tight, your kids are too young, or other family issues rule these out, we can understand if you’re wondering just what you can do with your kids this summer besides hitting the beach, the park or the mall.

In today’s Tampa Tribune or online here, I highlight some free and low-cost options you might not have discovered, including nature trails, splash pads, crafts, movies, and two of our family’s favorites: Wonders of Nature, the traveling wildlife show hosted by former zookeeper Matt Edmunds at local libraries; and the Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs, a vintage arcade boasting more than 100 pinball machines and video games such as Galaga, Centipede, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man.