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In this Tampa Bay CityPASS review, we explore its key features and help you decide if it’s a good fit for your travel plans.
Have a trip to sunny Tampa Bay on the horizon? Beautiful Florida weather, gorgeous beaches, and some of the best theme parks in the world await you!
While fun in the sun is free, Tampa Bay is far from a cheap travel destination. Accommodations can be pricey and attractions like theme parks and aquariums are expensive, too.
When it comes to travel, I turn to two tried and true methods of minimizing costs without sacrificing experiences. I leverage travel credit card rewards for flights and use the best sightseeing passes to do more for less.
With the Tampa Bay CityPASS, you can hit up some of the area’s top tourist attractions for a fraction of the regular price. Interested? I’ll tell you everything you need to know.
What Is the Tampa Bay CityPASS?
The Tampa Bay CityPASS is includes entry to five of Tampa Bay’s six most exciting attractions. Each pass includes four core attractions, with a choice for the fifth slot. It’s valid for nine consecutive calendar days, giving you plenty of time to check out the attractions at your leisure.
The pass itself comes as one ticket for each attraction. Don’t worry, though — you can store them on your smartphone for instant access.
The Tampa Bay CityPASS is convenient because you make one purchase to get all of your tickets. That’s a nice bonus, but the real draw is the incredible savings. The pass can save you up to 54% compared to paying at the gate!
Attractions on the Tampa Bay CityPASS
The Tampa Bay CityPASS includes access to five major tourist attractions. Four of those five are included by default, and you have a choice between the remaining two. Here is the attraction lineup, along with regular adult admission prices:
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay ($123.68)
- The Florida Aquarium ($36.00)
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park ($42.95)
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium ($32.95)
- Museum of Science & Industry ($12.95) or The Tropics Boat Tours ($28.88)
*Current as of May 25, 2021
(Editor’s Note: Some attractions may require reservations. Additionally, some exhibits, rides, and attractions may be unavailable.)
How Much Does the Tampa Bay CityPASS Cost?
Now that you know what’s included, let’s consider its pricing.
|Adult (ages 10+)||Child (ages 3–9)|
|*Current as of May 25, 2021|
I did a double take when I looked at the price of the pass compared to the value of the attractions. The pass costs $122, which is basically the same as the regular admission to Busch Gardens. That means you essentially get four attractions for free!
The Tampa Bay CityPASS offers incredible value, saving adults up to $142.46 — or 54% — on admission prices. And that is per adult!
To hit those savings, you need to visit all five attractions and choose the Tropics Boat Tour (either the dolphin or sunset cruise) for the flexible attraction slot. Regardless, as long as you visit Busch Gardens and one other attraction, you’ll save money.
Get Up to Half Off in Tampa – Explore this bay city and save money! Grab the Tampa Bay CityPASS and save up to 54% on sightseeing! Get yours here.
Tampa Bay CityPASS Attractions Guide
Are you ready to save money in Tampa? Here are all the great places you can visit with the Tampa Bay CityPASS!
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Let’s be real: Busch Gardens is the main draw of this pass. Valued at $123.68, the single-day ticket inside the pass includes all rides, shows, and exhibits. This instantly allows you to get your money’s worth.
Theme park junkies and thrill seekers will easily spend a full day at Busch Gardens. Brave the Falcon’s Fury and take a plunge from the drop tower at 60 mph. Or, race through the African landscape on Cheetah Hunt, a triple launch roller coaster.
If that sounds a little too thrilling for you (I’m with you), there are less-intense rides to enjoy, including kid-friendly ones. You’ve also got interactive animal exhibits, shows, shopping, dining, and more.
Note: Advanced reservations are required.
Another family-friendly attraction, Florida Aquarium is home to thousands of captivating sea creatures. Get hands-on with sharks and stingrays, meet ring-tailed lemurs, and catch a glimpse of Burmese pythons.
When you’re finished exploring the massive indoor exhibits, head outside to cool off at the splash pad. You’ll find two acres of wet and dry play areas that kids will love. The Tampa Bay CityPASS includes access to it all, along with the 4D movie theatre.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
ZooTampa is home to an eclectic collection of animals from around the world. You’ll meet native Florida wildlife one moment and exotic species from Africa and Australia the next. The Australian Children’s Zoo is a special draw, featuring interactive exhibits and rides for the whole family.
ZooTampa also includes the only non-profit manatee hospital in the world. While it’s always amazing to see these majestic creatures, you can feel good about supporting a great cause in the process.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
This is another destination with a mission you can be proud of supporting. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is all about marine life rescue. In fact, you’ve probably heard about its most famous resident – Winter the dolphin. The movie Dolphin Tale is based on her rescue and rehabilitation at CMA, and you can see her and the other resident dolphins when you’re there.
You’ll also meet sharks, otters, and sea turtles from impressive vantage points and observe a real-life animal hospital. Kids and adults alike will love hand-feeding stingrays at the Stingray Beach exhibit.
There’s so much to learn about rescue work in the aquarium’s fun and interactive presentations. Little aspiring marine biologists will be in their element!
Museum of Science & Industry
The Museum of Science & Industry is great for science lovers or anyone who enjoys interacting with cool stuff. It has more than 100 hands-on activities featuring futuristic technology, simulated space travel, paleontology, and more.
The Museum of Science & Industry is a blast for curious kids and adults alike. Its regular admission price is much lower than that of the Tropics Boat Tours, so that might sway you to skip it. All the same, it’s a fun attraction that shouldn’t be dismissed easily.
Tropics Boat Tours
If you choose the Tropics Boat Tours, you actually have another choice to make: the Dolphin Exploration Tour or the Sunset Celebration Cruise. Either will have you enjoying the picturesque Gulf of Mexico off of Clearwater Beach.
The Dolphin Exploration tour is focused on wildlife sighting, particularly the bottlenose dolphin. The Sunset Celebration Cruise is more about those beautiful Florida sunsets. Both last two hours and feature live narration. A cash bar is a nice bonus.
The Dolphin Exploration Tour is a great family activity, while the Sunset Celebration Tour appeals more to adults. Compared to the Museum of Science & Industry, it’s the higher value pick. Reservations are required, so make sure to do a little planning if one of the boat tours is on your wish list.
Other Benefits of the Tampa Bay CityPASS
- Save Up to 54% — Want to cut admission costs in half? The Tampa Bay CityPASS helps you do just that. Depending on the attractions you select, you could save over $142 per adult!
- Valid for Nine Days — The Tampa Bay CityPASS combines massive savings with flexibility — a mix that’s hard to beat. With all-inclusive passes such as the New York Pass, travelers sometimes feel pressure to fit everything into a few days. This pass is valid for nine days, so there’s no need to rush.
- 365-Day Risk-Free Returns — If your plans change, you can return your pass within a year of purchase for a full refund, provided you have not activated it.
Save Big in Tampa – Enjoy five of the area’s top attractions and get half off regular admission prices! Get your Tampa Bay CityPASS here!
Where the Pass Falls Short
The Tampa Bay CityPASS offers impressive value to adult travelers and young kids. A word of caution, though: The value isn’t as high for older children.
The adult pass is for travelers ages 10 and up, but not all the attractions charge 10-year-olds the adult admission price. For example, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Museum of Science & Industry, and The Tropics Boat Tours start adult pricing at age 13. That means that if you bought an adult Tampa Bay CityPASS for your 11-year-old child, it would be impossible to save the 54% that the pass advertises.
That said, the pass is a good buy regardless of age because most of the value comes from Busch Gardens. Just be aware that the savings aren’t quite as great for kids aged 10–12.
Who Should Consider the Tampa Bay CityPASS?
Families — Even though there are a couple of drawbacks when it comes to buying the pass for kids (discussed above), it’s still a good option for families because it can save them a ton of money while offering mostly kid-friendly options. The main draw is Busch Gardens, and a family can easily spend a full day enjoying the theme park. Visit even one other attraction, and you’re saving money.
Theme-Park Fans — Busch Gardens is the feature attraction, so if theme parks are your thing, you’ll get value from the Tampa Bay CityPASS. You may also want to consider the Orlando CityPASS.
First-Time Visitors — If it’s your first time in the area, you’ll likely be interested in hitting up some of the tourist attractions. Luckily, the Tampa Bay CityPASS can help you do that for half price.
Who Should Skip the Pass?
Anyone Not Interested in Busch Gardens — If you won’t visit Busch Gardens, the Tampa Bay CityPASS isn’t worth it. The most you could save if you skip it is $18.78, and that’s only if you picked the Tropic Boat Tours.
Repeat Visitors — If you’ve been to the Tampa Bay area before, you might have a been-there-done-that attitude towards the attractions included on the pass.
Travelers Without a Car — The Tampa Bay area is large, and the attractions on this pass are spread out. Some are 30 to 40 minutes away from each other by car. Busch Gardens, ZooTampa, and the Museum of Science & Industry are near each other, but if you want to visit the other attractions, you’ll need to drive.
Getting the Most Value From Your Pass
Visit All Five Attractions — This should be obvious, but to get the most value from this pass, don’t skip any of the attractions. Why leave money on the table like that?
Do Not Skip Busch Gardens — Whatever you do, don’t skip Busch Gardens. It’s by far the highest-value attraction on the pass. Without it, your opportunity to save is negligible.
Choose the Tropic Boat Tours — The Tampa Bay CityPASS includes a choice for the fifth attraction slot. To maximize your savings, you should choose the most expensive option. Choosing Clearwater the Tropic Boat Tours instead of the Museum of Science & Industry nets you an extra $15.93 in savings per adult. Of course, the pass is still a great deal regardless of which choice you make here.
How to Buy the Tampa Bay CityPASS
Buying the Tampa Bay CityPASS is easy — just buy it online here.
You’ll receive your mobile tickets via email, and you’re all set. Then all you need to do is pull them up on your phone when you need them. If you prefer paper, you can print your tickets at home and carry them with you.
The Bottom Line: Is the Tampa Bay CityPASS a Good Deal?
If you’re keen to visit Busch Gardens and at least one other attraction, you’re guaranteed to save money with the Tampa Bay CityPASS. Most people can easily save more than $100. Is that a good deal? Absolutely!
If you won’t be driving or renting a car, keep in mind that — although there are a few attractions grouped closely together in Tampa — some of the others are in Clearwater and St. Petersburg so they won’t be easily accessible. That said, if you’ll visit Busch Gardens and one of the two nearby attractions, the pass is still a good buy.
Save Up to 54% in Tampa – Want the full Tampa Bay experience? The Tampa Bay CityPASS can help you see the city for half off! Get your Tampa Bay CityPASS here.