How to Get Into Some Tampa and Hillsborough County Attractions, Parks, and Museums for Free

L. Cane

There are arguably plenty of fun attractions to visit in Tampa to keep you or your family busy. However, some of these attractions are expensive. The pricey options may be unattractive when the cost of living for many Hillsborough county households has risen over the past several months.

Fortunately, there is a way to get into many popular museums and attractions in Hillsborough County and Tampa for free. It's relatively easy to do.

What is the Discovery Pass? How Can You Get One?: The Hillsborough County Public Library System has something called a Discovery Pass, which allows the holder to get into participating attractions for free or at a reduced cost.

Examples of attractions participating are the Glazer Children's Museum, Tampa Bay History Center, and Stageworks Theatre, to name just a few. The program began approximately four years ago and has been popular ever since. All you need to get a Discovery Pass is a library card, which is also free. If you don't have one, it's easy to apply.

How Does the Discovery Pass Work? What is the Catch?: Anyone with a library card may request a pass, but occasionally, there are waiting lists for some venues. You can check availability on HCPLC's website. Once your pass is ready, you can get it from any library branch, and it is valid for 7 days.

What Type of Savings Can You Expect with the Pass?: Below is what is being offered at the time of this writing. Note that promotions change. So always check the HCPLC website to see what's available when you want to check out a pass.

Currently, the offerings are:

  • Free admission for up to four people (two adults & two children or one adult & three children) at the Tampa Bay History Center.
  • Free admission for up to 8 people in one vehicle at Hillsborough County Conservation Parks.
  • Free admission for up to four people (two adults & two children or one adult & three children) at the Glazer Children's Museum.

  • One free regular admission to the American Victory Ship and Museum.
  • One free single admission to a 90-minute walking tour and demonstration of the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ at the Tampa Theatre.
  • Free admission for up to four people (two adults & two children or one adult & three children) at the Henry B. Plant Museum
  • Free admission for up to five people (two adults & three children under 18 from the same household) at the Florida Holocaust Museum.
  • $5 off ticket prices for a show at Stageworks Theatre.
  • Free admission for up to four (two adults & two children or one adult & three children) at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.
  • Free admission for up to four people (two adults & two children or one adult & three children) at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Some venues are not participating at this time, but have in the past. They are the Straz Center, the Florida Orchestra, and Big Cat Rescue. Again, check your library's website to find out who is participating because sometimes, new participants come on board, while others stop participating.

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