15 Best Things to Do in Temple Terrace (FL)

Written by Bart Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Located in Florida’s Hillsborough County just outside Tampa, the city of Temple Terrace was founded in 1920 and incorporated shortly after that.

At the time of the last census, Temple Terrace had a population of about 24,500 residents and is one of the smallest of all the county’s municipalities.

Temple Terrace’s name refers the Temple Orange and also to a man named William Chase Temple, who was born in Florida and went on to be very wealthy and successful; at one time, he owned a National League Baseball team outside the state.

Below are 15 things to do in and around Temple Terrace.

1. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa BaySource: VIAVAL / shutterstock
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Though it’s not technically in Temple Terrace, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is one of the area’s largest and most well-known family attractions and features an animal park that’s been made to resemble wild Africa.

Busch Gardens Tampa is full of engaging and educational activities and sites that are nothing short of amazing for visitors of all ages; many families choose to spend a significant portion of their time onsite.

The park includes thrilling amusement park rides, a world-class zoo, and a number of other dining, shopping, and activity options that are appropriate for all ages and interests.

2. The Claw at USF

The Claw At USFSource: The Claw at USF Golf / Facebook
The Claw At USF

The University of South Florida is a local university with national reach that just happens to sport one of the region’s most popular golf courses; with a name like ‘The Claw,’ it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s a rather wild place.

The 18-hole par-71 course is one of the area’s most challenging and is particularly known for its narrow fairways, abundant water and sand hazards, and a variety of Florida wildlife species that are commonly seen along the way.

Deer, wading birds, and foxes are course residents, and remember that you’re in Florida, so retrieving an errant drive from a lake could mean getting up close to a gator or two.

3. University of South Florida

University Of South Florida, TampaSource: Patrick Tr / shutterstock
University Of South Florida, Tampa

In addition to the golf course on its campus, the University of South Florida offers a number of cultural and sporting activity options; many of them are inexpensive gems often overlooked by out-of-state visitors.

The University has an undergraduate population of just more than 24,000. Its sprawling campus is full of paved paths, treed areas, and attractive buildings that often host events like art and theater shows and guest speakers – including scientists, authors, and historians, to name a few.

USF has good men’s and women’s sports teams too, so check their website for a complete list of events.

4. Temple Crest Park

Parks in Temple TerraceSource: Linda White Wolf / shutterstock
Parks In Temple Terrace

If you’ve never been to Temple Terrace, a quick look on Google Maps will reveal that the city is full of parks and natural areas. Many of them are set along the scenic Hillsborough River and near other attractions like golf courses, restaurants, and museums.

Temple Crest Park is centrally located, and its recreation amenities include softball fields, basketballs courts, playgrounds, and covered seating areas with access to restrooms and built-in barbecue grills.

The park is in the vicinity of East Yukon and North 40th Streets and is near other parks that are free to visit, like Rogers and Rowlet Parks.

5. Greater Hillsborough County Fair

Greater Hillsborough County FairSource: Hillsborough County Fair / Facebook
Greater Hillsborough County Fair

For reasonably priced, family-friendly entertainment that are throwbacks to the past and consistently entertain visitors of all ages, there’s nothing like a county fair to occupy a healthy chunk of vacation time.

The Greater Hillsborough County Fair takes place over seven days in October and includes traditional fair food like corn dogs, funnel cakes, and cotton candy. Once you’ve filled your stomach, you’ll have access to a staggering variety of entertainment options, like carnival-style rides, rodeo events, live entertainment, and arts and crafts.

It all takes place on Sydney Washer Road in nearby Dover, and the cost of admission is reasonable.

6. Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park

Zoo Tampa at Lowry ParkSource: Nicole S Glass / shutterstock
Zoo Tampa At Lowry Park

Comprised of more than 60 acres, Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park is often referred to as Lowry Park Zoo, which was its former name.

Whatever you choose to call it, you’ll likely be impressed to learn that in the last few years it has repeatedly been voted one of the top zoos in the country by travel magazines and websites.

The zoo is located on West Sligh Avenue in Tampa, just a short drive from Temple Terrace off Interstate 275, Exit 48.

The park is home to a considerable number of local and exotic animals and is open daily.

7. Westfield Brandon

Westfield BrandonSource: Skyler Sargent / shutterstock
Westfield Brandon

Truth be told, many visitors to the Sunshine State would rather not spend their valuable vacation time inside a shopping mall that’s probably not much different than the ones in their home towns.

There is, however, something to be said for that intangible Florida aura that many visitors can’t put their fingers on – and it’s something that Westfield Brandon has in abundance.

The mall is one of the area’s newest and most contemporary retail destinations and includes more than 250 stores selling everything from high-end shoes and clothing to books, housewares, jewelry, and bicycles.

There are plenty of dining options and many special events, especially during the holiday season.

8. The Tampa Museum of Art

Tampa Museum of ArtSource: VIAVAL / shutterstock
Tampa Museum Of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art was founded more than four decades ago and is a world-class cultural and artistic attraction. It’s full of both contemporary and traditional art created in a variety of mediums and featuring many local, national, and international influences.

In addition to their thought-provoking exhibits, they offer a variety of events that include guest speakers, instructional and educational courses, and programs specifically designed with little ones in mind.

The museum is open daily and located on West Gasparilla Plaza along the scenic Hillsborough River.

9. The Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry, TampaSource: jared422_80 / Flickr
Museum Of Science And Industry, Tampa

The Museum of Science and Industry is located on East Fowler Avenue and is an appropriate destination for travelers of all ages and interests. Since its founding, it has been focused on preserving and promoting the region’s contributions in the areas of science, business, and technology.

The museum is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the region and includes hundreds of interactive exhibits that touch on space exploration, the natural world, robotics, and industry.

There’s also a dedicated butterfly garden, IMAX Theatre, and regularly scheduled science shows, so check out their website to see what’s on the calendar for when you’ll be in the area.

10. Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa RiverwalkSource: ESB Professional / shutterstock
Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa’s Riverwalk is a popular destination for those who need to stretch their legs and would like to take in some fantastic scenes and beautiful neighborhoods while they’re doing it.

The Riverwalk’s pathways are easily accessible and clearly marked, winding through waterfront areas and public parks. There are many lodging, retail, and dining options within an easy walk, making it a convenient way to experience all the area has to offer without spending hours in the car.

The Florida Aquarium and Historic Monument Trail are big attractions in the area, and there are more than a few museums and live entertainment venues nearby as well.

11. Ybor City Museum State Park

Ybor City Museum State ParkSource: ABrazzeal / shutterstock
Ybor City Museum State Park

Tampa is often referred to as The Cigar Capital of the World, and though there are probably a few people in places like Cuba and Honduras who’d dispute that claim, there’s no doubt that Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood is rich in history and Cuban culture.

Ybor City Museum State Park is located on the grounds of an old bakery from the ‘20s, and the area was home to a large cigar manufacturing industry as well.

The park offers both historical and natural attractions; for those who’d like the inside scoop, there are professional tours available led by well-informed rangers or local volunteers.

12. Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue, TampaSource: Joseph M. Arseneau / shutterstock
Big Cat Rescue, Tampa

Whether they’re panthers from Florida, tigers from India, or lions from Africa, big cats are fascinating and majestic beasts that are wonders to behold.

Though some visitors find it depressing seeing such animals in captivity, the animals at the rescue have few other options and are well cared for by the staff.

The rescue was established in 1992 and now includes more than 100 cats from nearly a dozen species.

A number of guided tour options are available and may include photo-ops, feedings, and night viewings – which makes sense because most cats are nocturnal.

13. The Glazer Children’s Museum

Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa BaySource: VIAVAL / shutterstock
Glazer Children’s Museum

Florida has an abundance of children’s museums, and for those in the Tampa and Temple Terrace areas, none are more popular than the Glazer Children’s Museum on West Gasparilla Plaza.

The museum is dedicated to educating and entertaining kids in a way that fosters participation and interaction – not just casual viewing.

The museum’s activities and exhibits touch on engineering and science, art and the natural world, technology, and history.

There are a variety of staff-led programs that include field trips and summer camps appropriate for children of most ages, so check their website for specific information.

14. The Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing CenterSource: LEVATEC / shutterstock
Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

Many first-time visitors to the Sunshine State don’t know much about the iconic manatees that live in the area’s warm coastal waters.

Manatees are large herbivorous marine mammals that can reach epic proportions and spend most of their time grazing on submerged vegetation. For those who’d like to see them in their natural environment, there’s no better place to do it than the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach.

The center is free to visit, includes a variety of interactive exhibits, and the electric station’s warm water discharge attracts manatees – particularly in the winter months when the coastal water is at its coolest.

15. Astro Skate Family Fun Center

Astro Skate Family Fun Center, BrandonSource: Astro Skate of Brandon / Facebook
Astro Skate Family Fun Center, Brandon

Featuring an original wooden floor, funky retro lighting, and a premium sound system cranking out both oldies and contemporary music, the Astro Skate Family Fun Center in nearby Brandon is the perfect indoor recreation option for when the weather isn’t conducive to being outdoors.

Skate rentals are available, and for those who are having trouble staying upright, there are instructional courses offered.

In addition to skating, the facility offers pool tables, video games, and a snack bar; there’s usually a live DJ too. Special events are offered at different times, so even for non-skaters, it can be a fun and unique way to socialize.

15 Best Things to Do in Temple Terrace (FL):

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • The Claw at USF
  • University of South Florida
  • Temple Crest Park
  • Greater Hillsborough County Fair
  • Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
  • Westfield Brandon
  • The Tampa Museum of Art
  • The Museum of Science and Industry
  • Tampa Riverwalk
  • Ybor City Museum State Park
  • Big Cat Rescue
  • The Glazer Children’s Museum
  • The Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center
  • Astro Skate Family Fun Center