If you find yourself in the central Florida area and are looking for an attraction to enjoy that is not of the theme park variety, I recommend Tampa Museum of Art. It is the perfect size for a quick dose of culture with kids before you climb onto another roller coaster.
We have visited several times in the last few months and loved it each time. The building is modern and impressive to kids, offering a big interior staircase and big, open galleries.
The last show we saw was A Hundred Years, A Hundred Chairs. (Locals, this show is running for another month - go!), which was a review of the last century through chair design. We spend about an hour looking through the show and each picking out our favorites and even counting to see if indeed there were one hundred chairs (there were).
One of the things that makes the museum great for families is that in addition to the small permanent collection of Greek artifacts (good for Percy Jackson fans), and the kid friendly cafe, is the proximity to a great outdoor space. Just outside the museum is the Hillsborough river and the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The park hosts a splash pad, picnic tables, big grassy lawns and play structures.
We planned for a whole afternoon and brought a picnic lunch and art supplies. After the viewing the exhibitions, we settled in to homemade pizza and tomato salad. Then we started designing our own chairs in our journals while our food digested.
This is such a beautiful area to sit and relax in. Within walking distance is the Glazer Children's Museum, the Florida Museum of Photography Arts, and many restaurants.
We have really taken a liking to this little area in Tampa, and will be there again soon to check out the Henri Cartier-Bresson show.