Families can spice up their summer as area attractions bring special exhibits and programs.
• Adventure Island: Adventure Island extends its hours for Island Nights, a tropical family event with live entertainment, food trucks, sand sculpting, steel drum music, a kid's zone and a glow-in-the-dark finale. The party runs from 5 to 9 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday June 12 through Aug. 9. Included with park admission: $47, $43 ages 3-9 single day. (Florida resident deal alert: A $47 adult or $43 child's weekday pass gives you unlimited weekday admission, including these tropical family nights now through Sept. 1 with no blackout dates.)
• Florida Aquarium: "World Oceans Days" (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. June 14-15) features activities and programs to understand why water habitats are important. Thursdays June 19-Aug. 14 feature "Summer Fun Days" with extended hours until 7 p.m. and a discounted $15 admission after 4 p.m. The aquarium celebrates the Fourth of July with special entertainment, themed dinner options and extended hours to allow viewing for the fireworks at 9 p.m. A "Labor Day Celebration" (Aug. 31) closes out the summer with extended hours until 8:45 p.m., $15 admission after 5 p.m. and a fireworks viewing at 8:30 p.m. Included with daily admission: $23.95, $20.95 seniors, $18.95 ages 3-12, 2 and younger free; discounts online.
• Museum of Science and Industry: Opening June 14, 3-D Printing the Future — The Exhibition demonstrates the potential for 3-D printing which is undergoing a major revolution. There will be live demonstrations and hands-on 3-D printing. Remains on display through Sept. 30. Included with daily admission: $22.95, $20.95 seniors, $18.95 ages 2-12, 1 and younger free.
• Glazer Children's Museum: Children can learn about famous cities and national landmarks on a simulated coast-to-coast Road Trip USA, a collection of interactive installments with stops including National Parks, Mount Rushmore, Interstate System, Roswell Invasion and Roadside Attractions. Runs June 7 through Aug. 10. Included with daily admission: $15, $12.50 military/seniors, $9.50 children, under 1 free.
• Great Explorations Children's Museum: Summer activities at the hands-on museum include "National Don't Fry Day" (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday) in which families learn about skin cancer prevention with UV Bead Bracelets, sun print paper, sun crafts and games. Also, on Memorial Day (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday) the museum honors those who served in the armed forces with free admission for active duty military personnel, patriotic activities and games honoring our troops. For the Fourth of July (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) you'll find more patriotic-themed games, crafts and activities. Included with daily admission: $10, $9 seniors, 1 and younger free.
• Tampa Bay History Center: "Against All Odds: The Art of the Highwaymen," an exhibit of paintings by 26 African-American artists who prospered by selling their works in the segregated South of the 1950s and '60s, runs June 14-Aug. 17. Included with daily admission: $12.95, $10.95 seniors/teens and students with ID, $7.95 ages 4-12, 3 and younger free.
• Weeki Wachee Springs State Park: Weekends through Sept. 28, kids 3 to 12 can get 20-minute "Mermaid Encounters" for $75. Benefits the Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. At 4:15 p.m. June 28 and July 26, children can hear stories of the sea and have a mystical makeover, including their own mermaid costume at "High Tide Tea Party," where they sip on "seawater" and snack on "seaweed roll-ups" and "mercakes," for $175 (includes a photo). Regular admission is $13; $8 for children.
• Lowry Park Zoo: Every summer brings WaZoo, the annual beer festival featuring 275 beers from around the world, food samples by area restaurants and live music on multiple stages (7:30-10:30 p.m. Aug. 2). Zoo Run Run, a 5K run through the zoo and along Hillsborough River is 7:30 a.m. Aug. 23. The All American Teddy Bear Picnic is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. July 5; included with admission: $24.95, $22.95 seniors$19.95 children, under 2 free.
• Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Each day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 9 through Aug. 17 brings themed family activities, crafts and games. Themes include Mud Pie Day (Mondays), Anything Can Happen Day (Tuesdays), Puppet Theater/Lemonade Stand Day (Wednesdays), Lawn Games Day (Thursdays), Race Day (Fridays), Fairy Houses/Tree Faces Day (Saturdays) and Bromeliad Surprise Day (Sundays). Included with admission: $19, $6 ages 4-11, 3 and younger free.