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10 things to do with kids in November in the Tampa Bay area

From hay mazes to mythical sea creatures at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, there are lots of family friendly options in November.
Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota has set up a maze that’s free and an ideal way to let children explore. The maze, which is next to the park’s playground, will be up until after Thanksgiving.
Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota has set up a maze that’s free and an ideal way to let children explore. The maze, which is next to the park’s playground, will be up until after Thanksgiving. [ Nathan Benderson Park ]
Published Oct. 25
Updated Oct. 26

As the weather cools, there are lots of family-friendly options for outings with the kids in November.

1. Hay maze: Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota has set up a maze made of hay bales that is free and an ideal way to let little kids explore. The maze, which is next to the park’s playground, will be up until after Thanksgiving. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Halloween and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Nov. 1. 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota.

The megalodon, the largest shark that ever existed, is included in the Creatures of the Deep exhibit at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which runs through Jan. 31. The exhibit explores the creepy, prehistoric and mythical creatures that lurk beneath the surface of the oceans.
The megalodon, the largest shark that ever existed, is included in the Creatures of the Deep exhibit at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which runs through Jan. 31. The exhibit explores the creepy, prehistoric and mythical creatures that lurk beneath the surface of the oceans. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium ]

2. Legends of the Deep: The new exhibit at Clearwater Marine Aquarium runs through Jan. 31. It explores the creepy, prehistoric and mythical creatures that lurk beneath the surface of the oceans. Displays, artifacts and models tell the stories of creatures like the giant squid and the prehistoric megalodon shark. For an added fee ($9.99), there is a virtual reality experience, “The Legend of Lusca,” that places visitors aboard a mini-submarine and on an action-packed undersea dive with a surprise or two along the way. The main exhibit is included with admission. $32.95, $30.95 seniors, $26.95 age 3-12. Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage. 727-441-1790.

Every Sunday, you can step back in time at the Henry B. Plant Museum and enjoy single-character performances that bring turn-of–the-century Tampa Bay Hotel staff members and guests to life.
Every Sunday, you can step back in time at the Henry B. Plant Museum and enjoy single-character performances that bring turn-of–the-century Tampa Bay Hotel staff members and guests to life. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

3. Upstairs Downstairs at the Tampa Bay Hotel: Every Sunday, you can step back in time at the Henry B. Plant Museum and enjoy single-character performances that bring turn-of–the-century Tampa Bay Hotel staff members and guests to life. You can meet Edith Roosevelt, who visited the Tampa Bay Hotel in 1898 with her husband, Theodore Roosevelt, who was in town with his famous Rough Riders waiting for word to leave for Cuba and fight in the Spanish-American War. Other days, actors portray hotel staff and local dignitaries. $10, $8 seniors, $7 students, $5 children. Storytelling begins at 2 p.m. Sundays. Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. 813-254-1891. plantmuseum.com.

4. Fall mazes: Get lost in a corn maze and pick up some fresh flowers or vegetables at popular farms that are open to the public on weekends in Masaryktown, south of Brooksville. The HarvestMoon Fun Farm and nearby Sweetfields Farm both have fall setups through Nov. 7. Some days are sold out so get tickets online in advance before you head out. You can wander through a 5-acre corn maze at HarvestMoon, where they also have barnyard games, a petting farm, pumpkin patch and tree house. $13.95, 2 and younger free at harvestmoonfl.com. 15990 Stur St., Masaryktown. 727-326-3256. There’s also a corn maze open weekends through Nov. 7 at Sweetfields, where they have a hay play area, crafts and games. $9.75 age 3 and older at sweetfieldsfarm.com. 17250 Benes Roush Road, Masaryktown. 352-279-0977.

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5. Florida Orchestra: Final Fantasy VII Remake: In an unusual bit of programming, the Florida Orchestra will play a program of symphonic arrangements based on the video game series Final Fantasy on Nov. 20-21. Cosplay is encouraged. Grammy Award–winning conductor Arnie Roth will lead more than 100 musicians performing the work of composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy theme song Hollow will be performed live with the orchestra and the Master Chorale chamber singers. High-definition video scenes will be shown from the new game created exclusively for this concert. $35-$95. 8 p.m. Nov. 20 and 2 p.m. Nov. 21. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. 727-300-2000.

6. Dinosaur exhibit: More than two dozen lifelike animatronic dinosaurs are on display at Bradenton’s Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. Dino Don’s DinoVenture is an outdoor exhibition that takes visitors back to the Cretaceous period — when Tyrannosaurus rex was an apex predator. You’ll also find a velociraptor, pachycephalosaurus, known as the “thick-headed lizard,” and quetzalcoatus, one of the largest flying animals that ever existed. “They breathe, blink and flick their tails,” a Bishop news release says. The animals were created by Don Lessem, the dinosaur adviser on Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. The exhibit will be there through March 18. Admission is $10 at bishopscience.org. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. 201 10th St. W, Bradenton.

7. Kids Fun Skate: Every Saturday, United Skates in Tampa offers a deal for a skating session aimed for kids 10 and younger with Radio Disney music playing. The $6 admission includes skate rental. 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays. They also have a Friday night family special 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. where $55 gets four admissions, four skate rentals, plus a pizza and a pitcher of soda. United Skates, 5121 N Armenia Ave., Tampa. 813-876-5826. unitedskates.com.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has introduced an annual pass for families called the Cosmic Club Family Pass.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has introduced an annual pass for families called the Cosmic Club Family Pass. [ DAVID J. PHILLIP | AP ]

8. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: For space fans, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has introduced an annual pass for families called the Cosmic Club Family Pass. The plan includes two adult passes and four child passes for 365 days. The price is a countdown-friendly $432.10. It includes access to exhibits such as Space Shuttle Atlantis, Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, Journey to Mars, the Apollo-Saturn V Center, Rocket Garden, space films and the new Planet Play, a space for ages 2 to 12 to learn about the cosmos. Parking is included with the pass. Single-day admission tickets are $57 per adult and $47 per child ages 3-11. kennedyspacecenter.com.

9. Great Connections: On the second Sunday of every month, Great Explorations Children’s Museum closes to the public from 10 a.m. to noon for children with special needs and their families to enjoy a sensory-friendly event. Offered free for special-needs families, the children’s museum will modify lights and sounds and will provide a “cool down” room for families who need a break. Learn more at greatex.org/programs/great-connections. Opens at 10 a.m. Nov. 14. 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. 727-821-8992.

10. The Battle of Gainesville: A Civil War living history event coming to Dade City’s Pioneer Florida Museum will bring to life the skirmish in Gainesville, site of a railroad junction and depot that was a Civil War battleground on Feb. 14, 1864. There will also be historical presentations, military and civilian displays, blacksmithing demonstrations, merchants and crafters. Costumed battle re-enactments will be at 2 p.m. both days. $10, $5 students. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 20-21. 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. 352-567-0262. pioneerfloridamuseum.org.