TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2013) – From bone-chilling thrills to family-friendly festivals, visitors to Tampa Bay will have no problem scaring up some exciting Halloween fun this fall.
Busch Gardens is hosting its annual Howl-O-Scream event, which promises to be “the most personally invasive haunted attraction in Howl-O-Scream history” with the introduction of The Experiment. The park’s 225 acres will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun and the chance to ride adrenaline-fueled coasters at night, including Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt. Opening weekend is Friday and Saturday, September 27 and 28. The event then runs Thursday through Saturday nights, Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26 from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Lowry Park Zoo’s ZooBoo is a ghoulish good time for all. Attractions offers a range of “scare factor,” from haunted houses and trails, to Zoo-wide seasonal displays, lights, music, a specialty gift shop, night rides and more. Hours are 7 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 to 10 p.m. on other select nights. This year’s activities take place Oct. 4-5, 11-13, 18-20 and 24-47. The annual Pumpkin Toss will be Friday, Oct. 18 at 11 a.m., where animals get to stomp, chomp, kick, play and pounce on special seasonal treats.
The Florida Aquarium’s Guppyween event takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27, and is the only day they allow costumed animals, ghosts and princesses to roam the aquarium. Younger guests can trick-or-treat from tank-to-tank among more than 20,000 sea creatures, making it an ideal family-friendly Halloween event.
Ybor City is getting in the spirit with Fantasma Fest hosted by the Ybor Merchants Association from October 24-27. The event series kicks off with a celebration of Ybor City’s many flavors with Fantasma Feast on Thursday, October 24, and continues with the Little Monster’s Promenade – trick-or-treating among the merchants in Centro Ybor and a pumpkin patch in the courtyard on Saturday, October 26. Later in the day, participants can roll down 7th Avenue during the first annual Bed Races, where riders on wheeled beds race along three blocks in Ybor City.
Also in Ybor, the Ybor City Chamber will be presenting the 28th Annual Guavaween Costume Contest Saturday, October 26 at the Centro Ybor Stage. There will be live music and cash prizes for a variety of contests, including best costume.
In the heart of the Hyde Park Historic District is the Pumpkin Patch at Hyde Park Village. Open Oct. 10-30, the patch will hold plump pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, as well as festive photo opportunities. The patch is open Monday-Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A month-long Fall Festival at Horse Power for Kids will take place Oct. 5-27 on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., complete with hay rides, face painting, farm animals, bonfire, games, music, scarecrow contest and more.
At the Old Tampa Book Company, enjoy a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. From Oct. 23-31, search for a Halloween-themed book about ghosts, demons or vampires in a section where it doesn’t belong during their ‘7 Days, 7 Freaky Finds’ event. Clues will be posted on the book store’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Other unique activities include the Halloween SUP Social (Stand Up Paddleboarding) at Urban Kai with the option to dress up and paddle board in the festive spirit, a Halloween hot glass demonstration at a special Ghoulish Glass event at the Phoenix Glass Studio and Gallery, and the “Wanted Dead or Alive” Murder Mystery Dinner at Ybor City’s Spaghetti Warehouse.
For more information and events calendar, go to VisitTampaBay.com, or follow us on Facebook (Visit Tampa Bay) or Twitter (@VisitTampaBay).