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Tampa Bay CityPASS Review: Is it Worth it?

Are you planning to visit sunny Tampa Bay? The gorgeous Florida weather, stunning beaches, and tons of exciting theme parks await you!

Tampa Bay has so many attractions, and choosing where to go in a limited amount of time is quite daunting. But don’t worry, I’ve discovered the perfect solution! The Tampa Bay CityPASS will help you conquer this seemingly impossible task. Read on to know more.

CityPASS Tampa Bay Package: See the Best Sights for Less

Although new to Florida, this pass isn’t a new concept. The company’s founders, Mike Morey and Mike Gallagher, have vast experience in tourism.

They realized that tourists should explore cities like theme parks: one ticket for all attractions. CityPASS booklets have been available since 1997 – over 20 years already! These are sold for the following cities:

Who Should Consider Using Tampa Bay CityPASS?

tampa bay citypass

Families

This is an excellent choice for families because of the money saved while having kid-friendly options.

The main attraction is Busch Gardens, where the family can spend the day at the theme park. But just visit one additional attraction; the pass is already worth it.

Theme-Park Fanatics

Busch Gardens should be part of your itinerary if you love theme parks. You’ll get a great deal from the attraction pass.

Don’t forget to bring your camera!

First-time visitors

Planning the itinerary is quite overwhelming for first-time visitors. The pass will spare you the hassle at half the price.

See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights

Who is Better Off NOT Buying the Pass?

Anyone not planning to visit Busch Gardens.

The pass is not worth it if you’re not interested in going to the Busch Gardens. You will save approximately $18 only if you choose the Tropic Boat Tours.

Repeat visitors.

Repeat visitors will likely have a been-there-done-that mindset. They’ve probably already visited all the attractions included in the pass at least once.

Tourists who don’t have a car.

The Tampa Bay Area is vast, and several attractions are spread throughout the area. Some of them are 30 to 40 minutes apart from each other.

ZooTampa, Busch Gardens, and the Museum of Science and Industry are close. However, you’ll need to drive if you plan to go to other attractions.

How Does Tampa Bay CityPASS Work?

tampa bay citypass

The CityPASS Tampa Bay package gives access to 5 out of 6 of Tampa Bay’s most exciting attractions. Every pass has four main attractions:

· Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Rides

A theme park housing approximately 12,000 animals. The kids will enjoy seeing rhinos, cheetahs, and giraffes. It also has exciting rides like the Cheetah Hunt, a triple-launch coaster.

· ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa at Lowry Park Sign
TampAGS, for AGS Media, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

ZooTampa won the Best Kids Attraction in the Best of South Tampa 2021 awards by Tampa Magazine. It has 56 acres of breathtaking animal exhibits in a tropical garden setting.

They also have the only non-profit manatee hospital worldwide. So, aside from the joy of seeing these creatures, supporting a great cause is also nice.

· The Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium Building
Sunshower Shots – stock.adobe.com

This aquarium has over 20,000 sea creatures. It also has an expansive outdoor water adventure zone for children. There’s also a cantina nearby for adults.

One of its main attractions is the Wild Dolphin Cruise. It’s a 75-minute experience that starts at the aquarium in Tampa’s famous waterfront district.

· Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
image by jdg32373 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The aquarium houses the famous dolphin “Winter”, the star of the Dolphin Tale movie together with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. Other sea creatures like otters, sharks, turtles, pelicans, and stingrays also stay in the aquarium.

Now, here’s where the Tampa Bay CityPASS gets interesting: You get to choose the attraction for the 5th slot:

· The Tropics Boat Tours Sunset or Dolphin Cruise

Cruise in Tampa, Florida

Take in the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico’s emerald green waters, and try to spot the Bottlenose Dolphins on the Dolphin Exploration Tour.

You can also choose the Sunset Celebration Cruise. Watch the Florida sunset with your loved ones — if you’re lucky, you may see the famous green flash.

· Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry Entrance
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is Tampa’s premier science center. Curious minds can learn about robotics, space science, engineering, paleontology, the human body, and many more topics.

See Related: Best Golf Bachelor Party Destinations

How to get the Tampa Bay CityPASS

tampa bay citypass

It’s easy to get and use the Tampa Bay CityPASS tickets!

Once your booking is confirmed, you may begin your adventure right away! You can also use it within a year of purchase. Also:

  • You can use the pass for nine consecutive calendar days. You’ll have sufficient time to enjoy the attractions at your leisure. There’s one ticket for every attraction. These tickets can be stored on your smartphone for easy access.
  • The tickets will be sent via email after the booking is confirmed. These are valid for one-time admission only unless otherwise specified. Adults must prepare their IDs.
  • You can enjoy Tampa Bay’s best attractions while saving time and money. You can print out and show the paper or electronic ticket on your phone upon entry.

Always check the instructions in the ticket for more information on how to use it.

What payment methods are available for CityPASS?

CityPASS accepts Union Pay, Discover, PayPal, American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. Gift cards are not accepted. You can also use Amazon Payments (Pay with Amazon). Payment will retrieve your Amazon account information. You no longer need to enter your credit card information or address again.

See Related:  San Antonio City Pass Review

What happens when one of the attractions is closed?

The CityPASS team will try to give you an alternate attraction to visit. If they can’t do that, you can request a partial refund.

Fortunately, they closely coordinate with their partner attractions. They also post announcements of attraction closures on their website. Check out for any announcements before going to the location.

See Related: Going (Formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) Review

How to Make the Most Out of the Tampa Bay CityPASS

Visit all five attractions.

This should already be obvious. It would be best to visit all the attractions to make the most of this pass. Don’t leave money on the table!

Don’t skip Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Whatever happens, don’t take Busch Gardens out of your itinerary. It has the highest value out of all the attractions in the attractions pass. Without visiting, you probably won’t be saving anything with your purchase of a Tampa Bay CityPASS.

Pick the Tropic Boat Tours.

As you know, you get to choose the attraction for the 5th slot in your pass. So, always pick the most expensive option.

If you pick the Tropic Boat Tours instead of the museum, you’ll save approximately $15. But of course, you’re still saving some money, no matter your pick.

CityPASS Tampa Bay FL: Pros and Cons

tampa bay citypass

If you’re having difficulty deciding if you’ll book the passes, the best way to settle this is to weigh the pros and cons.

Pros

Here are the top reasons why getting the pass will help you on your trip.

  1. You’ll be able to make the most of your stay. You’ll save lots of time since you’ll no longer stand in line to buy tickets at each attraction.
  2. The fixed cost reduces the chance of going over your budget when figuring out an itinerary.
  3. Planning is simpler! You know right away what to expect and do during the trip.
  4. The pass is valid for several days. It allows you to be flexible with your plans and make last-minute changes.
  5. You’ll enjoy expedited service at most attractions. No more long lines!
  6. You will only have one ticket booklet. That makes it easier to keep track than keeping several loose single tickets.
  7. You can return the unused CityPASS for up to 1 year from the purchase date. You’ll be entitled to a full refund. Unfortunately, the refund doesn’t apply to theme park tickets.

Cons

Although the Tampa Bay CityPASS sounds like a good deal, it also has downsides.

  1. You’ll be wasting your money if you don’t visit all the attractions in your booklet.
  2. I focused solely on using the pass. You’ll miss out on trying other tourist attractions, especially free ones like parks or beaches.
  3. You may not be able to savor the experience in each spot if you try to rush in between attractions to try and maximize your money.
  4. The pass is non-transferable. If you plan to give this, you must gift the whole booklet. You can’t use some tickets and give away the remaining ones.
  5. Spontaneity and excitement about your options while traveling may vanish if you hitch your wagon to all the pre-arranged commitments.
  6. Not all attractions charge 10-year-old kids the adult admission price. For instance, the adult pricing for Tropics Boat Tours starts charging kids aged 13. If you bought a pass for an 11-year-old kid, you wouldn’t save as much as what’s advertised. If anything, you’re wasting it on some attractions if you have younger kids.
  7. The CityPASS Tampa Bay is beneficial for travelers who have a specific itinerary. Other people may find this kind of commitment stifling.

See Related: GoCity Amsterdam Review: Is it Worth it?

CityPASS Tampa Bay Florida: The Final Verdict

tampa bay citypass

Taking into consideration all of the information above, here’s how I would rate the Tampa Bay CityPASS:

Ease of Use: 5/5

Easily, the best part about CityPASS Tampa Bay is that they are straightforward to use! You can download the tickets on your device to show them everywhere. You can print and bring them if you’re not techie enough.

Features: 4/5

I will knock off one point just because the attractions included can’t be customized. Some may prefer to go to the Museum of Science and Industry AND Tropics Boat Tours.

It’s sad that you only have to choose between these two.

Value for Money: 5/5

Just by visiting Busch Gardens alone, the cost of the pass is already worth it. Your family, especially the kids, will have a blast with world-class adventure rides, live entertainment, and exotic animals.

Five attractions for the price of one is definitely an offer you shouldn’t miss.

Customer Service: 3/5

You can contact customer service agents via live chat, toll-free phone, and email. They are available seven days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Eastern time.

Tampa Bay CityPASS reviews are mixed when it comes to customer service. Some were lucky to have helpful agents; some, unfortunately, are reportedly impatient.

Is the Tampa Bay CityPASS worth it?

Tampa Bay CityPASS Review: Is it Worth it?

Are you planning to visit Florida's sunny Tampa Bay? Check out this Tampa Bay CityPASS review and get the most out of your trip!

Product Brand: Tampa Bay CityPASS

Editor's Rating:
4.1

Pros

  • Make Most of Your Stay
  • Fixed Cost
  • Planning is More Simple
  • Valid for Several Day
  • Expedited Service

Cons

  • A Waste of Money if Not Maximized Focused Solely on Using the Pass Rush Tour in Between Attractions The Pass is Non-Transferable Beneficial to Travelers With Specific Itinerary

Determining if the CityPASS Tampa Bay package is cost-effective depends on your destination and the attractions you want to visit. Not wanting to bore you with the math, I’ll spare you the hassle of combing through other Tampa Bay CityPASS reviews to get an answer here.

You’ll get a great deal when you consider the individual prices of the six attractions. For example, the price of one pass (adult or child) is almost the same for admission to Busch Gardens.

That’s like entry to four attractions for free! CityPASS Tampa Bay has incredible value: adults can save up to 54% – over half of entry per adult.

FAQs

Do I get free parking with Tampa Bay CityPASS?

Unfortunately, the pass does not include transportation and parking at all attractions. Special ticketed attractions, food, and drinks are also not included.

Are CityPASS discounts offered for first responders, seniors, police, students, teachers, military, or groups?

Unfortunately, discounts are not offered to these groups. According to the company, the pass already provides significant savings for the best theme parks and attractions.

Some military bases may discount members who buy passes through the base. It’s highly recommended to contact the CityPASS office for more information.

Can I get a refund on my CityPASS?

Absolutely! CityPASS has change and refund policies in place. You can cancel for free on the day of purchase. However, cancellation must also be made at least two days before the intended use date. Please note there is a 100% cancellation fee if you cancel two days before the use date. Unfortunately, partial cancellation of confirmed bookings is not permitted.

What must I prepare when using the Tampa Bay CityPASS?

Try to plan before heading out to the attractions. Most are operating at lower capacity due to the pandemic, and some require reservations.

Planning during busy seasons such as spring break, summer, and holidays is also advisable. The CityPASS Travel Guide contains helpful information, such as entry instructions, reservations, and hours of operation. Avoid the disappointing experience of walking into a location only to discover they’re closing in 10 minutes.

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