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Hands down, the most popular destination for kids (as well as adults) is Fort DeSoto Park. Fort DeSoto is an island just off the southern tip of St. Petersburg and features the grounds of a historic fort, beautiful beaches, hiking trails, bike trails, kayaking and camping.
Beyond Fort DeSoto, St. Petersburg attractions for kids are largely educational and may not appeal to the vey young. There is one that is designed just for children called Great Explorations. It has a lot of different kinds of interactive exhibits for kids ranging from things you would see in a Museum of Science to more humanities types exhibit like music. Its mission statement is to "Stimulate learning through creativity, play and exploration". It is located near downtown on the same grounds as the Sunken Gardens.
Other than that the most "happening" attraction that would appeal to children would be the Pier Aquarium, a small though interesting aquarium on the St. Petersburg Pier. The aquarium is strictly small to medium fish - no sharks, dolphins or marlin types. There are a number of other museums in the area but none specifically geared for children.
The kids will just love all of the attractions of the barrier island to the west of St. Petersburg. From St. Pete Beach on the southern tip to Clearwater Beach on the north end, there are beaches galore. There is also the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary which is a free seabird rehabilitation center that can give the little ones an up close and personal experience with some of the area wildlife. In Clearwater, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium also provides an intimate setting to see dolphins, otters, turtles and manta rays. Of course there are also the big attractions that will really ring their bell - Busch Gardens Amusement Park and the Tampa Aquarium, both in nearby Tampa. Take your kiddo's swim suit if you go to the Tampa Aquarium or they will be disappointed to not go into the splash pool. Dolphin and wildlife boat excursions are available from John's Pass Village in Madiera Beach, the Marina in Clearwater Beach and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium excursions are probably the best choice where kids are involved.
Just north of St. Petersburg, the Largo Central Railroad has a little over a mile of miniature railroad track set up in Largo's Central Park. These are not miniatures like the H&O table models but large enough for a grown man to straddle and ride through tunnels and other specially designed landscaping. While this will appeal to the kiddos, it is not built primarily as an attraction for kids. It is the working project of a group of model railroading enthusiasts. The group offers public runs on the first full weekend of every month and on designated dates. See their event schedule on their web site for more information.
The older kids might enjoy a day of laser tag at Laser Extreme in Clearwater. A new laser tag store is coming to St. Petersburg and should be open by the summer of 2006 (hopefully before) to the 200 block of 38th Avenue North. There is no word on which company it is.