11 Reasons You’ve GOT to Visit Bonnet Springs Park and Downtown Lakeland

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Finding new ways to spend time together is one of the many fun things about being in a relationship. Bonnet Springs Park is just about an hour from Tampa Bay, and it is totally date-worthy. This brand-new privately built park on the outskirts of downtown Lakeland is a new place to play in Tampa Bay. And, we have a feeling it will quickly become one of your favorite ways to spend time together.

Here are 11 reasons to visit Bonnet Springs Park

1. The Florida Children’s Museum

At 47,800 square feet, the museum is two-stories of non-stop, kid-friendly fun! And, here’s the best part…it appeals to a wider audience with the exhibits designed for kids of all ages and stages from babies to up to 12 years old.

2. 168 acres of space

The 168-acre park sits on the property of an old rail yard that helped put Lakeland on the map and it’s happening all over again with the transformation of this quadrant near downtown. Our sibling site, Tampa Bay Parenting recently got a private tour with Bonnet Springs Park CEO Josh Henderson to help you map out your family’s adventure to this new gem in Tampa Bay and Central Florida.

3. Continous loop around the park

Bonnet Springs Park is huge and may seem overwhelming, however, all of the attractions are connected by a 1.7 mile long paved loop called the Lakeland Regional Health Circulator. Walk, ride a bicycle, or foot-powered scooter on the circulator. It’s also stroller and wagon friendly.

A tram continuously loops around the park with six stops along the way. Henderson says they’ll have 2-3 trams running at a time.

Bonnet Springs Park Map
Bonnet Springs Park Map

4. Multiple play areas

Whether you’ve got kids along with you, or you’re just enjoying some fresh air outdoors together, the multiple play areas around Bonnet Springs Park are a big reason to visit.

People of all ages will enjoy cooling off with a walk through the water misters which are similar to the ones we LOVE at Julian B Lane Park in Tampa!

5. Los Trompos

One of the prettiest play areas in Bonnet Springs Park is Los Trompos. The colorful merry-go-rounds are inspired by a popular international child’s toy that kids can play in. Los Trompos means “spinning tops” in Spanish.

colorful play equipment at Los Trompos section of Bonnet Springs Park - Laura Byrne
Los Trompos Bonnet Springs Park – Laura Byrne

“They are very fancy merry-go-rounds. I think this will become selfie central when they come out here and get an opportunity or ride and take pictures,” said Henderson.

6. The Crenshaw Canopy Walk

We just have to mention the Canopy Walk. Imagine a stroll, hand-in-hand, along this shaded walkway. What a simple and beautiful way to connect with each other.

It’s a great way to seek some shade while enjoying the beauty of the park from heights as high as 25-feet in the air. It is not a loop and connects you over to the Family Lawn area near the Florida Children’s Museum and The Depot Cafe. 

Bonnet Springs Park Canopy Walk - Laura Byrne
Bonnet Springs Park Canopy Walk – Laura Byrne

7. Zoe’s Butterfly House

What’s sweeter than seeing gentle butterflies together? Zoe’s Butterfly House is popular with families, yet couples can enjoy quality time here too. Again, you’ll find it as you make your way along the 1.7 mile circulator of the park near the Event Center.

Step inside the butterfly house to learn more about native plant species and the pollinators that call Florida home.

8. The Givewell Community Foundation Nature Center

This is another beautiful spot along your journey around the Bonnet Springs Park circulator and a great place to cool off and seek some shade while learning more about the plants and animals in the park. You’ll also discover the efforts to restore this land to its natural beauty.

There are several interactive exhibits for children and adults.

RELATED: If you like spending time outside together, check out these outdoor activities for adults in Tampa.

9. The Boathouse

Right next to the Nature Center is the Boathouse where you will eventually be able to rent a kayak and standup paddle board on the manmade Blanton Family Lagoon.

Bonnet Springs Park Boathouse - Laura Byrne
Bonnet Springs Park Boathouse – Laura Byrne

10. The Eats at Bonnet Springs Park

The Depot Cafe next to the Florida Children’s Museum features a rooftop bar for snacks and drinks. Couples are going to love the views from this casual rooftop spot.

You can also grab coffee and snacks over at the Welcome Center as well which will feature Starbucks Coffee.

Rooftop Bar at Bonnet Springs Park - Laura Byrne
Rooftop Bar at Bonnet Springs Park – Laura Byrne

Related: Outdoor Dining in Tampa Bay

11. An Easy Day Trip in Downtown Lakeland

If you want to experience even more of the Lakeland community, you should definitely explore downtown Lakeland, about an 8 minute drive from Bonnet Springs Park. The Joinery is a food hall that has something for every tastebud and beautiful views of Lake Mirror.

You can explore inspiring art installations, bakeries, breweries and more. Our other sibling site, Orlando Date Night Guide walks you through all the incredible places you can’t miss in Downtown Lakeland.

exterior of The Joinery in Downtown Lakeland - Laura Bryne
The Joinery in Downtown Lakeland – Laura Byrne

Where exactly is Bonnet Springs Park located?

Bonnet Springs Park nestles up to the outskirts of downtown Lakeland off George Jenkins  Boulevard. If you’re plugging it into your GPS the address is: 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd in Lakeland.

If you’re coming from I-4, it’s about 7-10 minutes from the exit point at exit 28/US-92.

Is it free to go to Bonnet Springs Park?

Yes!! It is free to go and it’s free to park as well. While the park is a privately funded park, it’s the sponsorships and community support that have brought the park to life.


Make a full day of it and enjoy one of these Drive-In Movie Theaters in Tampa Bay, including near Lakeland.


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