Busch Gardens Tampa - According to Fodor's Travel Guides, "The 335-acre adventure park's habitats offer views of some of the world's most endangered and exotic animals. You can experience up-close animal encounters on the Serengeti Plain, a 65-acre free-roaming habitat that is home to reticulated giraffes, zebras, white rhinos, bongos, impalas, and more. Many consider the six roller coasters to be the biggest lure. SheiKra, North America's first dive coaster, opened in mid-2005. On the wings of an African hawk, riders fly through a three-minute journey 200 feet up, then plunge 90 degrees straight down at 70 miles per hour." Park hours vary but are typically between 10am-6pm. Busch Gardens is located at 3000 E. Busch Blvd., eight miles northeast of downtown Tampa and two miles east of I-275, Exit 50, Tampa.
Tampa also boasts the Florida Aquarium and the nationally-acclaimed Lowry Park Zoo ("rated best zoo for kids" in 2009 by Parenting magazine).
If that's not enough fun, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld in Orlando are about a two hour drive east on I-4.