Tampa Bay Downs offers recreation for people of all ages in the bay area


Tampa Bay Downs is an entertainment facility that features activities for adults, children and horse racing fans alike.

“There’s nothing more exciting than seeing top caliber horses racing, and racing to the wire,” said Margo Flynn, the vice president of marketing and publicity.

Live racing is open to the public on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Flynn explained that this year, because the Florida weather has not been as warm as usual, attendance has dropped. Although, February and March are the Downs’ strongest months, so Flynn is looking forward to a great season as well as some of the biggest race days.

Many of the horses that have previously run at Tampa Bay Downs have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, the annual horse race held in Louisville, Kentucky.

“There’s great alumni coming out of this facility, so you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to see the next great champion, and we’ve been fortunate to see many,” said Flynn.

The racing season begins at the end of November and ends on the Sunday after the day of the Derby, which is the first Saturday in May. This doesn’t mean the facilities are empty during the offseason.

There are two days during the summer when Tampa Bay Downs offers live racing, and they make it special by turning it into a festival. There are live concerts in the evening. Last year they had Corgi races.

There are also other events on the property between racing seasons like the Oldsmar October Fest.

During the offseason, poker is offered daily in the Silks Poker Room from 10 a.m. until 4 a.m. year-round.

The driving range is adjacent to the facility. It is also open all year.

On Sundays in February and March, Tampa Bay Downs offers family-friendly activities. These days are free admission and children can enjoy pony rides, bounce houses, face painting and other games.

“There has also been a big boom in children’s birthday parties,” said Flynn.

“All they have to do is bring their own cake and they’re set, the kids are entertained, and the adults have a great day watching the horse races.”

They encourage families to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day out watching the races.