Al Lopez Park

One of Tampa’s most popular parks offers activities for all the family. Among the highlights are walking trails, three playgrounds, picnic areas and a zone for dogs.

Pack a picnic basket, lace up your walking shoes and head for Al Lopez Park. This 132-acre (53-hectare) expanse is a recreational favorite of locals and visitors alike, who come to walk, rollerblade, bike, picnic, and play baseball and football. Dotted among the greenery are two ponds, a walking trail and children’s playgrounds.

The area was formerly known as Horizon Park. It was renamed in 1992 to honor baseball legend Al Lopez, who was a Tampa native. See the life-sized statue of him near the main entrance.

The park is a popular spot for picnics and barbecues, especially during the football season. It’s situated next to Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There are free public grills and plenty of places to spread out. You can rent a picnic shelter that includes tables, chairs and electricity. For details and prices, check the City of Tampa’s official website.

Go for a bike ride, or run or stroll along the park’s paved trail. It is divided into two sections. The southern loop is for cyclists, while the northern loop is for foot traffic. Al Lopez stays open after dark, so the trail is well lit at night. The northeastern edge of the loop extends into a nature trail that passes through wooded areas.

Let the children run, jump, climb and spin in the three playground areas. They feature climbing and slide structures, separate play areas for older and younger kids, a talking hopscotch mat and a musical turf section that plays tunes when it’s stepped on.

If you are traveling with dogs, take off their leashes and let them roam inside the fenced off dog area toward the back of the park.

Al Lopez Park is located in northwest Tampa. It’s open every day and parking is free.

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