Coinciding spring breaks mean busy attractions, increased patrols

- Spring break is officially here for kids in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, as well as the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College. With so many young people out of class, expect to see long lines at area attractions.

It's the first time in several years spring break has fallen on the same week for these schools.

Cory Saporito, a mother of five, said it’s a stressful week for parents to find ways to keep their children entertained.

“It’s chaos. A lot of chaos, but a lot of time to just do things with them, like go to the parks and the local areas,” said Saporito.

Other parents said they’re turning to kid-friendly attractions to fill the time each day.

“[My daughter] has got a program that she’s in at the Glazer Museum downtown,” said father, Shawn Stan.

More than 300,000 Bay Area students will be out of school for the week, and more students on spring break in other cities and states will likely travel to Tampa Bay for vacation. Large crowds will likely fill popular tourist attractions like Clearwater Beach, Busch Gardens in Tampa and Legoland in Winter Haven.

Officials at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa said they are preparing early for the extra visitors.

“We’ll do different queuing lines, more ticket sellers, more people at guest services to answer questions, anything that we can do that makes the guest experience better,” said Rob Lamke, promotions manager at the Florida Aquarium.

He said an estimated 3,500 people will visit the aquarium each day of Spring Break. March is expected to be a very busy month for the aquarium, bringing in an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 visitors in total.

“On Spring Break, even this weekend, when it’s supposed to rain a little bit and maybe drop a little cooler, it’s a great indoor activity for people,” said Lamke.

For teenagers and young adults, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is keeping an eye out for underage drinking. Deputies were sent to area businesses on Friday to warn business owners not to sell to minors.

Keeping business owners on their toes is a part of HCSO's program call "SUCCEED,” which stands for "Sheriff’s Underage Compliance Check Education and Enforcement Detail."

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