Sitting along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the city of Tampa is not only one of the state’s major business centers, it is also known for its numerous tourist attractions. If you are visiting this wonderful city, planning your itinerary could be quite overwhelming because Tampa has so much to offer indeed. In this article, we highlight the best spots you should not miss when you’re in the area, so you are sure to get the most from your trip.
The Florida Aquarium
One of the top aquariums in the country, The Florida Aquarium offers a unique experience to visitors, with interactive guest-dive programs like ‘Swim with the Fishes’ or ‘Dive with the Sharks’ which lets you swim with these sea creatures and become part of the exhibit. The Aquarium’s latest exhibit, Journey to Madagascar, gives you a glimpse of the unique Island of Madagascar and the diverse animals that call it home, such as ring-tailed lemurs, hissing cockroaches, and colorful chameleons. The Aquarium also offers a 75-minute Wild Dolphin Cruise aboard a 72-foot catamaran, giving you a chance to get a sight of the wild dolphins that call the Tampa Bay home.
Some of the best theme parks across the United States are located in Tampa, FL and Busch Gardens is one of them. In fact, some call it the most beautiful theme park in the world. The theme park is situated in the middle of a nature preserve, so a giant roller coaster ride offers more than just the thrill of the ride but the breathtaking view of the surrounding canopy of trees as well! Speaking of roller coasters, the park is popular for its numerous roller coasters and thrill rides, including SheiKra, the first Dive Coaster in the country and the longest, tallest and fastest in the world at the time of its opening; Tigris, the tallest launch coaster in Florida; Montu, the tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster in the world at the time of its opening; and Falcon’s Fury, the tallest free-standing drop tower in the North American region.
Lettuce Lake Regional Park
Just half an hour from downtown Tampa, the remarkably untouched Lettuce Lake Regional Park offers 240 acres of woodlands and wetlands. If you want to see for yourself how Tampa was before buildings were built around the city, this is the place you need to visit. The river and its surroundings have been left unscathed by real estate or development, making it a unique natural haven. The park features wooded picnic areas and playgrounds, a 1.25-mile paved exercise trail, and 3,500-foot boardwalk. There is an observation tower that provides scenic views of the Hillsborough River.
Nestled on Florida’s west coast near Tampa, Clearwater Beach is the perfect place to go to on your next getaway, with its warm, sunny weather and the crystal clear water. Its close proximity to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Tampa International Airport also makes planning a vacation here a no-brainer. Some of the main attractions to look forward to include family-friendly waterfront activities, fresh seafood, amazing beach bars, and a range of hotels that fit any budget. Don’t miss the nightly sunset celebration at Pier 60. Aside from the breathtaking view of the sunset, you get to enjoy a free show that features local street performers, such as fire-breathers, tightrope-walkers, and jugglers.
Tampa Bay History Center
Learn about the city’s past by visiting the Tampa Bay History Center. This Smithsonian Affiliate Museum features three floors of hands-on exhibits and immersive theaters that will take you on an enthralling journey through 12,000 years of Florida history and the heritage of the Tampa Bay area. Experience hitting the high seas with conquistadors and pirates, walking down the brick streets of Ybor City with Cuban cigar rollers, and saddling up for a cattle drive with Florida’s pioneers. The museum is located along Tampa’s Riverwalk and features waterfront dining at the Columbia Cafe. There is a museum store where you can buy local crafts and artwork.
Tampa Museum of Art
The Tampa Museum of Art is the region’s largest museum devoted to art of our time and has built a reputation for embracing contemporary photography and new media. It prides itself of the 14,000-square-foot LED installation on the Museum’s south facade, which has become an iconic image for Tampa. The Museum is also known for its extensive collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities.
The Dali Museum
Located across Old Tampa Bay, on the St. Petersburg-side of the Bay mouth, you’ll find The Dali – a site dedicated to the life and work of Salvador Dali, a Spanish artist and Surrealist icon best known for his painting of melting clocks, The Persistence of Memory. The entire complex is designed to reflect the famous artist’s style with its warped and structured architecture. There are over 2,000 of Dali’s masterworks on display, which is the second-largest collection of his work, next to the museum in Spain.
Built in 1926, the Tampa Theatre is known as one of the world’s most elaborate theaters, featuring a 1,400-pipe Wurlitzer organ and was constructed to look like a Mediterranean garden with flowers and gargoyles. Take a 90-minute “balcony to backstage” tour which includes a demonstration of the Wurlitzer organ and a narration of the stories, art, and architecture that earned this movie palace a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and Tampa City Landmark status.
The ZooTampa spans 60 acres and features natural habitats, educational shows, interactive animal encounters, water play areas, and rides. You will find a variety of animals from all over the world, including African elephants, koalas, orangutans, penguins, and tigers. Other highlights include a carousel and a section dedicated to Florida wildlife. The zoo also allows visitors to interact with some of the animals – from feeding an Indian rhino to posing for a photo with koala bears.
Indeed, there are countless of beautiful sites to visit in Tampa, Florida. This wonderful city has so much to offer you might even want to live here after visiting it the first time! If you are considering moving here and buying your new home, I will gladly show you all your best options. Feel free to give me a call at (813) 789-2096 or send me an email at [email protected].