Not only is Tampa one of Florida's premier business centers, but it offers much to do for those who live in Florida's Gulf Coast as well as for those visiting. Downtown Tampa is a city that offers much to do for both young and old alike. It's filled with urban parks, hip venues to hang out in, along with cool restaurants, and incredible restorations of very historic structures. When in Florida, Tampa is one place you don't want to miss.
The riverwalk is an approximately 3-mile trail that traverses the Hillsborough River. It offers something for everyone. You can bike, rollerblade, or look at numerous public art exhibits. When it's lunchtime, there are some quaint restaurants to choose from; to quench your thirst, pick a pub and sip on something cold while enjoying the Tampa sunshine. Situated along the route, too, is the Tampa Aquarium and the Glazer Children's Museum.
Located on the southeastern edge of downtown, the Tampa Aquarium is home to approximately 14,000 animals. Some have said it took them almost three hours to see everything this amazing aquatic mecca had to offer. The aquarium offers a multitude of attractions for adults and kids, including a splash pad area, an outdoor area with geysers, dump buckets and spray places.
If traveling to Tampa with young children, the Glazer Children's Museum is a must-see destination. The museum is a 53,000 square foot space packed full of permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as interactive exhibits that teach kids about art and science, and math. There is something for everyone at the museum, whether it's developing a train route, using lego building blocks or designing a perfect paper airplane.
This venue is much more of a sanctuary than a zoo. Situated on 67 acres, the Big Cat Rescue houses more than 100 animals from more than 14 varying species. The cats usually rest during the day, so if you want to when they are more active, sign up for a feeding or night tour. The mission of this sanctuary community is to end the extinction of big cats in the wild. It also seeks to instill in those visiting the importance of protecting big cats and fostering laws that seek to end the abuse of animals. Visiting the Big Cat Rescue will help provide the resources to help in their mission.
The Tampa Bay History Museum is a great resource for those wanting to find out more about Florida's first inhabitants. Situated on Tampa's waterfront, it encompasses 60,000 square feet and showcases 12,000 years of Florida history with exhibits, educational films, and interactive displays. The museum's interactive features will captivate the attention of all visitors regardless of age.
If you are a live theater buff, then a visit to the Tampa Theater is an experience you can't miss. This ornate theater was built in 1926 and is known to be one of the world's most elaborate. While visiting the theater, make sure to take the 90-minute "balcony backstage" tour. You will see a demonstration of the Wurlitzer theater organ, as well as all the details that earned the theater its spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Armature Works Heights Public Market is a 22,000 square foot warehouse of retail shops, places to eat, and a rooftop bar. There is also a unique event held called "Show + Tell" Workshop, where there are product demonstrations, cooking classes, and wine tastings. The Armature Market was originally where the city's electric streetcars were stored and maintained; it now offers visitors a wonderful architectural experience.
Who wouldn't love a day at Busch Gardens? This 297-acre space of fun and frolic awaits the arrival of those visiting Tampa. Busch Gardens is the home of 12,000 animals, restaurants for every taste, roller coasters, and other fun amusement activities. There is something for everyone at this fun spot. If you love animals, thrill-seeking, and educational opportunities, then a visit to Busch Gardens is a must.
Another venue for animal lovers is the Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center. This viewing center if a very special place, with its colorful displays of about the manatee and its habitat. The tidal walk is one of the key features of the center where visitors can view a wide variety of animal life, as well as diverse plant species, and trees. At the end of the walk, tourists can view the manatees in the warm waters surrounding the power station. If you are looking for a wonderful break in a busy itinerary, then a visit to see the manatees is just what you need.
If you are a lover of antiques, architecture, and want to experience the Gilded Age, you need to visit the Henry B. Platt Museum is a place you do not want to miss. The museum is housed in the infamous Moorish Revival Tampa Bay Hotel located on the campus of the University of Tampa. The museum contains many permanent exhibits housed in the refurbished rooms of the old hotel, equipped with artifacts and architectural amenities that reflect the Victorian Era origins of the facility. There is also a wonderful "Christmas Stroll" that takes place every December, where the museum is decked out in holiday trimmings.