The diverse town of Tampa, situated on the west coast of Florida, has something for everyone. Downtown Tampa is a mixture of historic buildings and shiny, new skyscrapers, museums, restaurants and an entertainment stadium called, Amalie Arena. Home to the Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey team, the arena also hosts basketball and football games, but music aficionados associate this arena, which seats 21,500, with live performances by famous artistes.
Located northeast of downtown Tampa is Ybor City, a National Historic Landmark District, originally founded by Cuban and Spanish immigrants. For 50 years until the depression in the 1930s, this 1 square mile neighborhood became the cigar-rolling capital of the U.S. By day this district bustles with students and businessmen riding the famous yellow streetcar, but at night it comes alive. Bars and clubs pump out live music, the most popular being the Friday night dance party and the many eclectic restaurants are packed with locals and tourists.
For something a little different, visit Tampa Florida’s Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI). With a planetarium, a simulated roller-coaster ride and exciting programs for children and adults, you will discover things you never knew about scientific facts, the human body or get your adrenaline pumping on The Sky Trail® Ropes Course. Located inside the museum is Florida’s only IMAX Theater showing 3D blockbusters on a large screen.
For animal lovers, there is Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, a 63 acre non-profit organization featuring animals in designated sectors. To see wallabies and koalas, head for Wallaroo Station where there are rides for children and a petting zoo. Savanna Reserve is home to elephants, giraffes and zebras and ‘Expedition Africa’, a Jeep-drawn tram meanders through African species’ habitats for an up-close experience. For apes and monkeys visit Primate World, for tigers and bears head for the Asian Gardens. A new water-based area called Roaring Springs is due to open in spring 2018.
Located on a larger scale is Tampa Florida’s Busch Gardens®. This 335 acre African-themed park is the ultimate family adventure, with shops, restaurants and professional shows. To see the park from a different perspective, ride the tree-top gondola, which transports you to various stations or try zip-lining. With 10 amazing rides to experience, one day is not enough to enjoy all the activities. In June 2016, their newest ride Cobra’s Curse opened. It starts with carts being elevated to a 70-foot-tall tower before veering left and plunging vertically down at speeds up to 40 mph. Carts then brake, turn backwards, rise uphill and spin as they descend and bank. Not a ride for the fainthearted.
Across the road from Bush Gardens is Tampa’s water park Adventure Island®. With the opportunity to play ball on sugar-white sands or frolic in an assortment of 17 water-drenched rides, you can be as active as you like, dine at Mango Joe’s or explore the Island Gift Shop.
Whatever type of vacation you are looking for, Tampa Florida has it all.