The Tampa Bay Area offers several attractions that provide entertainment for both residents and tourists. These attractions can be experienced with friends, family, or a date since they all offer unforgettable experiences. The attractions range from nature parks and beaches to museums and theme parks, but all provide entertainment for guests of all ages.
11) Museum of Fine Arts
Located in downtown St. Petersburg, the Museum of Fine Arts contains over 14,000 pieces of art that ranges from antiquity to the present in permanent and traveling exhibits. The museum’s four permanent art collections are European Art Collection, American Art Collection, Photography, and Greek & Roman Antiquities & Pre-Columbian & Asian Art. The European Art Collection has a large range of Impressionist paintings, including the famous artist Claude Monet, while the American Art Collection celebrates America’s beauty by showing paintings of small farms and the mid-west. There are also two gardens that focus on sculpture located in the museum. The museum also offers several traveling exhibits throughout the year, including one coming in December 2011 about Ancient Egypt. The museum proves that art museums are not boring. The museum is opened Monday ‘” Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Adult tickets are $17 while college students with ID and children are $10.
12) Rays Games at Tropicana Field
Tampa Bay is home to one of baseball’s hottest teams, the Rays. Beginning in April and lasting until October, residents and visitors of the Tampa Bay area can watch the Rays in action as they battle the Red Sox and Yankees at Tropicana Field in downtown St. Petersburg. The cheapest tickets range from $9-$20; meaning going to a three-hour baseball game can be cheaper and much more fun than going to the movies. Tropicana Field also allows its guests to bring in food, once again making a point that the field is money-friendly. The field also offers special events throughout the week, beginning on Sunday. Sunday is Kids’ Day, a day in which all kids receive a free giveaway, interact with street performers, and are allowed to run the bases after the game. Also on Sunday, parking is also free for cars with four or more passengers. On Friday nights, the stadium offers drink specials while on Saturdays, there is a chance a famous singer or band will perform for free after the concert. Watching a Rays game at Tropicana Field will create a baseball fan out of anyone.
13) Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI)
MOSI is a museum unlike any other in Florida. Located in Temple Terrace in Tampa, MOSI recommends that future guests plan to spend, at the minimum, four hours there due to the large number of exhibits. MOSI offers over 450 exhibits, including The Amazing You body exhibit and Disasterville, which causes guests to experience a variety of stimulated natural disasters; hurricane winds and heat from forest fires. The Kids in Charge exhibit teaches children about science by playing with the different activities; it is the largest children’s science center in the country. MOSI also has a planetarium show that can recreate the night sky from any time in less than 20 seconds from the past, present, and future from anywhere on the plant. MOSI’s giant IMAX Theater is constantly showing movies about tornados, animals, and even current blockbuster hits. Outside, guests can get closer to nature by exploring historic tree cove or viewing the beauty of butterflies in a butterfly garden. Adult tickets are $20.95 and children tickets are $16.95 while parking is $4. MOSI is opened on Monday ‘” Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday ‘” Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
14)Salvador Dali Museum
Salvador Dali is one of the most distinguished artists of the 20th century; known as the leader of the Surrealist Movement (though he also painted in the styles of impressionist and classical). It is an honor to say that the Salvador Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg present the greatest number of Dali’s works in one place. There are 96 oil paintings, 100 watercolors and drawings, and 1,300 graphics, photographs, and sculptures. The Salvador Dali Museum has existed in St. Petersburg since 1982, but has recently moved into a new building that AOL Travel News lists as “One of the top buildings you have to see before you die” due to its unique shape that Dali himself would appreciate. The museum also offers special events, such as coffee with a curator and yoga, to its guests. The museum’s gift shop sells gifts inspired by Dali’s works that will allow all guests to remember their day at the museum. Adult tickets are $21 while children and students with ID are $15. The museum’s hours vary by day, though on average it is from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
15) Florida Aquarium
Located in downtown Tampa, the aquarium features four exhibits that showcases alligators, river otters, stingrays, sharks, seahorses, eels, and, of course, fish. The aquarium teaches its guests about the animals that live in the wetlands and rivers in Florida, the fish that live in the sea surrounding Tampa, and the rest of the animals that live in the ocean. Visitors can even touch sea stars, crabs, and other small sea animals in a 600-gallon touch tank. For children-only, there is a small water area for children to have fun while cooling down in the Florida summer heat. The aquarium also offers special activities for a range of prices, including swimming with sharks, interacting with penguins, and taking a boat to go dolphin watching. The Florida Aquarium will have children and adults discussing the sea animals days after leaving the aquarium. Adult tickets price is $21.95 while children under 12 are $16.95. The aquarium is opened daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
16) Lowry Park Zoo
The Lowry Park Zoo was recently voted the Best Zoo by Parents Magazine; thus making it a must for families with children. Located in Tampa, the 56-acre zoo has more than 1,700 animals, such as lions, giraffes, chimps, elephants, and penguins, living on its premise. One attraction that only exists in Florida is the Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center. The Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center allows guests to observe staff caring for manatees rescued from the wildlife. The zoo allows all guests to pet the giraffes for free (or feed the giraffes for a small fee) or attend several of the shows that the zoo shows throughout the day, including a penguin encounter, alligator feeding, and encounters with koalas. For more fun, there are six rides included in admission plus two animal rides for a fee. The zoo understands that Florida’s summers are hot, so several water areas allow children to cool down. The Lowry Park Zoo offers an educational, yet fun way of learning about animals. The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Adult tickets are $23.95 while children tickets are $18.95.
17) Big Cat Rescue
Located in Citrus Park (North Tampa), the Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary for abandoned & abused big cats, like lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats, etc. The 100 big cats now live at this sanctuary due to abuse, abandonment, retired performing stars, or saved from being slaughtered for fur coats. Deemed as the World’s Largest Accredited Big Car Rescue Sanctuary, this sanctuary offers several tours throughout the week in order to educate people on big cats in order to prevent these animals from being harmed in the future. The tours also allow its guests to view these giant animals up-close. These tours will forever leave a lasting impression upon its guests due to the beauty of all these animals. The Day Tour is $29.00, lasts 90 minutes, and is offered everyday but Thursday; it is important to go to the website to look at tour times. Children under 10 can only attend the 9:00 a.m. tour on Saturday and Sunday.
18) Adventure Island
Adventure Island is located in Temple Terrace, across from Busch Gardens, allowing guests to receive special ticket options to visit both themeparks. Adventure Island is 30 acres of water fun for all ages; there are thrilling water slides for daredevils, two play areas for children, and a lazy river for guests who just want to relax. There are also numerous volleyball courts on land, allowing friends to play in a tournament. During the summer, Island Nights takes place. These are nights in which the park is opened later than usual and offers entertainment, such as belly dancers and fire performers. Though there are several delicious food options, the park also allows guests to bring in food in small coolers, permitting families to have picnics at the park. Adventure Island allows families to escape Florida’s heat while having fun. Adult ticket price is $42.99 while children ticket price is $38.99. The park is opened from March to October from around 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (though days and hours vary throughout the year).
19) Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens is a theme park and zoo rolled into one due to the fact that it allows its guests to ride rollarcoasters while viewing wild animals. Located in Temple Terrace, Busch Gardens offers numerous rollercoasters, water rides, and thrill rides for its guests. The park has recently opened a new rollarcoaster called Cheetah Hunt, which was designed to stimulate a cheetah chasing its prey. The coaster launches its riders to the speed of 60 mph in a matter of seconds. For children too young to go on coasters, there is a Sesame Street play area that allows children to go on rides and meet their favorite characters. Busch Gardens also offers unique animal encounters with its animals, such as allowing guests to play tug-of-war with a tiger. For a special fee, guests can choose to partake in an Up-Close Tour. For example, guests can learn what it is like to be an elephant keeper or take an open-truck tour through plains filled with animals. Since it is nearly impossible to do everything in one day, Busch Gardens offers a season pass. Busch Gardens’ hours depend on the month and day, but it is usually opened from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Adult tickets are $79.99 and children are $71.99.
20) David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
The Starz Center is nationally respected for producing grand opera, concerts, performances, and events. Located in downtown Tampa along the water, the beautiful Starz Center has five theaters that allow Tampa Bay residents and visitors to be entertained by these musical events. Numerous popular performances, such as Wicked, Beauty and the Beast, and Mamma Mia, have all performed at the Starz Center. The Starz Center has three restaurants offering a first class dining experience, allowing guests to eat a first-class meal before the performance (reservations are requested and prices for dinner range from $8 to $35). There is also a small gift shop that sells posters, CDs, t-shirts, and other musical souvenirs. The Starz Center is the perfect place to impress a date or for a child to become enriched with music; after all, a night spent at the Starz Center is an experience that no one will ever forget. Tickets can be purchased online or at the ticket office.