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The Tampa Bay Area Vacation & Visitors Guide

The Tampa Bay Area is the place for family friendly vacations, fun cultural encounters, and a spectrum of opportunities for enjoyment.

There are theme parks for the active crowd, world class museums for the culturally inclined, recreational pursuits for the athletic types, shopping, dining, and spectator sports. The Tampa Bay area is ideally situated on the West Coast of the Florida peninsula and faces both the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, enjoys a subtropical climate, and abounds with activities and attractions to satisfy the most discerning visitors

If BEACHTIME is the focus of your holiday, you can choose from 35 miles of sugar-white beaches to enjoy, some on salt water and some on fresh water. Let them admire your tan.

While on the subject, saltwater FISHERMEN catch, photograph and release tarpon and kingfish. Bass, bream speckled perch, and snapper are caught in fresh water. Tampa is famous for fresh seafood prepared in many different ways. Watching the sun set in the west while sipping a "spot of tea" at a gulf side café is an experience that you will not soon forget.

When the weather "up north" is not quite right for a pleasurable, sunny game of GOLF, the Tampa Bay area offers more than 50 courses to choose from. Worth noting is the fact that the BABE ZAHARIAS GOLF COURSE in the Forest Hills area of Tampa has been designated a Historical Landmark and is open to the public.

The area has teams in three major professional leagues: the NFL, the NHL, and Major League baseball.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play FOOTBALL from September through January at the Raymond James Stadium; the Tampa Bay Lightning Team plays HOCKEY from October through April at the St. Petersburg Times Forum; and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays play BASEBALL from April through September at Tropicana Field. In addition to the Devil Rays, the N.Y. Yankees, Philadelphia Philies, and the Toronto Blue Jays get the kinks out during spring training throughout the area.

Other local spectator sports are: HORSE RACING at Tampa Bay Downs (December-May) and GREYHOUND RACING at the Tampa Greyhound Track (June-December).

The SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM contains the most comprehensive collection of the artist’s work outside of the Dali Museum in Spain. The FLORIDA HOLOCAUST MUSEUM includes among its exhibits, a box-car from Nazi-occupied Poland; the ST. PETERSBURG MUSEUM OF HISTORY, has area artifacts from the 1500’s; and the TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART has Greek and Roman antiquities in addition to contemporary art.

Many more venues such as BUSCH GARDENS, an African adventure and amusement park with 2,000 animals, and thrill rides, are available for visiting. The ST. PETERSBURG’S PIER extends 2400 feet into Tampa Bay and has an aquarium, shops, and restaurants with a view that makes it worth the visit.

Whatever the major objective of your visit to the area may be, do not miss visiting MOSI, The MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY in Tampa. This facility is one of the largest science centers in the country with exhibits and demonstrations pertaining to the human body, health, flight, space and more. It incorporates the GULF COAST HURRICANE EXHIBIT that allows the visitor to experience wind-speeds to 84 miles per hour. The SAUNDERS PLANETARIUM offers daytime presentations and night viewing of the sky, and an IMAX dome theater that features films shown on a 10,500 square foot screen that puts you in the middle of the action. You’ll think that you are flying!

The FLORIDA AQUARIUM is inside a 152,000 square foot air-conditioned dome. Explore it. The LOWERY PARK ZOO is situated on 42 acres in downtown Tampa, has more than 1600 animals to observe, and many interactive attractions. It’s a hit with all animal lovers.

The Tampa Bay area is a SHOPPERS PARADISE. In addition to 10 large shopping malls with name brand stores, there are numerous antique arcades and specialty districts such as Ybor City with its Latin flavor boutiques and specialty shops. Ybor City was once the cigar-manufacturing center of the United States. You can still buy a hand-rolled cigar at a number of stores.

There are hundreds of eating places covering the spectrum from beach side casual to fine dining. There are restaurants specializing in essentially every ethnic style of cuisine to titillate your taste buds.

Tampa’s nightlife is multi-faceted with your choice of theatres, music venues of all types, romantic boat rides, and more.

Tampa Bay is accessible from anywhere: The area is served by two major airports: the Tampa International Airport (TIA), and the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE). Amtrak, the national railroad, serves 46 of the U.S. States and parts of Canada and has a terminal in downtown Tampa. U.S. Interstate Routes I-4 and I-75 pass through the center of the area. In addition to being a primary holiday venue, the area has become both a departure port, and a visiting port for 5 cruise lines.

Come and enjoy!

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