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Things to do in Tampa Bay!

Tropicana_field

Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home of the Tampa Bay Rays!

This is an article I wrote for a travel writing course I took several months ago.

I’m driving across the Howard Frankland Bridge from Tampa, Florida with my destination, St. Petersburg, on the horizon. As I get closer to the shore I begin to see the many pelicans and seagulls that are fixtures of the local beaches. For many tourists, or snowbirds as they’re affectionately referred to by the natives, this is a common sight upon arriving at Tampa International Airport.

The state set records for tourism in 2012, with 89.3 million people visiting. That was up 2.3 percent from the prior year. That should come as no surprise, with all the things that await visitors in the state. In St. Petersburg alone there are umpteen things you could find to occupy yourself. There’s the amazing beaches, The Salvador Dali Museum, Sunken Gardens, or if you’re into baseball you could even catch a Rays game. You could also check out some of the two dozen properties located on the National Historic Register.

History buffs might appreciate the Florida Holocaust Museum, and the Polish Boxcar that was used to transport victims to the death camps during World War II. Bring lots of tissues if you plan on visiting.

Families with kids would definitely enjoy the Great Explorations Children’s Museum, where kids get to become part of the exhibits by touching them, moving them and exploring them.

A quick hop back over to Tampa finds many more tantalizing destinations fit for all ages. Fancy spending the day at a water park? Then why not pay a visit to Adventure Island? Or maybe wildlife and roller coasters are more up your alley? In that case you should visit Busch Gardens, right next door to Adventure Island. Bad news for adults though: the free beer samples stopped in 2009.

Or if you happen to be in Tampa during football season, you could take in a Buccaneers game.

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa would also prove to be an educational experience for all ages. If seeing fish not in captivity is more to your liking, there are numerous dolphin watching cruises scattered around The Bay.

Adults may want to pay a visit to Ybor City, which is home to countless nightclubs and is noted for its cigar manufacturing.

The Tampa Bay area is rich with history, since it began as an Indian fishing village back in 1521. Native tribes called the village by the bay “Tanpa,” which meant “sticks of fire.” On maps made by the early explorers, the spelling eventually became Tampa.

Whatever your age, and whatever you’re into, there are many things to do in Tampa Bay (for all ages!)

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