Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI)
More than 450 activities await you at this non-profit facility dedicated to promoting a better understanding of science and technology. The Saunders Planetarium shows you the stars. Step inside the Gulf Coast Hurricane exhibit for a blast of tropical nightmare. At the IMAX Dome Theatre, the world is bigger than life, filled with odd sights and sounds on a huge screen. Souvenirs ranging from totes and T-shirts to puzzles and posters are available at the Science Store. For refreshment, the MOSI Café offers pizzas, salads and sandwiches. In late February, the BARF (Bay Area Renaissance Festival) takes place here.
Salvador Dali Museum
Housing the largest collection of Salvador Dali works in the world, the museum offers a regularly changing exhibit of the legendary surrealist artist's melting-watch canvases and a wide variety of his sculpture and fiber objects that are, at the very least, intriguing. One memorable creation toasts the cocktail party; it is a vest covered with full glasses of creme de menthe. Daily tours seek to explain this complex man and his equally complex art. In the museum store you can select a memento of your surreal experience. Do check the website or call for timings.
Tampa Museum of Art
Established in 1979, this museum houses more than 4,500 objects in its permanent collection and exhibits the largest collection of Greek and Roman antiquities in the Southeast. The Center Gallery displays themed exhibitions from the permanent collection. For a look at 19th and 20th century sculpture set against the backdrop of the Hillsborough River, visit the Terrace Gallery. Stroll through the Outdoor Courtyard featuring contemporary sculptures, fountains and bronze work. For gifts, books, children's items or home accessories, stop by the museum store.
Craftsman House is a gallery that showcases contemporary art works. The lush green lawns and beautiful garden welcome visitors in to this creative space. Owned and managed by Stephanie Schorr, it is a gallery-cum-working studio. Here, you will see umpteen art works displayed; jewelry, glass designs and much more work of local and national artists make for its splendid collection. It also has an on-site café serving delicious short eats and variety of beverages including beer and wines. Apart from the art works, Craftsman House also has a pottery studio that features colorful mugs, pots, vases and other wares that will adorn your living room. The innovative designs and art pieces are truly worth a look; so go ahead and visit the Craftsman House soon.
Located right across the street from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island’s 30 acres of water-drenched fun in the sun features the ultimate combination of high-speed thrills and tropical, tranquil surroundings for guests of all ages. Within a soothing Key West atmosphere await slides, corkscrews, water falls, a wave pool, children’s water playground and other family attractions.
At Busch Gardens, animals roam free and you are the outsider. You can see the park by monorail, cable car or train. Roller coasters, wild animals, entertaining shows, rides, food, shopping, sightseeing, bird shows, exotic flowers, train rides, Serengeti adventures, river rapids...the list goes merrily on. Wear comfy walking shoes and spend the day at this 300-acre park. You can even taste the Anheuser Busch brew that started it all. Busch Gardens is open year-round with varying schedules. Call or see Web site for details.
Florida Aquarium (The)
The Florida Aquarium gives visitors an all-access pass to the mysteries of the deep. Observe seahorses, lobsters, colorful fish, moray eels, gators, river otters, Australian sea dragons and many more. If you're feeling truly adventurous, take advantage of the "Swim with the Fishes" or "Dive with the Sharks" programs (advance reservations required). Kids will love the wide range of colorful and fun-filled interactive displays. The aquarium also sponsors ecotours aboard a 64-foot catamaran, affording patrons an opportunity to get even more up-close-and-personal with the sea. See website for complete list of attractions, calendar of events and more.
John's Pass Village
This scenic village with its nautical heritage and waterfront location offers an assortment of shops, boutiques, restaurants, water sports and entertainment. Located near the sands of Madeira Beach, John's Pass Village is renowned throughout the Bay Area as a site of good crafts and artisans, as well as casually comfortable seafood eateries. Weekends, the Village puts its best fin forward with street shows that include plenty of musical entertainment. From its boardwalk and marina, you can enjoy a free dolphin watch or take off aboard small cruise ships and fishing charters.
Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa's first zoo can trace its history back to the 1930s. In 1957, this collection of animals and birds was moved to its current location. Recognized as the "Number One Family-Friendly Zoo in the U.S." by Child magazine, Lowry Park Zoo features 2,000 animals on 56 acres of lush, natural habitats comprising seven main exhibit areas: Asian Gardens, Primate World, Free-Flight Aviaries, Florida Boardwalk, Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center, Wallaroo Station children's zoo, and Safari Africa. Gift shops, refreshment stands and cafes are located throughout the park.
Moccasin Lake Nature Park
If you've wondered how sun and wind supply power and water and how a host of other things work, this is the spot to find out. This environmental and educational center located at a 50-acre park is highly recommended not only for its low price, but also for its fine educational offerings. You can see a lake, upland forest and wetlands environment here and spot most of the plant and animal species native to this area. A mile-long nature trail winds through the park and an Interpretative Center features wildlife exhibits, displays, information, a classroom and a laboratory.