Spotlight On: Tampa Bay

This “City of Champions” has been named one of the best outdoor cities. The thriving wild life preserves and theme parks makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florida. The Spanish infused local culture has a number of recreational offerings, including:

Bayshore Boulevard
Get acquainted with Tampa by walking this long winding sidewalk that takes you alongside the Bay. Many locals rollerblade, bike, walk, and run the trail. It’s a great location for a good workout, or just to take time to enjoy the water and all the beautiful architecture that surrounds Bayshore Boulevard.

Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens offers a little bit of everything for everyone young and old. From roller coasters and water rides to entertainment shows and wildlife exhibits – Busch Gardens is an educational and entertaining side of Tampa!

Henry B. Plant Museum
Originally built in 1891 by railroad tycoon Henry B. Plant as the posh 511-room Tampa Bay Hotel, this ornate building is worth a short trip across the river from downtown to the University of Tampa campus. Modeled after the Alhambra in Spain, this National Historic Landmark is a focal point of the Tampa skyline.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals, public education, animal-assisted therapy and research. Visit the famous dolphin Winter, who was rescued from a crab trap and outfitted with a prosthetic tail. She is now the star of the hit movie “Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure.”

Glazer Children’s Museum
Glazer Children’s Museum is a 53,000 square foot facility in the heart of Downtown Tampa. Created for children 10 and under, the museum is a place where parents and children can learn through play and shared discovery. Offering 170 “interactivities” in 12 themed areas, this museum offers fun for children and adults alike.

Secret City Walks – Ybor City
After visiting the website http://www.secretcitywalks.com put on your headphones and experience historic Ybor City with this iPod-mp3 tour. From cigar magnates to con men, Cuban revolutionaries, and lovers the ghosts of Ybor will take you on a journey through Tampa’s colorful history. This hour-long tour of Tampa can be started at any time, walked at your own pace, and paused to take a break to eat, shop, and explore.

Nearby in ST. Petersburg

The Salvador Dalí Museum
The Dalí Museum re-opened in a new 66,450 square foot space with spectacular waterfront views in 2011. The critically acclaimed building is a work of art itself, paying homage to the artist’s unique aesthetic. This museum, located in St. Petersburg Florida (30 minutes from the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa) houses over 1400 original pieces by acclaimed artist Salvador Dalí. In addition to displays that are periodically rotated, the museum houses 7 of the 18 masterwork paintings by Dalí and has the second largest collection of Dalí’s works in the world. This is a must see for any art lover!

Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center
The Chihuly Collection is a stunning permanent collection of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s unique glass artwork.  The museum is located in the city’s waterfront area in downtown St. Petersburg.

Nearby in Sarasota

Ringling Museum of Art
In 1911, John Ringling and his wife, Mable purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in Sarasota, Florida. Today, that investment welcomes visitors from around the globe with fine art, historic mansion, two circus museums and a jewel-box of a theater.