The city of Tampa, surrounded by tranquil waters dotted with wild dolphins, stands on the beautiful Tampa Bay. It is the proud owner of many family-friendly places like the Florida Aquarium and the Lowry Park Zoo. Many centers are available for those who long to learn about the local flora and fauna. And those who aim to relax either go on a picnic at the Hillsborough River State Park or enjoy a gourmet dish with their amigos at the Oystercatchers. Add to that the lovely gardens, a myriad of fascinating museums, and architectural wonders, and Tampa becomes a must-see tourist destination. Get ready to find out the best things to do in Tampa.

Take a wild ride at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

As soon as you go in through the park’s door, you will see the beautiful Moroccan Palace and the Marrakesh Theater. Then, you had better go to the section called Edge of Africa to enjoy some food as you will need a great deal of energy to explore this enormous park. Stretching for over 330 acres of land, Bush Gardens features lots of excellent roller coasters, with Sheikra (North America’s first Dive Coaster) being the most prominent. On top of that, many animals call this theme park home, including giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and Asian elephants. You can also observe various bird species at Bird Gardens. In addition, there are numerous themed zones and a myriad of things to do to keep visitors entertained.

Get clued up about the life of aquatic animals at the Florida Aquarium

Having been recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Florida Aquarium is well-known for its School Year Camps as well as Summer Camps. Children and students carry out science experiments and learn about 7,000 aquatic plants here. Moreover, one can meet about 9,000 mesmerizing animals in this family-friendly place, among them otters, Burmese pythons, and anemones. The Florida Aquarium hosts 300 events every year, including a Day of Discovery.

Have a cool drink at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company

The Tampa Bay Brewing Company, which has produced craft ale since 1995, managed to be one of the top microbrews in the town thanks to its regular and seasonal brands. No visit to this company is complete without a sip of Reef Donkey, which has a tropical flavor, and Gourds Gone Wild, which is noted for its pumpkin pie aroma. Besides quality beers, there are some beer-infused eats. Live concerts are available on Fridays on the patio of TBBC.

Find out Tampa’s colorful history at the Tampa Bay History Center

Along with its museum store, research center, lecture rooms, and cafe, the Tampa Bay History Center lies in Channelside District at 801 Old Water Street. If you long to know all about Tampa Bay’s past, the center is a must. It displays exhibitions of the first inhabitants in this area and boasts a gallery devoted to cigar workers. What is more, old historical documents that showcase all military conflicts that occurred in the region can be found here.

Feed the beautiful creatures at Big Cat Rescue

Opened by Don Lewis and Carole Baskin, Big Cat Rescue provides shelter for countless big cats and heals physically harmed feral cats. Depending on your desire, you can make a private, night, or feeding tour. Today, the sanctuary houses over 80 animals, each of which draws visitors’ eyes with their magnificent coat. Cat species that you will meet here include bobcat, jaguar, Canada lynx, lion, ocelot, and more.

Take a break from the blazing Tampa sun at the Adventure Island water park

What is the best way to cool off during a scorching hot day? Yes, plunging into a sparkling pool is the correct answer. Sliding down a water slide is also a viable option. Happily, all of these water activities can be done at Adventure Island since it abounds in various rides, tube slides, and many open-air pools. Furthermore, there are several eateries, a cafe, and a club within this water park. In other words, Adventure Island is one of the best places to visit in summer out of Tampa.

Meet the koalas at the Lowry Park Zoo

ZooTampa at Lowry Park, aka Lowry Park Zoo, was recognized as the #1 Family Friendly Zoo in the whole of US in 2009. The park, covering 63 acres of land, is home to over 1,300 creatures, ranging from Komodo dragons and sloth bears to African penguins and meerkats. While the primate world zone, dotted with waterfalls and waterways, is inhabited by chimpanzees, Bornean orangutans, and siamang gibbons, the Wallaroo Station section is full of koalas and flying fox bats.  Keep in mind that exquisite acacia trees stand in the area called Safari Africa. In addition, several rides are available, with the most famous being the Jungle Carousel.

Amble down the Tampa Riverwalk

Stretching for 4.2 kilometers, the Tampa Riverwalk lines the shimmering Hillsborough River. Except strolling along this trail and staring at the bright blue water body, you can pay a visit to the organizations that lie on its other side. If you start walking at the south edge of the path, the very first thing that you will notice will be the South Plaza, which showcases over 500 photographs taken by Bruce Marsh. Moreover, the Florida Aquarium, the Glazer Children’s Museum, and the Tampa Bay History Center are likely to draw your attention, as are the parks, shops, and elegant restaurants.

Unwind at the Hillsborough River State Park

Located amid live oaks and towering pine trees, campsites of Hillsborough River State Park make for a brilliant getaway as every jobholder dream of waking up close to a slow-moving river, far away from the noise of the city, when off-duty. To get your heart pumping, rent a canoe and try canoeing along the Hillsborough River. Additionally, you can rent a bicycle to explore the fairy-tail area thoroughly. Other outdoor activities on offer include fishing, kayaking, hiking, and picnicking. And when you become exhausted, go to the fine restaurant, standing within the park.

Meander around the streets of Ybor City

Ybor City is mainly inhabited by immigrants who once were workers at the cigar company which was set up in this area in the 19th century. Today, this district is home to many significant structures that are included in the National Register of Historic Places. If you happen to be in Ybor City, stroll down one of the “10 Great Streets in America,” namely 7th Avenue. Well-known for its fascinating museums, local restaurants, and crammed bars, the town hosts several annual events, including the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, which takes place in February.

Explore the University of South Florida

Found in the mid-20th century, the University of South Florida features the National Academy of Inventors and the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. There is also a Centre Gallery, which welcomes 4,000 plus guests every semester. The nine enormous bull statues, situated close to the campuses, are particularly worth seeing. Also, have a look at the beautiful botanical gardens, which are used by the Biology Department. For sure, students’ favorite zone within the university is Castor Beach, which boasts a volleyball net and multiple hammocks. Be mindful of the fact that it is not permitted to swim on the mentioned spot since it is home to alligators.

Let your taste buds have an amazing dance at Oystercatchers

Just 150 yards away from the deluxe Hyatt Hotel is the super-duper Oystercatchers restaurant, which combines exquisite food with awe-inspiring views of Tampa Bay. The plush eatery, noted for its stunning interior, takes pride in its extensive menu. Lobster mac n’ cheese, surf n’ turf plates, and seafood towers are highly recommended by the guests of Oystercatchers. Moreover, it features a private pool and a private zone for a family dinner, which makes it ideal for celebrating any prestigious event. Thus, if today is a special day for you or if you want to feel special today, enjoy a lavish meal while listening to the tranquil waters of Tampa Bay.

Try Peruvian foods at Happy Fish Tampa Authentic Peruvian Cuisine

Do not hesitate to sample some Peruvian dishes since Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the best in the world. Chefs working at Happy Fish prepare the top Peruvian foods exactly in the way they are done in Peru. Whereas locals go to this cheap but excellent eatery on a daily basis merely to have a splendid lunch, tourists frequently visit the spot to taste Peruvian ceviche, which is worlds apart from the ceviche you have eaten in other countries. The menu also offers juicy Palomilla steaks, grilled pork chuletas fritas, fresh in-house ensaladas, and Peruvian Style Chicken lo-mein.

Get an eyeful of wild dolphins

Go on a pleasure cruise to get the best out of your vacation! Port Tampa Bay offers multiple cruise lines (Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line) and magnificent views of wild dolphins and flocks of sea birds. Believed to be the largest port in all of Florida, the port lies close to the Channel District, which is the tourist heart of Tampa, where bars and shops provide a hub of entertainment.

Travel back in time at the Henry B. Plant Museum

An eye-popping Victorian building in old English architecture, which once was called the Tampa Bay Hotel, is home to the Henry B. Plant Museum. Open six days a week, the museum features audio tours as well as orientation DVDs in several languages. Besides the permanent exhibitions, it displays some special ones such as Red Cross Nursing and the War of 1898. Furthermore, the organization is encircled by lovely gardens, embellished with huge statues, long paths, splashing fountains, and deciduous trees.

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