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You Won't Be Bored in Tampa, Florida

 

Evelyn Hannon

I didn't actually choose to go to Tampa the first time. It happened because I ticked a little box in a tourism conference questionnaire that asked which area in Florida I'd like to explore. Now that I've spent some time in this Gulf Coast city I know I'd go back in a minute either by myself, with a girlfriend or with my young grandkiddies. My special thanks to the women of VisitTampaBay.com who helped me discover the fun this city has to offer.

Not just a tourist destination...

The first thing I noticed about Tampa is that it's not simply a tourist destination of flashy facades built to attract tourist dollars. Tampa has a very distinct personality fashioned by the folks who laid the foundation for this city. There is rich history here and the roots of many cultures to explore -- Native American, Cuban, Spanish, Italians plus a sprinkling of Eastern European Jewry thrown into the mix. That means today's visitors to Tampa can enjoy the thriving cultural scene, ethnic diversity and festivities along with the locals who work hard to keep this city vibrant.

P.S. Speaking from a Journeywoman point of view it was fun to find out that Tampa (2010) has a female mayor, Pam Iorio. She's a thirty-something dynamo who supports the renovation of the downtown core of the city, and she's a great supporter of the Arts. This is a mayor for the people who even has her own Facebook page.

 

The weather is wonderfully moderate...

Today's weather...

The average temperature in Tampa is 72°F which happily allows for outdoor activities all year long. Their coldest month is January when the average temperature overnight is 52.4°F but it rises delightfully to 70.1 °F during the day. For those who like it hot, August is the warmest month with temperatures of 90.0°F; the driest time is November. For further weather information, click here.

 

Tampa is child friendly....

There were so many times during my stay in Tampa when I wished I had my grandchildren with me. I know that they would have enjoyed these museums, zoos and amusement parks immensely.

Lowry Park Zoo -- is located just ten minutes from downtown Tampa. In 2009 it was named the Number One Zoo in the U.S. by Parents Magazine and that title is well deserved. The site is so clean, animals well cared for and signage throughout the site playful and charming. Tampa's moderate climate makes this zoo ideal for all the animals that originate from Africa and other warm climates. There are 2200+ species housed in replicas of their natural habitats and there is also an on-site Manatee hospital where the injured or abandoned Manatees in the area are cared for (it's interesting to note that the complete staff of this Manatee Hospital is female).

We loved the viewing station in the giraffe compound at Safari Africa. Visitors climb the stairs and at the very top you are level with the giraffe's head and ... his very big, wet, tongue. The kiddies squealed with delight as the giraffes ate the cookies from their outstretched little hands.

P.S. If you're too tired to walk another step you can tour the park with the sky train or the original one on the ground (all rides are included in the price of admission). Whether you are five, fifteen or fifty Journeywoman heartily recommends a trip to the Lowry Zoo. P.P.S. If it's your birthday you get in free. Website: www.lowryparkzoo.com

Busch Gardens -- is a combo of delicious delights for kids, especially the older ones. This is where wildlife and wild rides come together in a crazy mix of Broadway-style shows, a world-class zoo with more than 2,500 exotic and endangered animals and more record-breaking roller coasters than any destination in Florida. Travelling with little ones? Check out Land of the Dragons where Busch Gardens devotes one and a half acres of fun just for young adventurers. They'll love the illuminated water geysers, the echo chamber and the mini flume ride. Website: http://www.buschgardens.com

Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) -- Journeywoman absolutely loved The Children's Science Center at MOSI. Called 'Kids in Charge!' this museum for youngsters 12 and under uses play areas and exhibits to explain science and inspire creativity. It's a huge open area and kids are free to touch and try everything. This video will give you the best idea of what Kids in Charge! accomplishes. Guaranteed you'll be inspired to visit.

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