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You Won't Be Bored in Tampa, Florida

 

January is all about Pirates for everyone...

Each January the city of Tampa kicks off their Gasparilla Pirate Festival when a 165 foot pirate ship enters the harbor and the 'krewe' demands the key to the city. Ritual has the mayor giving up the treasured key signalling the start of fun and festivities on land and on the water. There's a huge parade where pirates fling beads and treasures (Mardi Gras style) to the crowds that line the route and there is much crazy merrymaking, in general.

It's important to note that some time before the adults get to celebrate there is a Gasparilla Parade staged solely for children. The little ones enjoy a fireworks display and the opportunity to be part of a 'pirate's masquerade walkabout' geared for children five and under. It's a delightful happening and a dream come true (especially for little boys). For more information about how your family can take part, click here.

 

Museums that women will enjoy...

The Henry B. Plant Museum began life as one of the grandest hotel of its time with famous guests such as Mrs. Roosevelt, Clara Barton (American suffragette), Sarah Berhardt (actress) and Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. Known for its minarets that pierce Tampa's modern skyline, the former 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel showcases the American lifestyle in the turn-of-the-century-Victorian era and is now part of the University of Tampa campus. The Plant Museum features an annual Gasparilla exhibit showcasing early photographs, rare artifacts and authentic costumes from Gasparilla's century-old history in Tampa and also a Victorian Christmas Stroll during the holiday season. The museum transports visitors back to the gilded age and features Henry B. Plant and his wife as people with vision and a desire to awaken a sleepy Tampa Bay. Website: www.plantmuseum.com

The Tampa Bay History Center is one of the newest permanent museum buildings in Tampa. Located near the historically important Fort Brooke reservation (the birthplace of modern Tampa) it contains 60,000 square feet of exhibits depicting almost 500 years of recorded history and 12,000 years of human habitation in the region. Creative displays and the newest in technology take visitors back in time to meet the area's Native Americans, pioneer settlers, cigar workers, immigrants and cowboys as well as military and sports heroes. There's a wonderful replica of a city cigar store complete with original mosaic tiles on the floor and displays of old cigar boxes on shelves. School children have the opportunity to create their own patterns on clothing for Seminole Indians. Through technology visitors become part of an enormous cattle roundup via giant screen projections and much, much, more. Leave lots of time for your visit here; there's just so much to explore. Website: www.tampabayhistorycenter.org

Ybor City State Museum tells the story of the immigrant life and Ybor's cigar making history. The State Park complex covers approximately one-half of a city block and includes an ornamental garden and multiple restored cigar workers' houses called casitas (little houses). Visitors can tour the interior of one of the casitas to gain an appreciation for the 'shot-gun' style homes in which many cigar makers and their families resided. The main museum facility is housed in the former Ferlita Bakery building, a neighborhood bakery operated by the Ferlita family, Italian immigrants who established the business at that location in 1896. Website: www.ybormuseum.org

 

Not exactly a mall in Tampa...

If you are looking for some interesting shopping opportunities check out Hyde Park Village. Nestled in one of the city's oldest and upscale neighborhoods it's a contemporary collection of 10 buildings containing shops and quaint restaurants designed to please the well-heeled. In it you'll find familiar names like Restoration Hardware, Chico's (great for women's travel clothes), April Cornell and Pottery barn. There's an Aveda Spa if you need it, a paint your own ceramic art (if the the kiddies are bored) and a CobbCineBistro where you can dine while watching first-run Hollywood films being screened. Website: http://www.hydeparkvillage.net/

 

Meet the women of Tampa...

The Athena Society is an organization of Tampa Bay professionals who have demonstrated leadership in the community and committed themselves to promote equality and opportunity for women. Started in 1976 to support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, it remains true to its shared purpose today. Membership is by invitation only and limited to 160. The group is a member of The International Alliance for Women, an organization that links business and professional individuals and women's networks throughout the globe. Website: www.athena-society.com

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