Tampa Attractions and Activities
There are many parks and recreational areas that you can visit in the Tampa Bay Area, as well as tourist attractions and landmarks that you can sightsee. The area also has many events occurring in it that you can join in, and celebrate. In this article, we shall be discussing about those things.
Perhaps the most well-known and anticipated events are those from Tampa’s annual celebration of “Gasparilla”, particularly the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a mock pirate invasion held since 1904 in late January or early February. Often referred to as Tampa’s “Mardi Gras”, the invasion flotilla led by the pirate ship, Jose Gasparilla, and subsequent parade draw over 400,000 attendees, contributing tens of millions of dollars to the city’s economy. Beyond the initial invasion, numerous Gasparilla festivities take place each year between January and March, including the Gasparilla Children’s Parade, the more adult-oriented Sant’Yago Knight Parade, the Gasparilla Distance Classic, Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, and the Gasparilla International Film Festival, among other pirate themed events. The Gasparilla parade is the third largest parade in the United States.
Other notable events include the Outback Bowl, which is held New Year’s Day at Raymond James Stadium. Each February, The Florida State Fair brings crowds from across the state, while “Fiesta Day” celebrates Tampa’s Cuban, Spanish, German, Italian, English, Irish, Jewish, and African-Cuban immigrant heritage. The India International Film Festival (IIFF) of Tampa Bay also takes place in February. In April the MacDill Air Fest entertains as one of the largest military air shows in the U.S. Guavaween, a nighttime street celebration infuses Halloween with the Latin flavor of Ybor City. Downtown Tampa also hosts the largest anime convention in Florida, Metrocon, a three-day event held in either June or July at the Tampa Convention Center.
Tampa hosted the 2012 Republican National Convention and the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards in April 2014.
The city of Tampa operates over 165 parks and beaches covering 2,286 acres within city limits; 42 more in surrounding suburbs covering 70,000 acres are maintained by Hillsborough County. These areas include Hillsborough River State Park, just northeast of the city. Tampa is home to a number of attractions and theme parks, including Busch Gardens Tampa, Adventure Island, the Lowry Park Zoo, and the Florida Aquarium.
The Lowry Park Zoo features over 2,000 animals, interactive exhibits, rides, educational shows and more. The zoo serves as an economic, cultural, environmental and educational anchor in Tampa.
Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. It is home to about 80 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species, most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. They have a variety of different tours available.
The Tampa area is home to a number of museums that cover a wide array of subjects and studies. These include the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), which has several floors of science-related exhibits plus the only domed IMAX theater in Florida and a planetarium; the Tampa Museum of Art; the USF Contemporary Art Museum; the Tampa Bay History Center; the Tampa Firefighters Museum; the Henry B. Plant Museum; and Ybor City Museum State Park. Permanently docked in downtown’s Channel District is the SS American Victory, a former World War II Victory ship which is now used as a museum ship.