Are you bound to leave for the Caribbean? Do you still have some time to kill before your cruise from Tampa departs?
You might want to explore the city a little bit and discover some of the wonders Tampa has to offer.
Not sure where to start? It is a large city with a lot of tourist hot spots and this can get a little overwhelming for some. It is one of the most successful tourist cities in Florida, with record-breaking tourist revenues in 2017.
To help you get started, here is a look at 7 great things to do in Tampa before you leave. Keep in mind that before you go on any of these tours, make it a point to get a Tampa CityPASS.
Getting a CityPASS
The Tampa CityPASS doesn’t include all the locations on this list but it does offer some great tourist spots. Other locations included are the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.
With this pass, you can visit five places, including the widely popular Busch Gardens, for an affordable price. After booking your cruise from Tampa, this is the next important pass to get.
How affordable is it? Adult passes cost $106 and children passes are available at $96. It might sound expensive at first but remember that entrance to the Busch Gardens alone can cost over $100 per person.
The Florida Aquarium
This large facility includes highlights like the Stingray Beach, which is where tourists can get up close and touch stingrays and sharks. There is also the Wetlands Trail, a glass panel dome with an indoor water park. It is home to many otters, breeds of fish, alligators, birds, and the Burmese Python.
Another popular activity is the Journey to Madagascar, which allows people to see hissing cockroaches, lemurs, and chameleons. If you have kids touring with you, this is a great stop before your cruise from Tampa heads out.
One of the oldest theaters in the country, the Tampa Theatre is also the non-profit cinema in the city. It first opened its doors in 1926 and is notable not only for its historic place in local cinema but also for being the first commercial establishment in the city to offer air conditioning.
Unlike most theaters, the Tampa Theatre also shows select classic films on a daily basis. You’ll still get to see modern films but there is also a schedule for movies from the past, like classics of the 1930’s or the 1980’s.
Like many movie houses today, it did shift to the digital platform in 2013. This cost the theater $150,000 to keep up with the times. Most films these days, even classic movies, use digital formats instead of the classic 35mm film reels.
Tampa Bay History Center
This museum consists of three floors and its exhibits cover the span of 12,000 years of history in Florida. Visitors can hop on a cattle ride that lets them discover the early days of exploration in the state. This includes a trip to learn more about the earliest settlers such as the Tocobaga tribes.
You can also visit the center’s Cigar City. This exhibit has a full walk-in replica of a 1920’s cigar store and a detailed tour that teaches the city’s history with the cigar industry.
One of the benefits of South Florida cruises is that you get to take some time off and have some fun. One great place in Tampa for excitement is the Busche Gardens theme park.
Here you’ll find the first triple launch coaster in Florida, known as the Cheetah Hunt. This ride, in total, is a 4,400-foot race up and down the tracks. Also at the Busch Gardens is the Falcon’s Fury, the tallest drop tower ride in North America.
The gardens don’t focus only on thrilling rides. There is also a wildlife zoo that is home to more than 12,000 animals. These include orangutans, Bengal tigers, and giraffes.
Tampa Bay Water Bike Company
Exploring the Hillsborough River in style with the Tampa Bay Water Bike Company. This attraction allows you to ride a pedal kayak, called a biyak. It’s a unique vehicle that lets you cross the waters as if you were pedaling a bicycle.
These water bikes are for people aged 11 and above. Children as young as 6 can still ride and they get to ride for free as long as they have an accompanying guardian with them.
Using the biyaks, you can explore the length of the river as well as other locations. These other spots include Davis Island, Harbour Island, and the Garrison Channel.
Ybor City Museum State Park
Like the Cigar City exhibit in Tampa Bay History Center, this museum focuses on bringing visitors back to the era when Tampa was the “Cigar Capital of the World.” The exhibits here focus on the city’s history from the 1880’s to the early 1930’s.
The museum building was once the Ferlita Bakery, previously the La Joven Francesca. The bakery was popular for its Cuban bread and many of the original ovens are now a part of the museum’s displays.
Big Cat Rescue
Located in North Tampa, the Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary for abandoned and abused felines. Many injured and orphaned felines found a new home here. The sanctuary also aims to end ownership as well as the private trade of these exotic cats.
To date, there are 19 big cats and 67 small cats in the facility. It is important to note that unlike a zoo, you can’t stroll freely through the area. You have to take a guided tour and if you have kids, you’ll have to take the kids’ tour.
Some of the animals you can see here include lions, tigers, servals, bobcats, civets, binturongs, leopards, and ocelots. If you want to take an educational stop before your cruise from Tampa departs, this is one location you mustn’t miss.
Explore Before Your Cruise from Tampa Departs
There are dozens of other great places to visit in Tampa. The best part is that many of them are close to the ports, allowing you to visit them before your cruise from Tampa leaves for the next destination.
Still looking for a great cruise trip? Do you want to know more about your cruise options and the stops you can plan for during your vacation?
Feel free to message us. We’ll be glad to help you work out your vacation, from noting down great tourist spots and picking the right cruise trip.