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10 Reasons to Visit Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay... you don't have to look too far for adventure!

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Serengeti Safari

Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

© Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Regionally, Tampa Bay encompasses four cities — Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Bradenton — but Tampa Bay is actually a body of water, the largest open-water estuary in Florida, covering nearly 400 square miles. The outdoor recreational opportunities alone that it provides is reason enough to visit the area, but I'll give you 10 more reasons for you to come to the Tampa Bay area.

  1. Come for Tampa Bay's attractions that provide a wide variety of exciting and entertaining possibilities.
    • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, is an adventure park and one of the top zoos in North America. It's world-class thrill rides provide heart-pounding excitement and it also brings you face-to-face with more exotic and endangered animals than any other destination outside of Africa.
    • Tampa's only water park, Adventure Island, immerses you in 30 acres of high-speed thrills and sunny tropical surroundings.
    • Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is recognized as the #1 family-friendly zoo in the nation by Child and Parents magazines. Over 2,000 animals in natural habitats populate seven main exhibit areas — Asian Gardens, Primate World, Manatee and Aquatic Center, Florida Wildlife Center, Free-Flight Aviary, Wallaroo Station and Safari Africa.
    • The Florida Aquarium is one of the top 10 aquariums in the country. See sharks, alligators, otters and penguins ... or touch a stingray, bamboo shark or star fish. Interactive programs allow you to swim with fishes or dive with sharks.
    • You can easily fill up an afternoon exploring Tampa's Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), featuring 400,000 square feet of interactive activities and exhibits — the largest science center in the southeastern United States! MOSI also includes a planetarium and Florida's only IMAX Dome Theatre, projecting images on a five-story, dome-shaped screen.
    • They're b-a-c-k... and they're life-size! Walk among 150 dinosaurs at Dinosaur World where you can also search for authentic fossils and unearth a life-size dinosuar skeleton in the Boneyard. Selected by VisitFlorida.com in 2005 as one of the "Top 10 Desintation in Florida to Visit."
    • The fascinating inverted-pyramid design of the St. Pete Pier is perhaps one of the most recognized landmarks in the Tampa Bay area. Five stories of fun, food and shopping include an aquarium, specialty shops, waterfront restaurants and outdoor adventures.
  2. Come take a cruise from the Port of Tampa, the fastest growing cruise port in North America where some of the biggest names in the cruise industry — Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland American and Royal Caribbean — and over a million passengers each year set sail for destinations in the Caribbean and Central America. Its downtown Tampa location provides passengers with excellent before and after cruise activities.

  3. Come to Tampa Bay for the beaches and you'll never want to leave! The St. Petersburg-Clearwater barrier islands boast approximately 35 miles of white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. This area's beaches are some of the finest in the nation — winning awards for everything from sand quality to environmental management. Dr. Beach has repeatedly ranked two of the beaches — Caladesi Island and Fort DeSoto Park ̬ on his annual top ten list and another — Clearwater Beach — as #1 City Beach in the Gulf region. >Beaches of St. Petersburg-Clearwater Photo Tour

  4. Come to Tampa Bay for shopping. Tampa Bay is home to a variety of shopping venues. Here is a sampling:
    • International Plaza and Bay Street, located near Tampa International Airport and Raymond James Stadium, features upscale shopping and dining experiences unavailable elsewhere in the area.
    • Westfield Brandon Shopping Mall, just off I-75 east of Tampa has recently built an expansion adding Dick's Sporting Goods, Books A Million and the Cheesecake Factory among other retailers to its already large selection of shops.
    • Westfield Citrus Park Shopping Mall in Northwest Tampa
    • Westfield Countryside Shopping Mall in Clearwater is unique since it features an ice skating rink in the center of the mall in addition to its retail selections.
    • John's Pass Village and Boardwalk in Madeira Beach features over one hundred merchants — from unique shops, restaurants, cruise lines, boat rentals, parasailing and jet ski rentals... and the beach is just a short stroll away!
    • Hyde Park Village in Tampa near downtown features unique fashion boutiques, trendy home decor, dining and entertainment, including Cobb CineBistro, a movie theatre and dining experience captured in one entertainment venue.
    • Prime Outlets in Ellenton is just south of the Tampa Bay area, but the short drive across the scenic Sunshine Skyway Bridge is worth the effort to browse this spacious open air mall has a great variety of name-brand outlet shops.
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