The lush tropical City of Tampa may be better known as Tampa Bay, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast of the United States. In addition to sunshine and water that create a wide variety of outdoor activities, the Port of Tampa has an active arts community, professional sports teams, and many attractions to keep tourists busy and happy. In addition to sand-based sports and sun-bathing, the Port of Tampa's beaches are great for sport fishing, parasailing, and jet skiing. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of fine restaurants and entertainment opportunities, sports events, and historic areas. For complete information on the many things to see and do in the Port of Tampa, please visit the tourism website.
The Port of Tampa has a humid subtropical climate with hot summer days punctuated by afternoon thunderstorms and mild winters. From May through early October, temperatures can get hot, but afternoon rains clear the air. Although temperatures do drop below freezing about three times a year, winters are comfortable and relatively dry. Temperatures range from an average high of 32 °C (90 °F) from June to September to an average low of 2 °C (51 °F) in December.
When not on the beach, visitors to the Port of Tampa will want to check out the Florida Aquarium, recognized as a kid-friendly aquarium by Parents Magazine. The aquarium tells the story of a drop of water as it moves from its underground source to the ocean. The journey begins in Wetlands, where river otters, alligators, and free-flighted birds dwell. The section on Bays and Beaches contains over 20 thousand animals and plants that are both native to Florida and from around the world. In the coral reef section, you can come face-to-face with a 200-pound Goliath Grouper and watch African Black-footed penguins on their daily promenades. The Ocean Commotion Gallery Raldo "interviews" six animated ocean-dwelling characters. Shark Bay contains five species and allows certified SCUBA divers over 14 years old to get into the tank. In addition to the aquarium focusing on Florida's aquatic habitats and ecosystems, the facility contains an aviary and botanical garden that visitors enjoy.
Perhaps the most popular attractions in the Port of Tampa are the Tampa Bay Beaches. Many beaches line Tampa Bay and its barrier islands. Each beach in Tampa Bay is managed separately, but all of them are easy to get to and affordable. St. Pete Beach was once a string of four keys that were merged in 1957. St. Pete Beach has a rich history that includes the world-famous Don CeSar Beach Resort hotel. Built in 1928 by Thomas Rowe, the original hotel was also used as a hospital and rehabilitation center, a hurricane shelter, and a Veterans Administration regional office until 1972 when a group of citizens purchased the building. Reopened in 1973, the Don CeSar is one of eight hotels in Florida listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America. Indian Rocks Beach has safe beaches, great restaurants, and many quaint hotels where visitors enjoy the quiet relaxation. Originally a get-away for the wealthy, today all types of people enjoy the nearly four kilometers of beachfront with over 20 beach accesses. It may look like a sleepy town, but Indian Rocks has some of the area's best restaurants and an active arts and crafts community that hosts two festivals each year.
The Port of Tampa is the site of one of the two Busch Gardens in the United States. Opened in 1959, the park was originally a bird garden and hospitality center for people touring the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Today, the Busch Gardens is the area's most popular tourist attraction. Visitors can see wildlife, enjoy wild rides, and go to Broadway-type shows. The world-class zoo contains over 2500 endangered and exotic animals. Jungala, a jungle village, offers a zipline adventure where visitors can explore the forest canopy.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Tampa by sea can find a list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.
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