The city of Tampa, situated on an inlet reaching far into the west coast of Florida, is the economic center of western Florida. Tampa is best known for its tourist attractions, where families get the thrill of an amusement park and the fun of a zoo all in one place.
Busch Gardens is a 335-acre, African-themed family entertainment and adventure park featuring thrill rides, live music, performances, and a multitude of exotic animals in natural habitat settings. Visitors can take a safari to see animals grazing on the plains with reproductions of African villages and camps, and the Serengeti Night Safari is one of the most popular options. There are several special animal encounters available, including the opportunity to hand-feed kangaroos and giraffes; watch as park staff members tend to their patients at the Animal Care Center; and get up close to some of the favorite residents, including sloths and flamingos. There are a wide variety of exciting things to do at the park, including kiddie rides and water rides, but Busch Gardens is best known for its roller coasters that are an extreme thrill experience.
Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry invites visitors to explore, learn, imagine, and immerse themselves in every aspect of science and technology. Starting with the basics of physics, math, and other scientific principles, exhibits expand into various subject areas. Kids will love playing a giant game of “operation” as they learn about how the human body works and how technology helps people live longer, better lives. The Idea Zone has hands-on projects, and the Connectus exhibit gives visitors the chance to use cutting-edge technology before it is revealed to the general public.
Tampa Zoo at Lowry Park
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo features more than 2,000 animals in natural habitats, including animals from Africa, Asia, and Australia, as well as native Florida habitats, a primate area, and an aviary. There is also a large aquarium and three pools that are used to treat local manatees who are injured or ill. Visitors can get up close to some of the zoo’s residents, including “backstage” opportunities with penguins and tortoises, as well as the chance to feed an Indian rhino. Popular residents at the zoo include the African elephants, African penguins, Florida panthers, and the Bornean Orangutan.
Smoked mullet of Tampa
Smoked mullet gently smoked oily fish available in Tampa is made with a whole mullet butterflied down the back and folded open, leaving two filets joined at the belly and the backbone running down one side. That smoky flavor is a great foundation for dips and spreads. In a typical recipe, chunks of smoked mullet are blended with cream cheese and sour cream and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dash of tabasco. Served with saltine crackers and lemon wedges, smoked mullet dip is simple but delicious. To eat the finished fish, you lift away the spine and discard it then use the tines of your fork to slip the meat from the bones that remain. It takes a little work, but it’s more than worth the effort.