Tampa Bay: Outdoor Adventure, Wildlife Encounters and More
The area around Tampa Bay, located at the eastern edge of Florida’s biggest estuary, is home to many exciting attractions that truly offer something for every taste. Thanks, in part, to warm temperatures throughout the year, Tampa Bay is an ideal destination for those – like me – who look for outdoor fun in untouched nature.
A Canoe Trip on the Hillsborough River
I arrive at the Hillsborough River near Tampa, where I’m greeted by my canoe guide. We set off early in the morning and are extremely lucky: There are a great number of birds on the river this morning. Among the many great blue herons, darters, wood storks and hundreds of vultures that hover above us, there’s also a great number of alligators in all sizes along the shore enjoying the sun together with red-bellied turtles. It’s truly a great experience to float in this fascinating natural landscape, listen to the sounds of the birds and see animals in their wild habitat.
Watching Manatees Up Close
From here, it’s not far to Apollo Beach and the TECO Manatee Viewing Center, where warm and clean discharge water, flowing back into Tampa Bay from the adjacent power plant, has created a very special attraction. During the winter months, when the waters of Tampa Bay grow colder, hundreds of manatees congregate. I walk along the wooden boardwalk, while these gentle giants float below, some followed by young calves. There are also numerous fish, who just like the manatees, enjoy the warm water temperatures here during the winter.
Inside the nice information centre, there are a lot of interesting exhibits about manatees. Along the adjacent tidal walk, sits a nearly 1,000-foot-long wooden walkway that extends through the mangroves up to the edge of Tampa Bay, giving you the opportunity to discover the regional flora up close.
An Area Full of Attractions
After so much gorgeous nature and outdoor fun, I decide to visit some of the other Tampa Bay attractions for the next few days. I visit the great Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), which captivates me with its interactive exhibits. At Busch Gardens, not only do I marvel at elephants, leopards and lions, but I enjoy the park’s many thrilling rides and roller coasters. Next, I visit the Lowry Park Zoo, a family-friendly paradise, where you can even feed the giraffes and rhinos at certain times.
In the evening I stroll along Seventh Avenue in Tampa’s historic Latin quarter, Ybor City, where music pours out of the many bars and restaurants along the street. The district is also home to a vital art scene and, throughout the year, many interesting cultural festivals take place. For me, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail and let an exciting holiday in Tampa Bay come to a relaxing end.
From family-friendly attractions to impressive outdoor fun in untouched nature, Tampa Bay really has something to offer everyone. I’m already looking forward to my next visit!