Tampa is known for a multitude of things — a thriving nightlife, arts and culture and award-winning restaurants, just to name a few. Yet, there is much more to be discovered by curious tourists or lifelong residents. Check out some of these fascinating landmarks that are uniquely and exclusively Tampa.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
249 Windward Passage
Clearwater, FL 33767
If you loved the movie “Dolphin Tale,” you can see where the inspiring story of Winter the dolphin all began. Guests can meet Winter as well as her friend Hope, who was rescued as a baby and will co-star alongside Winter in “Dolphin Tale 2.” In addition to the world-famous dolphins, there is an array of other exhibits, including a shark tank, turtle cove and sting ray beach. The aquarium is family friendly and welcomes guests of all ages.
711 N. Franklin St.
Tampa, FL 33602
The Tampa Theater is famous for its ghostly residents. Employees and theater-goers have reported seeing a handful of different spirits floating around, but none are more well-known — or more well-liked — than “Fink.” “Fink” is believed to be a deceased projectionist named Foster Finley who died of a heart attack in 1965. According to local lore, “Fink” loved the Tampa Theater so much that he took up residence as a ghost and made it his eternal resting place. Rather than “booing” people, “Fink” spends his afterlife freaking out guests by floating across the movie screens, stealing knick-knacks and playing pranks on the theater employees.
Lowry Park Zoo
1101 W. Sligh Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604
Lowry Park Zoo served as a backdrop for the 1990 movie “Goodfellas” starring Robert Deniro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci. Henry Hill (Liotta) is a small-time gangster that teams up with Jimmy Conway (Deniro) and Tommy De Vito (Pesci) to commit a robbery. When the robbery starts to go bad, Henry finds his character put to the test. Visit the zoo and see if you can recall the movie scenes.
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The Tampa Bay can be accessed through any of the Bay Area’s hundreds of beaches. Locals take it for granted as just another body of water, but the Tampa Bay truly is a unique body of water. It is the largest open-water estuary in the state, spanning about 400 square miles. Over 200 species of fish call the Bay home, and the mangrove-covered islands support the most diverse colony of waterbirds in North America, including white ibis, blue herons and the extremely rare red egret. On average, the Bay is only 12 feet deep, making it the perfect place to go for a swim.
Don’t let the name mislead you — Ybor City is a neighborhood, not a city separate from Tampa. This historic district was founded by cigar manufacturers in the 1880s and settled mainly by immigrants from Spain, Italy and Cuba. Known as the “Cigar Capitol of the World,” Ybor has been designated as a National Historic Landmark District. Ybor is most famous for its cigars, but it is also home to night clubs, museums and award-winning restaurants.
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Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.