Here’s the real low-down. I have been to a couple of history centers in various cities in the past, and the best recommendation I had about them was that they were great cures for insomnia. So, to say the least, I was quite reluctant to visit the Tampa Bay History Center. However, after doing research and communicating – a lot – with Visit Tampa Bay, I succumbed to the recommendations and went to check it out.
And am so grateful I did!
What Makes Tampa Bay History Center Not Typical
1. Location – it is right on the riverfront.
Due to it’s location you can make a full afternoon visit. There is a great park to hang out, walk along and have your kids play.
2. Eats – one of the most historic restaurants in Florida is located in Tampa – the Columbia Restaurant – they opened a restaurant inside the History Center, but also offer outdoor seating with amazing views right on the riverfront.
3. The Building – unlike other history centers, Tampa’s History Museum is in a gorgeous, modern building with tons of light and large exhibit halls.
4. Videos – They have two videos that are between 10-20 minutes each and are so worth the time. The videos talk about the history of Tampa and also about the Native Americans that lived in this area and what happened to them today. Highly recommended.
5. Cigars – Tampa, at one point, was the largest cigar maker in all of the US. Learning the history of cigar making and the Cuban influence is essential to understanding more about this up-and-coming city.
6. The Crackers and Cowmen – the biggest surprise to me is the cowboy culture that is so prevalent here and actually was how Tampa was founded many years ago, after the Spaniards left.
7. Hands-On Exhibits – This museum will keep your kids entertained. The videos, as mentioned above, are well done and will help educate the kids. Plus, throughout the museum, there are tons of places where kids can do hands-on learning.
8. History – Let’s not forget about the reason we are here. Depending on how you like to learn best, you have quite a few options. You can either walk around on your own. Or, do what I did, and arrive for the tour. They have several during the day that is included in the price of the ticket. I highly recommend this route.
Information for Visiting the Tampa History Center
801 Old Water Street (formerly St. Pete Times Forum Drive)
Tampa, Fl 33602
Open daily 10 am – 5 pm
- Members – FREE
- Adults – $12.95
- Senior (65+) – $10.95
- Youths (13-17) – $10.95
- Students (with ID) – $10.95
- Children (4-12) – $7.95
- Children (3 and under) – Free
- Military Discount: $2.00 off regular admission rates*