3-Day Tampa Bay Explore and Learn

Day 1 You'll See:

  • Henry B Plant Museum
  • Tampa Museum of Art
  • Tampa Riverwalk
  • Tampa Bay History Center
  • Magic Carpet Glide
  • Straz Center for Performing Arts

Day 2 You’ll See:

  • The Florida Aquarium
  • Bay Spirit II
  • American Victory Ship
  • TECO Line Streetcar System

Day 3 You’ll See:

  • Busch Gardens Tampa
  • Museum of Science and Industry

 

Tampa Bay is one of the most diverse getaway locations that features everything from pristine golden beaches to world class museums and educational institutions. This 3 day adventure in Tampa Bay will allow your group to explore the best the city has to offer, as well as learn the history, ecology, and geography of an area so shaped by tourism and discovery. You will have multiple opportunities to explore the city, from cruise ship to segway, as well as see the important local museums, Tampa icons, and have some time to relax by the beach! The shopping and eating here is fantastic, as you will see with just one call to Adventure Student Travel to start planning your trip to Tampa Bay today!

 

Day
1
Henry B Plant Museum - Start your Tampa Bay adventure off at the 1891 built Tampa Bay Hotel, otherwise known as the Henry B Plant Museum. Now a National Historic Landmark, this hotel turned museum features authentically restored rooms of splendid Moorish architecture. Your group will see opulent furnishings, spectacular tropical gardens, and be transported back in time to the days of 10 course meals, veranda waltzing, and midnight alligator hunting, as Henry Plant very much loved. Explore the history of this railroad resort, the Victorian period in general, the beginning of the booming Florida tourist industry, and the basics of the city of Tampa and its history at the museum. The latest exhibit, Passionate Design, explores furniture, metal work, block prints, pottery, and tiles from the reform period and teaches guests about the importance of that period and those works. Before you go, be sure to save plenty of time to fully check out the 150 acre grounds, in its day featuring a multitude of fancy amenities, such as an 18 hole golf course, tennis court, boat house, horse stables, casino, bowling alley, spa, and conservatory! This iconic and historic Tampa Bay destination will be sure to entertain and educate your group to full satisfaction!

Tampa Museum of Art - Created in 1979, this award-winning museum features some of the latest, greatest, and most impressive visual art in the region!  Created to look like an "electronic jewel box sitting atop a glass pedestal," this large and highly unique building features an impressive array of aluminum, glass, and fiber optics on the outside, and a very basic and simple white design on the inside to optimize visual art display.  Also known as the region's largest art museum, the Tampa Museum of Art keeps a strong focus on antiquities, modern, and contemporary art. Inside the museum your group will see why this institution has a strong reputation for contemporary photographic arts and new media by exploring their growing permanent collection with dynamic special media exhibits. In the past the museum has seen popular exhibits by Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, and a permanent favorite includes Leo Villareal’s Sky (Tampa). This 14,000 square foot LED installation outside has become an iconic piece of Tampa as well. Be sure to check out the Classical World Exhibit currently, as well as the Sono Cafe’s artful food and Museum Shop’s tempting souvenir objects!

Tampa Riverwalk - Get ready for some serious unwinding as your group explores the 2.6 miles of gorgeous and exciting downtown waterfront that is known as the Tampa Riverwalk! A stroll along this unique avenue will allow your group to see a sampling of the finest parks, museums, theaters, learning facilities, and recreational ships and water sports that Tampa Bay has to offer. The riverwalk is located along the Hillsborough River, encompassing the Tampa Arts District, as well as the main downtown commerce center. On this continuous pedestrian walkway extending from the Channelside area to Tampa Heights, your group will have the choice of taking part in many art and interactive elements for education, retail and restaurant stops for fun, parks and open space areas for relaxation, and many scenic gardens and beach fronts for further local and natural exploration. This bustling yet peaceful mix of environment that serves as a center of commerce, transportation, entertainment, and residential living strives to enhance the image of Tampa as a unique and beautiful destination with a timeless appeal and memorable qualities, as your group will get to experience first hand on a trip to the Tampa Riverwalk!

Tampa Bay History Center - The Tampa Bay History Center is a dynamic learning resource and state of the art historical institution along the Tampa Riverwalk in the bustling Channelside District! This history center strives to inspire a sense of place and pride through interactive educational programs and engaging exhibits, and has been recognized as a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, as well as a Silver Rating U.S. Green Building. Inside the Tampa Bay History Center your group will enjoy exploring the three full floors focusing on 12,000 years of Florida history. As one of Tampa’s premier cultural venues, these cutting edge interactive exhibits will provide your group with a unique educational experience. Explore the Touchton Map gallery, consisting of 3,000 maps and charts that visually depict the shape of Florida over 500 years, tales of explorers, and Floridian conflict and change. The entire center’s collection will discuss history from Spanish explorers to 21st century real estate developers. After catching a 45 minute guided tour through Florida’s First People, War Stories, and Tampa Timeline exhibits make sure you check out the museum store or branch of the historic Columbia restaurant, the Columbia Cafe. Here your group will be able to sample exquisite and authentic Spanish and Cuban dishes!

Magic Carpet Glide - Get ready for two hours of being a kid again, while taking in the scenic and secret Tampa vistas from your very own segway on the Magic Carpet Glide Segway Tour!  As creator Karlavage soon saw after beginning the business, segways tend to bring out tourist curiosity, as well as sense of fun, as the strange sensation of shifting your bodyweight to speeds up to 12 mph takes you to places otherwise unexplored by vehicle.During a Tampa city tour your group will zoom quickly and smoothly through the Tampa Riverwalk and Curtis Hixon Park, giving you the best panoramic city and bay views around! Ride through some of Tampa’s most popular destinations with your personal experienced guide, such as Bayshore Boulevard, Harbour Island, the Tampa Convention Center, and the University of Tampa. You will also see the Amalie Arena and many beachfront and riverfront recreational parks and areas. One of the best things about these tours is the opportunity to see secret views of the city that will even surprise the locals, with the convenient and easy segway access to practically anywhere! Your group will love this exciting take on a Tampa City Tour, and they’ll learn so much about the city along the way!

Straz Center for Performing Arts - Originally known as the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, this premier downtown performing arts center is the second largest center in the Southeastern United States. It is comprised of 335,000 square feet and provides a dynamic environment for a variety of performing arts events and groups. The Straz Center hosts a leading Broadway Series, a Grand Opera, concerts, performances, and events that total to about 4,000 per year. While touring the institution your group will see five different distinct theaters, a rehearsal hall, a retail shop, and a handful of onsite restaurants. Your group will also get a taste of the Broadway Genesis Project started in 2009, which features world premieres hopeful to move on to Broadway, a very successful Straz Center program. You will be able to tour the Patel Conservatory, a 45,000 square foot education program facility that encompasses 20 various studios, from dance to opera as well. Your group will love the opportunity to see a Broadway rehearsal, peek in on a ballet performance, or just take in the majestic and ever popular complex as you dine in any of the fine on site eateries!

Day
2

The Florida Aquarium - The Florida Aquarium is among the top 10 aquariums in North America, and among the top 5 kid friendly aquariums in the United States. Located in the Channel District of Downtown Tampa, this world class facility works to entertain, educate, and inspire stewardship about our natural environment. Inside this facility you will experience a sea of excitement as you see over 20,000 sea creatures, including alligators, dolphins, otters, lemurs, chameleons, stingrays, sand tiger sharks, and even cockroaches! The exhibits range from Florida’s freshwater springs to the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including such habitats as wetlands, beach, and coral reef. Check out the No Bone Zone invertebrate touch tank exhibit, where you can touch horseshoe crabs, or head over to the Sea Hunt or Madagascar themed areas. If you are feeling especially adventurous you can be a part of the Dive with Sharks program, in which you can swim in the tank with the sharks (even pop star Rihanna has taken part!) or go on a 75 minute Dolphin Quest eco boat tour on the Bay Spirit.  After all the aqua adventure head over to the Caribbean Cantina bar and grill for some delicious lunch while you watch the 500,000 gallons of Coral Reef swim by you!

Bay Spirit II - An extension of the Florida Aquarium, this 75 minute long wildlife excursion will take your group through the largest and busiest port in the Southern United States, Port Tampa Bay. Aboard the Bay Spirit II, the 72 foot catamaran that seats 130 passengers, your group will be guided by a Florida Aquarium experienced naturalist who will give you a view of the extensive ecosystem and numerous species of animals that call this port  home. On the cruise you will see the amazing Atlantic bottlenose dolphin closer than ever, as the cruiseline claims that a dolphin is seen 85-90% of the time! Watch as the dolphins fish, feed, play, sleep, and get taught life lessons as you glide along the port. You will also see numerous bird species, an occasional manatee, or even a few sea turtles! Be sure to bring a fully charged camera, as you won’t believe the views of wildlife you are about to get! This informative cruise, offered daily weather permitting, is easily enjoyed in a climate controlled cabin, complete with snacks and drinks. If it’s a bit chilly don’t forget to bring a jacket so you can enjoy the crisp, fresh, salty air of the Atlantic from the gorgeous upper deck viewing areas!

American Victory Ship - Welcome aboard one of only four remaining fully-operational WWII ships in the country, the American Victory Ship! This ship is considered a national treasure and true American icon! Get ready for an unforgettable voyage of discovery as you sail the Channel District and "anchor your place in American maritime history." Your group will learn many facts about this ship, WWII, and the impact of ships such as these on local, regional, and national economies. During a cruise your group will get a tour of virtually the entire 455 by 109 foot cargo vessel, including nine full decks of exciting history! Take a tour of the cavernous three level cargo holds, the radio and gyro rooms, the steering stations, wheelhouse, and flying bridge. You will also see the historic hospital, galley, weaponry room, mess halls, crew cabins, life boats, captains quarters, and equipment and engine rooms. This tour includes rare artifacts, exciting exhibits, uniforms, medals, documents, and photographs. This cruise serves the community by interpreting all this maritime culture, folkways, and legacy of industry, as you will see aboard! If you’re lucky enough you may be visiting the American Victory Ship during one of its twice annual Relive History Cruises, full of music, entertainment, and historical information and traditions galore!

TECO Line Streetcar System - Originally created in the 1800s to transport Tampa passengers for work and leisure, the TECO Line Streetcar System is a fully restored historical replica that is used often today as a tourist attraction and local imperative transportation system. In its heyday the streetcar was the pulse of the community, as it took workers and families alike to and from Ybor City and Sulphur Springs. It quickly became an essential part of transportation that allowed workers to travel from downtown to the west Tampa cigar factories. It also took families on trips for picnics or ball games at the Desota Park. Its peak was seen in 1926, when over 24 million passengers rode the cars daily. As your group takes a ride aboard the TECO Line you may stop at the Fort Brooke garage, Tampa Bay Convention Center, Florida Aquarium, Garrison Port, Amalie Arena, or Channel Entertainment Complex. You may also wish to simply enjoy a leisurely ride on the historic streetcars, an eco friendly, open air ride on an innovative electric vehicle that offers door to door service. This track in particular consists of 2.7 miles, 11 total station stops, and also 11 total streetcars. You may board or end your trip at Centennial Park Station or Whiting Station, or just enjoy your day riding the rails!

Day
3

Busch Gardens Tampa - What began as a hospitality center for Anheuser Busch in 1959 has grown into a top Tampa attraction, top United States zoo, and world-class theme park known as Busch Gardens. At first this location was a modern take on traditional German beer gardens, then over 55 years it has grown into a 335 acre, African-themed, wildlife and recreation mecca. In the 1960s the African theme began, and a decade later a steel corkscrew coaster by the name of Python was introduced to the park, creating the beginnings of the world-class theme park. Since then the famous Gwazi dueling wood coaster, Cheetah Hunt’s famous triple launch coaster, and North America’s largest freestanding drop tower, the Falcon’s Fury, have been thrilling guests daily! Perhaps the most important aspect of this park is the wildlife, the whole park featuring over 12,000 different animals spanning across 250 various species. In the 1990s a 3-acre lush habitat called the Myombe Reserve was created to house endangered lowland gorillas and chimpanzees, and today that area combined with similar surrounding areas allow your group to view hippos, hyenas, Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, cheetahs, and orangutans up close and personal! After you’ve explored all the thrilling rides and exciting habitats you can stop at any of the onsite eateries for a delicious dinner or spend some time at the large and very fun Busch Gardens gift shop.  

Museum of Science and Industry - Tampa’s premier learning and education center is the Museum of Science and Industry, otherwise known as MOSI. Inside you will find over 450 hands-on activities and exhibits featuring space and astronomy, technology, robotics, gaming, and more. MOSI is such a huge playground of fun, most people forget it’s educational! While here your group will have a multitude of options to explore science, starting with the Touch the Future exhibits that include the Meridian Shuttle, an autonomous vehicle that is driverless and electric, the Drone Zone, and the Idea Zone’s robotic coding area. Next head over to the 3D Printing the Future exhibit, describing how the innovative printers are printing everything from fashion and decor to medical tools and human organs. You will also have the chance to visit the Saunders Planetarium, Mission Moonbase, or daily Space Talks with Professor Paris. After you’ve explored all you can within the galleries be sure to check out the Florida Hospital IMAX Dome Theater or MOSI Backwoods and Bioworks Butterfly Garden. If you work up an appetite head over to the Everything’s Fresh Market and then the Elements Gift Shop to find unique gifts and scientific souvenirs!