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Museums In Tampa

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By Damon Duvall
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 3:00AM

Museums In Tampa

10 Must-Visit Museums in Tampa

Discover the hidden gems of Tampa’s diverse cultural scene by exploring its captivating museums in Tampa. From history and art to science and maritime adventures, there’s always something new to learn and experience. Let’s embark on a journey that will take us through Tampa’s rich history, family-friendly attractions and awe-inspiring exhibits.

Tampa FL

Short Summary

  • Explore Tampa’s 12,000 years of history at the Tampa Bay History Center and Ybor City State Museum.

  • Engage in interactive activities with family at the Glazer Children’s Museum and MOSI.

  • Experience unique art installations, cool exhibits & events like Gasparilla Pirate Festival at various museums along the scenic Riverwalk.

Tampa's Rich History: Tampa Bay History Center and Ybor City

A picture of Tampa Bay area with its rich history of museums and attractions

Tampa’s rich history is a tapestry woven with fascinating stories, colorful characters and a diverse cultural heritage. When visiting Tampa, you’ll have the opportunity to dive deep into Tampa Bay’s history by exploring two exceptional history museums: the Tampa Bay History Center and the Ybor City State Museum. Located along or nearby the scenic Tampa Riverwalk, these museums offer captivating insights into the city’s storied past, immersing you in the people, places and events that have shaped the Tampa Bay area. After a day of exploration, unwind at a Tampa Bay hotel, where you can reflect on the day’s discoveries. Visiting these museums is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of Tampa’s culture.

Tampa Bay History Center

Venture into the Tampa Bay History Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, and explore three floors of interactive exhibits that span over 12,000 years of Florida history. Here, you’ll find engaging displays that trace the region’s rich history, from Native American tribes and Spanish explorers to the settlers who transformed the area into the thriving metropolis it is today.

Tampa Bay

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Tampa Bay History Center hosts temporary exhibitions, film screenings and educational programs providing a dynamic and enriching experience for visitors of all ages.

Ybor City State Museum

Located in the heart of Tampa’s historic Latin Quarter, the Ybor City State Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s unique cultural heritage. Housed in the former Ferlita Bakery, the museum brings the story of Ybor City to life, celebrating its vibrant past as the world’s cigar capital.

Explore the museum’s diverse exhibits, featuring artifacts, photographs and documents that chronicle the city’s cigar industry and the immigrant communities that shaped its character. In addition to its permanent collection, the Ybor City State Museum offers interactive exhibits, educational programs and special events that immerse visitors in the rich tapestry of Tampa’s Latin community.

Family-Friendly Museums: Glazer Children's Museum and MOSI

A picture of a family enjoying a day at one of the best museums in Tampa

When traveling with kids, finding engaging activities that cater to their interests and energy levels is crucial. Tampa offers a variety of family-friendly museums, including the Glazer Children’s Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). These museums provide entertaining and educational experiences for children of all ages. With interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, these museums allow kids to learn while having fun. Ensuring a memorable experience for the whole family, museums can provide a great way to explore the city and have fun together.

Glazer Children's Museum

The Glazer Children’s Museum is a wonderland of exploration and discovery, offering 21 diverse exhibitions that cover a range of topics, including:

  • Animal care

  • Engineering

  • Science experiments

  • Art and creativity

  • Music and sound

Here, children are encouraged to learn through play, engaging with interactive exhibits that captivate their imaginations and stimulate their curiosity.

Some highlights of the museum include:

  • The Vet Clinic, where kids can learn about caring for animals

  • The KidsPort water play area

  • The Engineers’ Workshop, where young builders can invent and create

The museum also hosts special events throughout the year, such as the annual Halloween Spree and Gingerbread Village.

Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) is an innovative hub that offers a diverse range of interactive exhibits focusing on science, technology, engineering and math making it one of the most engaging science museums.

Here, visitors can delve into the world of robotics, explore the human body, or learn about the environment through engaging displays and hands-on experiments.

MOSI also features a state-of-the-art planetarium, where guests can explore the cosmos and discover the wonders of our solar system. For those seeking a more adrenaline-pumping experience, the MOSI ropes course provides a thrilling challenge, testing visitors’ physical and mental boundaries.

Art Lovers' Paradise: Tampa Museum of Art and Morean Arts Center

A picture of the Tampa Museum of Art with its art camps and educational programs

For art enthusiasts, the Tampa Museum of Art and Morean Arts Center are among the best museums to visit. These museums showcase an impressive array of contemporary art, glass sculptures and exhibits that will delight and inspire both seasoned art aficionados and casual observers. From modern installations to ancient treasures, these museums offer a diverse collection of art that caters to a broad range of tastes and interests.

Visitors can explore the galleries and take in the unique atmosphere of each museum. They can.

Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art houses a remarkable collection that spans a wide range of periods, styles and mediums. Visitors can admire ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts as well as explore contemporary art installations such as the stunning Sky (Tampa) LED light display created by artist Leo Villareal.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Tampa Museum of Art hosts temporary exhibitions, educational programs and special events that cater to a diverse audience. The museum also offers free admission to college students and participates in the Museums for All program, providing free access to eligible visitors.

Morean Arts Center

The Morean Arts Center is home to the renowned Chihuly Collection, an awe-inspiring display of glass sculptures created by master artist Dale Chihuly. This breathtaking collection showcases Chihuly’s innovative techniques and signature style, leaving a lasting impression on all who visit.

The Morean Arts Center also offers glassblowing demonstrations and workshops, providing a unique and interactive experience for visitors. Watch skilled artisans create beautiful glass pieces before your eyes, or even try your hand at this delicate art form under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Maritime Adventures: SS American Victory Ship and Clearwater Marine Aquarium

A picture of the SS American Victory Ship, a fully operational WWII ship

For those seeking maritime adventures, the SS American Victory Ship and Clearwater Marine Aquarium offer unique experiences steeped in history and marine life. These attractions provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and an opportunity to learn about the incredible creatures that inhabit our oceans.

Regardless of your interests, these maritime destinations promise unforgettable experiences for visitors of all ages.

SS American Victory Ship

A photo of the SS American Victory Ship, one of the top museums in Tampa showcasing the history of American maritime industry.

Step aboard the SS American Victory Ship, a fully operational World War II cargo ship turned museum, and immerse yourself in its rich history. Explore the expansive triple-level cargo holds, authentic radio and signaling rooms, onboard hospital, mess hall, crew cabins and captain’s quarters all meticulously preserved to provide an authentic experience.

The SS American Victory Ship also hosts special events throughout the year, such as the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade in December and Undead in the Water for Halloween, providing unique opportunities to experience this historic vessel in a festive atmosphere.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is:

  • A rescue and rehabilitation center for marine animals, including dolphins, sea turtles, and stingrays

  • Dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing marine animals

  • Focused on educating the public about marine life and conservation.

Visitors can enjoy a range of interactive experiences at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, such as animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours and educational programs. Discover the incredible world of marine life and learn about the vital work being done to protect and preserve these amazing creatures.

Sports and Heroes: Tampa Baseball Museum and Tampa Firefighter Museum

A picture of the Tampa Baseball Museum with its collection of baseball history

Sports and heroes play a significant role in the cultural fabric of Tampa, and the Tampa Baseball Museum and the Tampa Firefighter Museum celebrate these important aspects of the city’s identity. Explore the rich history of baseball in Tampa at the Tampa Baseball Museum and honor the brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting the community at the Tampa Firefighter Museum.

The Tampa Baseball Museum, a part of Tampa’s Museum scene, offers a unique opportunity to learn about the city’s baseball history.

Tampa Baseball Museum

The Tampa Baseball Museum features:

  • Exhibits on the Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Memorabilia from the teams’ past

  • The childhood home of Al Lopez, a Tampa native who was the first major league player, manager and hall of fame inductee from the city.

Discover the legacy of baseball in Tampa through the museum’s engaging exhibits and learn about the city’s passion for the sport. From little league to the major leagues, the Tampa Baseball Museum offers a comprehensive look at the history and impact of baseball in the city.

Tampa Firefighter Museum

At the Tampa Firefighter Museum, you can:

  • Gain a deeper appreciation for the history of firefighting in Tampa and the brave individuals who have served as first responders

  • Explore a fully restored firehouse that operated as a fire department until 1978

  • Get a glimpse into early 20th-century firefighting

  • Learn about fire safety education

The museum features a variety of exhibits showcasing the Tampa Fire Department’s past, as well as memorabilia from the department’s history. Visitors can also enjoy an interactive children’s area, providing an engaging experience for both young and old alike.

Iconic Landmark: Henry B. Plant Museum

A picture of the Henry B. Plant Museum with its lavish furnishings and South Wing

The iconic Henry B. Plant Museum is a must-visit landmark in Tampa, showcasing opulent Victorian-era furnishings, artifacts, and architecture. Located in the south wing of Plant Hall on the University of Tampa’s campus, the museum allows visitors to step back in time and experience the lavish lifestyle of the late 19th century.

Explore the museum’s exquisite collection of original furnishings and artifacts, as well as engaging exhibits that cover events during the Victorian era, Florida’s early tourism industry and early Tampa history.

With its stunning architecture and fascinating exhibits, the Henry B. Plant Museum offers a unique glimpse into Tampa’s past.

Tampa Riverwalk: Museums Along the Scenic Pathway

The Tampa Riverwalk is a picturesque 2.6-mile walkway that offers stunning views of the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. As you stroll along the scenic pathway, you’ll discover a variety of cultural and entertainment attractions, including several of the city’s finest museums. From history and art to science and maritime adventures, the Tampa Riverwalk provides a beautiful and engaging way to explore the city’s most captivating cultural attractions.

Some of the museums along or near the Tampa Riverwalk include:

  • Tampa Bay History Center

  • Glazer Children’s Museum

  • Tampa Museum of Art

  • SS American Victory Ship

With so many fascinating attractions to explore and breathtaking waterfront views, the Tampa Riverwalk is an experience not to be missed.

Art Camps and Educational Programs

Art camps and educational programs in Tampa provide a wealth of opportunities for children to learn and develop their creativity. Some options include:

  • Summer art camps at the Tampa Museum of Art

  • Berkeley Preparatory Summer Programs

  • Engaging workshops, lectures, and interactive activities at various museums

Children of all ages can expand their artistic horizons and cultivate their creative talents through these programs.

These programs not only foster a love for the arts, but also encourage personal growth, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. By participating in art camps and educational programs, children can gain valuable experiences and insights that will enrich their lives and inspire them to pursue their passions.

Cool Museum Exhibits and Events

A picture of the Tampa Riverwalk with its scenic pathway and museums

Tampa’s museums are brimming with cool exhibits and events that cater to a wide range of interests, such as unique installations, special events and interactive experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or a science enthusiast, there’s always something exciting happening at Tampa’s museums.

Some of the most anticipated events include the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, the Florida State Fair and the Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Festival. These events showcase the vibrant spirit and diverse cultural offerings that make Tampa a truly unique and engaging destination for visitors of all ages.

Summary

In conclusion, Tampa’s museums offer a diverse array of attractions that cater to a wide range of interests, from history and art to science and maritime adventures. With engaging exhibits, unique installations, and special events, there’s always something new to discover and experience in Tampa. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural scene and let your curiosity lead the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Tampa have museums?

Yes, Tampa has a wealth of museums and was awarded the honor of being one of the “Top Arts Destinations” by American Style Magazine.

What is the fancy area of Tampa?

Palma Ceia is a fancy area of Tampa known for its affluent residents, low crime rate and top-rated public schools. It is just minutes from the central business district of downtown Tampa.

How much is the Tampa Art Museum?

The Tampa Art Museum admission prices are $20 for adults, $12 for seniors, Florida educators, military and professional artists, $5 for students and free for children ages 6 and under and college students.

Is there a lot to do in Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay is Tampa. Bay offers a wide range of attractions, activities, and family fun, making it an ideal destination for any traveler. With its numerous attractions, Tampa Bay is certainly a great place to explore and have fun.

What types of museums can I find in Tampa?

Tampa is home to numerous museums, from history and art to science and maritime.

Explore the city and discover a wealth of cultural attractions!


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