Don't tell us you're bored! Tampa Bay features hundreds of museums, parks and galleries to keep you entertained and informed. Here are just a few dozen from Pinellas, Hillsborough and surrounding counties.
ARMED FORCES HISTORY MUSEUM The 33,000-square-foot center features military vehicles, weapons and artifacts from World War I through today. 2050 34th Way N, Largo. armedforcesmuseum.com.
BOYD HILL NATURE PRESERVE 245 acres of preserve along the shores of Lake Maggiore, complete with picnic areas, playgrounds and an education center. The highlight is the extensive nature trails and boardwalks hardwood highlighting six ecosystems: hammocks, sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, willow marsh, swamp woodlands and lake shore. 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg, 727-893-7326. stpeteparksrec.org/boyd-hill-nature-preserve.html.
BROOKER CREEK PRESERVE You'll find 4 miles of hiking trails – with white-tailed deer, wild turkey, otter, gopher tortoise, bobcat and coyotes -- in the 8,700-acre wilderness preserve. 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs, 727-453-6800. brookercreekpreserve.org.
CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM The aquarium is dedicated to education, research, and the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sick or injured dolphins, sea turtles and river otters. The center gained worldwide fame after the movie Dolphin Tale came out, and that's where you can visit the movie's star, Winter the dolphin. 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, 727-441-1790. seewinter.com.
THE CHIHULY COLLECTION Check out the stunning works of world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly in a 10,000-square-foot space designed by award-winning architect Albert Alfonso. 400 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. 727-822-7872. moreanartscenter.org.
THE DALI MUSEUM The new building brings together the “rational with the fantastical: a simple rectangle with 18-inch thick hurricane-proof walls out of which erupts a large free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the 'enigma.' ” Inside you'll find the largest collection of Salvador Dalí's artwork outside of Spain; outside, a beautiful peaceful garden that includes perhaps the city's best labyrinth. One Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg. 727-823-3767. thedali.org.
DUNEDIN FINE ART CENTER The state-of-the-art center features four galleries and 11 studio classrooms, focusing on mixed media, drawing, sculpture, printmaking and other art forms for children and adults. Exhibitions include the annual Wearable Art Fashion Show. 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin. dfac.org.
FLORIDA BOTANICAL GARDENS Explore the 182-acre park, which is packed with native Florida plants and exotic tropicals in both natural and landscaped settings. The garden is the home to more than 150 types of bird, mammals and reptiles, including Bald Eagles and Gopher tortoises. 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, 727-582-2100. flbg.org.
GREAT EXPLORATIONS CHILDREN’S MUSEUM Here is a perfect rainy-day activity for the kids, ideally ages 2 to about 10. Highlights include a reefscape with a hands-on area for creating your own ecosystem, a 100-foot touch tunnel, and a Critter Cave with reptiles and arachnids. 1925 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg. 727-821-8992. greatexplorations.org
GULFPORT HISTORICAL MUSEUM This museum documents the diversity and colorful history of one of Pinellas' oldest incorporated cities, and includes property records dating into the early 1900s. 5301 28th Ave. S., Gulfport. 727-327-0505. gulfporthistoricalsociety.org
HERITAGE VILLAGE The 21-acre park features 23 historical structures reflecting turn-of-the-century lifestyles of Pinellas pioneers, plus a library with more than 2,000 volumes, photos and maps. Docents in period costumes offer tours and demonstrate quilting, basket making and more. 11909 125th St. N., Largo. 727-582-2123. pinellascounty.org/heritage.
JOHN’S PASS VILLAGE & BOARDWALK Get a taste of Old Florida in this village, which houses moe than 100 shops and restaurants. This is also a great place to catch a dolphin or sunset cruise, or rent kayaks, jet skis or fishing boats. 150 Johns Pass Boardwalk W, Madeira Beach. johnspass.com.
MOREAN ARTS CENTER The center actually was founded in the 1910s, as the Art Club of St. Petersburg, and now offers contemporary works by local and national artists. 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-822-7872. moreanartscenter.org.
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS The permanent collection includes about 18,000 pieces, among them masterpieces from Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, Morisot, Cézanne, Rodin, and O’Keeffe. 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, 727-896-2667. fine-arts.org
PIER 60 Spend the day at the 1,080-foot fishing pier/park, which includes a bait house, six pavilions and one of largest beach playgrounds on the Gulf. Make sure to stay for the sunset celebration, 6-9 pm, featuring craft vendors and Key West-style entertainment. 10 Pier Drive, Westernmost point of State Road 60, Clearwater Beach, 727-461-7732. myclearwater.com.
PINELLAS TRAIL Converted from an unused railroad corridor, this 34-mile paved trail is perfect for hikers, bikers, joggers and skaters. The trail runs up and down the length of the county, from South St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. 727-549-6099. pinellascounty.org/trailgd.
SAFETY HARBOR MUSEUM AND CULTURE CENTER Displays of fossils, beads and pottery tell the story of Florida’s first people and the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century. 329 Bayshore Blvd. S, 727-726-1668. safetyharborculture.org.
ST. PETERSBURG MUSEUM OF HISTORY The permanent collection includes hundreds of historic photos and artifacts and replicas of the early Williams Park band shell bonnet and a parlor car from the Orange Belt Railway. The museum’s signature exhibit traces the story of commercial aviation from its starts in St. Petersburg in 1914. 335 Second Ave. N.E. 727-894-1052. spmoh.org.
SUNKEN GARDENS This four-acre, 100-year-old garden drops 15 feet below street level and combines lush tropical areas with flowing ponds and cascading waterfalls. Don't miss the pink flamingos! 1825 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg. 727-551-3102. stpete.org/sunken.
WEEDON ISLAND PRESERVE A half-dozen surrounding islands complement this 3,190-acre shore preserve. Mangroves, birds and sea life make Weedon the perfect destination for nature watchers, photographers, bird-watchers and hikers. 1500 Weedon Drive, St. Petersburg. 727-453-6500. weedonislandpreserve.org. .
ADVENTURE ISLAND Six giant slides and four pools make this the perfect destination on those hot summer days. The park is open daily March through October. 10001 Malcolm McKinley Drive, Tampa, 888-800-5447. adventureisland.com.
BIG CAT RESCUE The nonprofit, known as a retirement home for exotic cats, features more than 150 lions, tigers and bobcats. 12802 Easy St., Tampa, 813-920-4130. bigcatrescue.org.
BUSCH GARDENS This 300-acre African-themed park and zoo houses 2,000+ animals and six thrilling roller coasters. 10165 N. McKinley Drive, Tampa. 813-987-5000. buschgardens.com.
DINOSAUR WORLD Life-size models of dinosaurs! Yes, only in Florida! 5145 Harvey Tew Road, Plant City, 813-717-9865, dinosaurworld.com.
THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM The downtown Tampa attraction focuses on Florida marine life and habitats. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. laquarium.org.
FLORIDA MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS FMoPA collects, preserves, and exhibits historic and contemporary works by nationally and internationally known photographic artists. 400 N Ashley Dr, Tampa. 813-221-2222 fmopa.org
GLAZER CHILDREN’S MUSEUM The 53,000-square-foot center is a wonderland for kids 10 and under. More than 150 interactive exhibits include high-tech stimulation and pretend-play settings. 110 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. glazermuseum.org.
LOWRY PARK ZOO Named the top zoo by Parents magazine, Lowry Park features more than 1,000 animals on 60 acres of natural habitats, splash ground water play areas, wild rides, educational shows and interactive opportunities to get closer to wildlife. 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-935-8552, lowryparkzoo.com.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY MOSI, The largest science center in the Southeast includes two replica dinosaur skeletons, an IMAX theater with an 82-foot hemispherical screen, 40 acres of water conservation elements and outdoor exhibits and much more. 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. 813-987-6000. mosi.org.
THE HENRY B. PLANT MUSEUM A national historic landmark, the museum’s housed in what was once the luxurious Tampa Bay Hotel. Exhibits include original artworks from private collections, period clothing and mementos from Teddy Roosevelt’s visits. University of Tampa, 401 Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. 813-254-1891. plantmuseum.com.
TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART A sleek visual landmark at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa, the museum distinguishes itself with an exterior illuminated with programmable LED lights, 45 feet high and 300 feet long, embedded within two-layers of perforated aluminum panels, designed by Leo Villareal. The 66,000 sq. ft. center shows world-class touring exhibitions and offers educational programs. 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. tampamuseum.org.
TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER The interactive museum includes historical photos and artifacts, plus special programs on west central Florida’s indigenous origins, the role of cigar manufacturing in Tampa and quite a few mobster tales, too. 801 Old Water St., Tampa. tampabayhistorycenter.org.
USF CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM An impressive collection of more than 5,000 art works including graphics and sculpture multiples by internationally acclaimed artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist, who have worked at USF’s Graphicstudio. 3821 Holly Drive, Tampa. 813.974.4133.
YBOR CITY MUSEUM & STATE PARK Exhibits include old photographs of Ybor City and its early inhabitants, the cigar factory workers. 1818 E. Ninth Ave., Ybor City. 813.247.6323. ybormuseum.org.
Beyond Pinellas & Hillsborough
BOK TOWER GARDENS The Lake Wales National Historical Landmark's gardens are among the prettiest in the nation. At the center of it all is a 205-foor Singing Tower, featuring daily concerts and special events throughout the year. 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. Call 863.676.1408 for prices and hours.
HOMOSASSA SPRINGS STATE WILDLIFE PARK The park includes an underwater observatory and showcases native Florida wildlife such as manatees, black bears,alligators, crocodiles and more. 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa. Call 352.628.5343 for prices and hours. floridastateparks.org.
LEGOLAND FLORIDA The 150-acre interactive theme park has more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, plus restaurants, shopping, a botanical garden and a water park. 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven. florida.legoland.com.
PIONEER FLORIDA MUSEUM Get a glimpse of the past, including a turn-of-the-century Porter Steam Engine, an 1860s farmhouse and a 1878 Methodist church. 5602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. dadecity.com/museum.
WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS This attraction is known for its primarily known for its mermaid shows, but also features riverboat rides, animal shows, and Buccaneer Bay, a spring-fed water park, beaches, flume rides and more. 6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee. 352-529-5656. weekiwachee.com.
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