April 1, 2002
Jutting out into Tampa Bay, this 5-tiered structure offers spectacular views of sparkling blue waters of Tampa Bay. On a clear day, you can see the skyscrapers of downtown Tampa to the north, as well as sailboats dotting the water in good weather. Other than that, this local found the Pier boring. It's main appeal must be to tourists.
Housed in the complex are several restaurants (a branch of Ybor's Columbia, Cha Cha Coconuts, and Cafe Lido Italian). On the second level is a small aquarium with tanks not much larger than much larger than some home wall tanks I've seen. Kids and out of staters might be fascinated with the few examples of native Florida marine life, but the only thing I found interesting where the Amazon seahorse (newly arrived) and the horseshoe crabs. There is a wall with information to the endangered sea turtle. Turtle tours are offered Saturday mornings 10am-Noon. On the third level is the soon-to-be-relocated Great Explorations hands-on Childrens Museum. Admission is $4.
On the ground floor are many touristy gift shops. Funny souvenir pick - Piece of Florida beach property - small bags of sand and a tiny seashell, personalized with common first names.
Out front off to the right is a real Florida photo opp - Pelican Feeding. The formation of hungary pelicans queue up for feeding whenever a paying tourist mounted the feeding platform makes you smile.
Free on-street parking (for 90 minutes) is hard to come by on busy days. Lot parking is $3 and there is a free trolley to take you to the main entrance of the pier.
The Pier and surrounding park are often site of many local activities/festivals. Others while away the hours fishing, or sunning and swimming on the small Spa beach.
From journal Tampa Bay Treasures