A June 2001 trip
to Tampa by Free Spirit
Quote: Making sense of a large city in a short time was my goal. With some time together and with more time on my own to explore, I developed a strategy for seeing the important parts of Tampa. I left longing for more time and will return.
Hotel | "Wyndham Westshore"
Inside the hotel there is an area where one may purchase a nice breakfast, a snack, drinks, or if one is inclined to pay for an exceptionally nice meal, there is Shula's Steak House. There are also shops in the hotel in something called the Urban Center. The shops range from estate buyers to clothes cleaners and hair stylists. There is a shoeshine stand. Across the street from the hotel there is a mall. The hotel is conveniently located on a street that has easy access to the interstates and main roads.
The Wyndham is approximately 30 min. in heavy traffic from the Convention Center/highrise center of town. There are lots of maps and brochures for those like me who want to figure things out about a city on their own, but I could have saved time and probably have enjoyed more things if I had asked the desk for directions. The one time I asked, I was told the most direct way to go.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 23, 2001
Intercontinental Hotel Tampa
4860 West Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33609
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 24, 2001
Shula's Steak House (Wyndham Westshore)
4860 W. Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33609
Restaurant | "Steak and Ale"
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 23, 2001
Steak and Ale Restaurants
204 N. Westshore Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33609
Attraction | ""Blvd. of Dreams""
The entire boulevard extends for over seven miles from downtown all the way to a gate to Macdill AFB. I loved following the road right beside the bay. I love to look at water. There was no traffic. There were runners and walkers. There was a side street called Interbay that kept me right beside the water the whole way. I hope the people in those special houses don't feel as if their privacy is invaded too much by onlookers like me because the houses and their grounds can't be ignored. From the front one can't realize how deep the grounds are and exactly how huge some of the houses are. Also along the boulevard there is a restaurant where I wish I had eaten. The Colonnade on the Bay at 3401 Bayshore advertises that it has had a family tradition for fresh seafood since 1935. I know that there are other boulevards of dreams, but Bayshore has a sign claiming to be one, and I certainly enjoyed walking and riding there.
The park obviously is a wonderful place for families and children. Throughout Tampa I was impressed by groups of children from summer camps/schools who were supervised by adults and learning so much in an area that has so much to teach them. I learned all about estuaries. A bay, I learned, is an estuary, a place where fresh water from rivers mix with the salt water from the sea. Tampa Bay is Florida's largest open sea estuary and is almost 400 sq. miles. It is a place for all kinds of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, and there were certainly some strange looking creatures pulled in and tossed back for the entertainment of all while I was at Ballast Pt. Park. I was amused when a couple from England asked me for information about the area, and by now I felt as if I was beginning to understand it.
There were small sailboats on the bay. We could see the tall buildings of Tampa in the distance. It was peaceful and pleasant by the bay. There was an appropriate inscription by the pier. It was a tribute to someone who had been instrumental apparently in making the area what it is today. It said that he had been a lover of fishing. His ashes were spread on the water of the bay at Ballast Point. He obviously liked this spot, too.
Ballast Point Park
5300 Interbay Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33611
Attraction | "University of Tampa/old Tampa Bay Hotel"
The dining room is grand. Beside the museum entrance is an old Otis elevator, probably the oldest in Florida. The architecture of the building is special. The front veranda is huge and wonderful. The restoration of the roof with its minarets cost 10 million dollars. I really enjoyed this sight. The museum was supposed to be open, but looking around and reading about the building was fine. The lady who was so nice told me that at one time the area to see or live in Tampa was "South" Tampa. I wanted to see the bay most of all, and she told me to cross Kennedy and go south on South Blvd. She thought I would enjoy looking at the homes. I followed her advice and was not disappointed.
University of Tampa / old Tampa Bay Hotel
401 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33606
Like so many other cities, Tampa has this small "village" where one can shop, eat at one of the restaurants, walk around, get a feeling for the area. The shops sell nice merchandise of all types. I stopped into a small art gallery, for example, where I enjoyed talking with the ladies in charge who were very friendly and helpful. There is a fountain in the center of the village, but the water was not running. I wondered if that had something to do with the drought that Tampa has been experiencing this summer. On vacations, one wishes for no rain, I guess, but it was nice when there were some showers in the evenings.
Banners indicated that there is live music in the village on certain nights. It is a quaint area with side streets filled with shops. It was rather warm, and I was refreshed at the ice cream shop that sold smoothies. Walking around and stopping into the nice air conditioned shops was fun.
Old Hyde Park Village
South of Kennedy
Tampa, Florida 33606
Attraction | "Museum of Science and Industry/MOSI"
The one thing that I would really recommend about MOSI is the dome IMAX theater. Apparently the dome is different because the guide claimed that it was the only one of its kind in Florida. It was amazing. I saw a film about marine animals. It was so big and beautiful that one felt as if part of the water and the scenery. There are other films that run at different hours, but I was glad I saw this one. It was also interesting to learn about and see the IMAX projection room and to learn about the screen in the dome. It was fun to climb later to the top of the building and to stand on the top of the dome to enjoy the panoramic view of the area. If it hadn't been for the IMAX dome film, I would not recommend MOSI as highly, but that alone is worth the visit. There are teachers' guides available if teachers ask when they purchase their tickets.
By the way, pick up travel brochures for all the attractions in Tampa. Most of them contain coupons for discounts, and MOSI had one. I believe that I paid $9. There is a planetarium, but I did not see it. The butterfly garden was a little disappointing because I didn't see that many butterflies, but the guide was helpful and assisted with any questions. There is a gift shop where I purchased some astronaut ice cream in a package. I haven't tried it yet so I'll have to reserve judgement on the taste and texture. If one has an interest in science, MOSI is worth a visit. Follow the map to exhibits in the museum or you may feel, as I sometimes did, that you are wandering a little aimlessly. Actually I didn't realize I could go up onto the roof until someone shared that information with me.
Museum of Science & Industry
4801 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33617