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Best Aquariums to Visit in Tampa
Far from the Sea World arena, Tampa is a short drive from Orlando for some additional fun and attractions. If you're looking for a change of pace as you visit and tour the beaches, here are your best picks for aquariums on your visit to Tampa.
The Florida Aquarium is encased in a giant, 1100-panel shell-shaped dome right on Tampa's waterfront. It's the place to find the annual All-Release Fishing Tournament, a two-day event that encourages fishing enthusiasts of all ages to catch and release inshore snook, grouper, redfish, Spanish mackerel, and speckled sea trout for rewards and prizes. If you miss the event during the Spring, there's still plenty to see and do. This is the aquarium where you can take a dive into the shark tank, swim with a variety of underwater animals and fish, or take an eco-tour on the Bay Spirit catamaran. Other highlights include over 4,300 plants and animals and a million-gallon coral reef display. Be sure to make some time for a show at the IMAX theater next door. You can call (813) 273-4000 for ticket and schedule information.
The Lowry Park Zoo is the spot to visit with aquatic life and more. After you're done visiting with the manatees, be sure to travel to the four continents of the world to see over 1500 animals on the zoo grounds. Visit the Birds of Prey Theater, Lorikeet Landing, Primate World, and the Asian Domain for a complete tour; the Discovery Center is another highlight of the zoo with hands-on activities and interactive posts to learn more. Call (813) 935-8552 for tickets and more information.
You'll find some fascinating sights and exhibits at Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium. This is a privately owned establishment not too far from the Tampa Bay area. Step inside to view the 120,000 gallon shark tank, and catch the baby-shark-and-stingray feeding each day. You'll also find 7-foot alligators and shows with the sharks. Call (727) 938-5378 for more information.
If you're in the mood for some underwater sea exploration without the museum or exhibits, head to coast for snorkeling and scuba diving. Try your hand at deep water exploring with Bill Jackson's scuba diving classes and underwater instruction; you can swim with dolphins, explore the coral reefs, and learn more about the area around Tampa. Call (727) 576-4169 for more information. Diving Tampa also offers professional instructors and ten years of experience in the industry; call 1-877-GO-DIVIN to make arrangements!
As you head to the coast of Florida for some scenic drives and beachfront activities, be sure to visit an aquarium or two to explore the area's underwater life and fascinating aquatic history. Enjoy your trip to Tampa!