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Stuart Messham
Airlines and routes, Blog, Entertainment, Food and drink, Shopping,
The weather’s hot, the people are warm and entertainment lurks around every corner. Welcome to Tampa: a sun-blessed haven of family fun and adventure.
Some of the aquatic shows are quite spectacular.
Make a splash at Florida Aquarium

Perfect for: Family frolics and water-based wows

There’s aquariums and then there’s Florida aquarium: 250,000 square foot; 20,000 plants; a million-gallon coral reef; animals frolicking in both freshwater and saltwater environments; otters that can speak multiple languages and play chess.

Okay, that last one's a joke, but you get the idea. This place does everything you want from an aquarium and turns it up to 11.

Get up close with stingrays, horseshoe crabs, urchins, and starfish: be super-gentle and touch them if you want, they love it. And make sure you salute the brilliantly amusing penguins: they take the stage twice daily and are as comedic and adorable as you wanted every time.

There's nothing quite like Florida Aquarium and it really is a must-see when you're in town.

You can hand feed the Kangaroos at Walkabout Way.
Go big at Busch Gardens

Perfect for: Adrenalin junkies and animal lovers

As we touched on before, when Tampa does something, it does it big. And Busch Gardens is very much testament to this with an on-site gondola and train to help you negotiate the distances.

It’s a 335-acre homage to the Serengeti that’s host to 200+ animal species with rollicking roller coasters and the kind of world-class live shows that can make even the most cynical jaw drop gently to the floor.

There really is something for everyone: sedate rides for the little ones, thrill rides for the adrenalin junkies and plenty of opportunities for hands-on animal lovers to get up close and personal with the locals, including hand-feeding kangaroos at Walkabout Way.

You'll find Busch Gardens about 10 miles northeast of downtown Tampa and it's open every day of the year.

Tampa's downtown waterfront really is quite a special location.
Take a timeout on the Tampa riverwalk

Perfect for: Food, discovery and relaxation

If you want a breather from the breakneck thrills of the Florida Aquarium and Busch Gardens, the Tampa riverwalk is the perfect place to gently unwind.

It’s 2.6 miles long, following the banks of the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel, and connects many of the city’s most popular attractions, parks and restaurants.

Notable landmarks on the route include the Heights Public Market, Straz Performing Arts Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children's Museum, the Tampa Bay History Center and the Tampa Convention Center.

You can learn as you go with the myriad interpretive exhibits that highlight Tampa's history. Or just purchase a glass of wine from one of the many waterfront vendors and let your mind wander as you sip gently while drinking in the splendid surroundings. And don’t worry if you get a bit peckish en route: there’s plenty of top-quality eateries to suit all tastes.

It really is just a nice day out for all the family.


Tampa is a sun-kissed, fun-filled destination for all the family.
Experience it via Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic.