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The Florida Aquarium

Updated on November 21, 2014
4 stars for The Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium in Tampa

by Amber Maccione

Tampa's Florida Aquarium and Dolphin Cruise

Florida is one of those places that is known for two things: tourist attractions and retired folks/snow birds. Most people think of Orlando when it comes to tourist attractions, but Tampa (which is south west of Orlando) is a hidden treasure of delight. One of the charms in Tampa is Channelside Drive, which runs right along the side of Tampa Bay with its port for cruise boats and not far away marina. The Florida Aquarium is a must see if you ever plan a trip to Tampa (even if its just a business trip, you might want to pack the whole family for some of your down time to create some wonderful memories).

There are a couple of things that make the aquarium fun for the whole family: the easy to follow layout of the park, the hands on and up close experience of sea life, the kid friendly play areas and cafe, as well as the dolphin cruise boat ride.

When entering the park, you are given a map that tells you where you are located and directs you on the route to follow so that you can experience everything the park as to offer stress free. As you enter the park, you picture is taken and you are given a card with id so you can purchase it later once you finish the walk through. On the first floor is the gift shop, cafe, outside play area, and sting ray pool where you can tough the string rays. The sting rays are very friendly and welcome the touches. After visiting with the sting rays, your map directs you to go upstairs where you follow a path that leads you through the whole park until you wind up back at the sting ray tank. There are many neat things along the way such as shows and more touch and feel tanks.

The Florida Aquarium

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Petting the Sting RaysDolphin Cruise BoatDolphins from the view of the boat
Petting the Sting Rays
Petting the Sting Rays | Source
Dolphin Cruise Boat
Dolphin Cruise Boat | Source
Dolphins from the view of the boat
Dolphins from the view of the boat | Source

After viewing that park, take time to have lunch or dinner at the cafe and allow the children to play. There is a playground and water park outside the cafe for the young ones to enjoy while mom and dad enjoy a drink or two.

Right behind the cafe is the Dolphin Cruise boat which takes a group out into Tampa Bay with hopes of viewing dolphins. If you are lucky, you will get to see a few of them at play. If you are wanting to do the Dolphin Cruise, make sure you signed up when you purchased your admissions ticket as the boat ride is an additional fee. The ride is about an hour and a half. refreshments are served on board at a price.

I definitely would recommend the Florida Aquarium to anyone visiting the Tampa area. It is one of its many treasures that is worth the price and time.

The Florida Aquarium at Tampa

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701 Channelside Drive Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 273-4000

© 2012 Amber


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