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Your destination - Tampa

Thunderstorms are not uncommon in Tampa, which got its name from the native American word for lightning. But mostly the climate is ideal for year-round fun and recreation, thanks to the warm breeze that blows in from the Gulf of Mexico. Located on the west coast of Florida at the mouth of the Hillsborough River and the head of Tampa Bay, the city is at the heart of the metropolitan area that rings the Bay, an area that also includes St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, and Dunedin. Tampa's population is estimated at 285,000, and the growing metro area now exceeds 2,180,000.

The Port of Tampa is one of the nation's busiest deepwater ports because of its nearness to the Panama Canal. The city's economy is built also on a strong manufacturing base, ranging from electronics and communications equipment to processed food and construction equipment. It is one of Florida ’s most important centers of commerce and finance. And tourism is of course important to Tampa's metropolitan area, a mecca for the millions of visitors who take advantage of the blue green waters and white sand beaches. Nearby is MacDill Air Force base, home of the United States Central Command responsible for Middle East military operations. The region is served by Tampa International Airport, Amtrak, and an excellent highway/freeway system.

Major points of interest are the Museum of Science and Industry, Historical Society, Heritage Park, the underwater theater at Weeki Wachee Springs, Salvador Dali Museum; the Florida Aquarium; Museum of Art; Museum of African American Art; and the Performing Arts Center, home to the area’s symphony, opera, and ballet. Other popular attractions are Busch Gardens; Buccaneer Bay; Adventure Island; the chance to discover Florida’s wilderness along river shores in the Canoe Escape; Boat Yard Village; Tampa Stadium, home of the Buccaneers NFL football team; and Ice Palace, home of the Tampa Bay NHL hockey team. One of the most popular annual events is the Gasparilla Festival, a Mardi Gras Tampa style.

For entertainment and nightlife, there's the Key West Comedy Club; the Coliseum & Empire Club; Pleasuredome; Cafe Cohiba; the Castle, everybody's favorite place to party; jazz at The Fox; the Seminole Gambling Palace; Flannagans Irish Pub; and the Holiday Cafe where they say anything goes.

This region was occupied by Native Americans long before Europeans arrived in the 1520s. Though the Spanish explored the area extensively over many years, the site of present-day city was not settled by whites until 1823. A fort was built the following year to protect the settlement. The city was incorporated in 1855.


 
 


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