After becoming a success in the railroad and steamship industries, 1800s businessman Henry B. Plant set his sights on a new venture: building a luxury hotel near Florida's cerulean shores. His vision landed him in an area that was but swampland and sand in 1889 Tampa. But three years and $3,000,000 later—including $500,000 in furniture and art—he successfully opened The Tampa Bay Hotel, a 511-room luxury destination sprawled over six acres.
Today, Henry's architectural and engineering feat serves as the home of the Henry B. Plant Museum, an institution that educates visitors on Plant's life, the Victorian period, and life in early Tampa. Among the building's groundbreaking aspects, the hotel was among the first in Florida to feature electrified rooms and pampered guests with in-house billiards, a babershop, and a telegraph office. His guests even enjoyed in-room telephones and private baths with hot and cold running water, a lofty accomplishment considering man wouldn't invent soap for another 13 years. The museum has now been restored to its former glory, showering current visitors in Victorian opulence, art, and its historic achievements.
The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is devoted to capturing, presenting, and preserving the singular moments of modern life with exhibitions of contemporary photography by international and intranational artists. Stillness and Shadows/Vintage Photographs of India gives viewers moody black-and-white glimpses of India during a pivotal period in the country's history. The upcoming Naked City: Photography from Vassar College's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center showcases sterling examples of urban photography from such lens-focusing luminaries as Andy Warhol, Diane Arbus, and Weegee. And in the Warhol vein, Your 15 Minutes of Fame gives you a chance to share your own camera's catches to a forum of fellow enthusiasts.
Lauded by Creative Loafing for its "multi-sensory approach to historical storytelling," the Tampa Bay History Center uses its 60,000-square-foot space to display immersive exhibits on 12,000 years of Tampa history. Historically-curious visitors can browse the center's interactive exhibits, including the story theater, which tells the dramatic story of Chief Coacoochee during the Second Seminole War. Browse through artifacts from Florida’s cigar trade, including a replica of a 1920s cigar store, an ideal exhibit to take any uncles that believe they've switched bodies with Groucho Marx. A new temporary exhibit, Blue and Gray in Tampa Bay: The Civil War on Florida's Gulf Coast opens January 10, 2011, joining exhibits on cattle ranching, European exploration, and the civil rights movement.
MOSI is a non-profit, community-based institution. We are dedicated to advancing public understanding of science, industry and technology. Our core ideology is to make a difference in people's lives by making science real for people of all ages.
A non-profit exhibition hall dedicated to preserving the honor and memory of America's fighting forces, the Armed Forces Military Museum depicts the nation's most visceral conflicts with vivid audio-visual flair. Visitors can wind their way through the 35,000-square-foot space to absorb more than a dozen artifact-packed permanent exhibits, including replicas of iconic wartime scenarios. Revisit the beginning of modern combat with a stroll through a World War I trench, gain new understanding about life in the Axis in the midst of a German village outpost, or reenact Alan Alda's trademark video poker tactics in the replica of Rose's Bar, a Korean War–era haunt that was immortalized on MAS*H. Cyber combatants can also rattle digital sabers with a ride in the museum's Virtual Voyager motion simulator, which can immerse the senses in 10 different scenarios. The M8 ride also offers the only armored vehicle ride in the Tampa Bay Area during the three-lap course. Rides can hold three riders per trip (including driver) and appointments must be made on the following days: Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A pirate ship hangs suspended in midair. Tennis balls rocket toward the ceiling. Plastic robots jolt to life. Recipient of a 2008 MetLife Foundation award for promising practices, Great Explorations Children's Museum incites creativity and inventiveness from visitors of all ages with a constantly rotating lineup of interactive exhibits that fill 18,000 square feet with touch, light, and sound. Pulley towers allow children to hoist themselves into the air, and a mock fire station thrills wee visitors with a fire engine, child-sized firefighters' gear, and microscopic dalmatians. Museum guides lead lesson programs in a multidisciplinary style, though visitors can also find the friendly professionals and their orange polo shirts bouncing between exhibits while performing science experiments, dancing, and playing music.
Themed events let visitors discover the museum's potential through focuses such as "Superhero Saturday," "Slightly Spooky Boo!seum," and "Winter Wonderland," and seasonal camps explore annual topics such as the life cycle of a bunsen burner.
From tie-dye ($35 per child) to garden-themed parties ($25), Pikasso's children's classes fresh-squeeze creative juices for the grade-school set. During a feet-print-platter class ($45 per child), kids create an adorable plate marked with their footprints. Adults can hone painterly techniques at clay, fused glass, or wire-wrapping and beaded-jewelry classes. Wheel-thrown pottery classes, taught by an expert potter, are available at $50 per person for a two-hour session (two-student minimum). Offsite events and parties add color to corporate events, birthdays, and home fumigations, and Practically Pikasso can supply 20–200 painters with supplies, helpful staff, and instruction (call ahead to inquire about costs).