Staffed by a corps of chimp-loving volunteers working alongside veterinarians, the nonprofit Suncoast Primate Sanctuary provides a safe haven for more than 100 rescued animals. Chimpanzees and monkeys swing freely in their enclosures, living out their days after being moved from other environments, including zoos, sanctuaries, and research centers, or retiring from the film industry as animal actors and studio executives. During public hours, children and adults can wander among the menagerie to feed the monkeys and meet other critters such as orangutans, macaws, lemurs, and alligators.
With nearly 30 years of glass industry experience, professional artist Kathleen leads students of all levels in creating works of art. Her classes—which are kept small to allow for individualized attention—teach the basics of stained glass, fused glass, and mosaics, as well as creating jewelry items such as beads and pendants. Kathleen can also be commissioned to create custom pieces, such as church windows and stained glass doors.
Founded in 1972, Clearwater Marine Aquarium dedicates itself to preservation and educating the public on its efforts in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life. Membership grants the pass holder free yearlong access to the aquarium's vast array of animals and activities as well as invitations to private events, a 10 percent discount in the gift shop, and the ability to send whales to their home planet. The panoply of exhibits includes Turtle Cove and the Atlantis Theater, where viewers experience the rescue, rehab and release of marine life. Thrilling dolphin presentations feature Winter the dolphin, star of the upcoming kids' film Dolphin Tale, performing titillating aeronautical feats and waxing rhapsodic to James Lipton.
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.
At Fish Magnet Fishing Charters, the magnetic force that brings hook and fish together is United States Coast Guard–certified Master Captain Janot B. Vilardell. Aboard his 18-foot fishing boat, he steers anglers into fishing hot spots along the Gulf of Mexico as well as inland waterways such as the Suwannee River. Once anchored, he shares tips and techniques for reeling in the big one: the plug to the ocean's drain. As an added bonus, he supplies all of the tackle and bait.
Sun Line Cruise's 45-foot catamaran, the "Island Star," transports its passengers to local spots where they can enjoy views of everything from lovely sunsets to pods of dolphins. Passengers sip beer and wine and watch the sun sink below the Gulf of Mexico on evening cruises, and learn about the local marine wildlife and eco-system on Sea Fari cruises around Anclote Key. This locale, which is the northernmost barrier island in the Gulf, is also home to a historic lighthouse built in 1887.