History is like Frankenstein's monster; all it takes to make it come alive is the right education, a large body of artifacts, and an electrical storm. Learn from the past with today's Groupon: for $10, you get two admissions to the Henry B. Plant Museum on West Kennedy Boulevard (up to a $20 value). Admission for children ages 4–12 is regularly $5, and admission for children younger than 4 is free.
Housed inside the landmark 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the majestic Henry B. Plant Museum celebrates the grandiosity of Henry Plant’s ambitious vision with awe-inspiring architecture and opulence, seamlessly time traveling visitors into Victorian times.
Heralded by 19th-century scribes as the “King of Florida,” railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant used his riches to create a lavish hotel in the style of a Moorish palace amid Tampa’s sand swamps, alligators, and bubbling layers of sunscreen. Jaws will drop as they enter the exuberant halls of his completed vision, where Moorish architecture, tropical gardens, and a collection of luxurious furniture from the 1800s cause eyes to dilate in glee.
Audio tours (included in the price of admission) are accompanied by oral histories, interviews, archival footage, informative readings, and music that sets the mood for anachronistic discovery.
Situated on the Hillsborough River, where it accentuates the University of Tampa campus, the Henry B. Plant Museum sports a veranda offering a lovely view of downtown Tampa’s skyline. Adjacent to the picnic-perfect Plant Park and within walking distance of most of downtown Tampa’s treasures, the museum is the perfect centerpiece for a day spent ruminating on the nature of beauty and the feasibility of a car powered by hamsters.
Henry B. Plant Museum
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 two 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 some rooms included 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.
401 W Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33606Get Directions