Things to Do in Tampa Bay Florida: Tampa Bay History Center

This will be my last post of the year. Yours Truly is taking a holiday break, so there will be no blog posts for the next two weeks. You’ll see the first post for 2017 on January 12th. I sincerely hope all of you have been inspired, or at least entertained, by my postings and photos over the last 12 months. Also, I hope you have purchased and continue to enjoy my books and ATFT gear (click the Shop tab above for info). Please leave me a comment and tell me what you’ve liked most about what I do.

So, for my final blog post of 2016, I’ll give you just one more place to take (or send) your out-of-state visitors so they can get a snootful of Tampa Bay history. It’s the Tampa Bay History Center at Channelside, near the Port of Tampa right beside the Amelie Arena where the Lightning hockey team plays.

I went there with my friend Carolyn, who suggested we go see the Clyde Butcher “Preserving Eden” photography exhibit, which is on display until January 8, 2017, if you’re interested. Clyde Butcher is a well-known Florida photographer, very old-school, who slogs through the Everglades in waders, carrying a huge view camera. His black-and-white images are spectacular as a result, and you can see many of them in large format at the History Center on the top floor.

That’s just the temporary exhibit, though. The other two floors have extensive permanent exhibits, with topics like the first European explorers and settlers, early and later wars, plus Native American history:

Florida’s orange growing industry:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the area’s NFL team, and other sports teams:

Florida’s extensive history of tourism, including area fishing:

Interactive exhibits about farming:

And my personal favorite, the cigar industry that grew up in Ybor City:

The exhibits were well done and very well-maintained; no dust or cobwebs in sight, as so often happens in many places.

After our leisurely perusal of the History Center, we settled in the lobby where the famous Columbia Restaurant has installed a little branch of itself called the Columbia Cafe. It has an impressive replica of the original wooden bar from the Ybor City location:  We had a wonderful waiter in the Spanish-style surroundings, and I even bought a sangria pitcher from Spain in their gift shop. Then, I visited the History Center’s gift shop on the other side of the lobby and bought the Columbia cookbook. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at the Spanish bean soup.

Ticket prices for the History Center are a manageable $12.95 for adults, which includes the permanent and temporary exhibits, with discounts for children, seniors, students, youth and military. Plus you get free parking at Amalie’s Blue Lot adjacent to the History Center. They’re open every day from 10am to 5pm, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

After our lovely morning and lunch at the History Center, we jaunted just down the street to the Florida Aquarium. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

By the way, here’s an easy, tasty cheese appetizer recipe to go with the seasoned saltine recipe I gave you last week:

Print Recipe
Mozzarella Cubes, Rosemary, Appetizer Recipe
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine cheese, rosemary, pepper, garlic and oil in a bowl.
  2. Toss to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for at least an hour up to 12 hours before serving. The longer it chills, the more intense the flavor.
  4. Stir again to coat and serve alongside crackers, pickles and other items on an appetizer tray.
Recipe Notes

Don't use fresh mozzarella for this; it's much better to use the low-moisture variety.

A fancy, flavorful, green olive oil is best to enhance the strong, Italian flavors of this recipe.

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Ok, Kiddies, that’s it for 2016. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a really Happy and Prosperous New Year. Please enjoy your friends and family, plus all those goodies, and I will see you next year!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

  1. Lauren Carr

    Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Thank you for this blog it is amazing and I just LOVE Clyde Butcher’s Photos-he a near answer to Ansel Adams!

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