If you have never been to the Tampa Bay History Center, you don't know what you're missing. It is a wonderful location that has a multitude of different exhibits. Of primary importance is the emphasis on the first native inhabitants. This would be referencing the conquistadors that came from Spain. These are individuals that help shape the very foundation of this area of Florida. This particular building has three separate stories. As you go up, you are going to learn about the 12,000 years of history attributed to this region of Florida.
It is a place where you can learn so much from not only the exhibits but the theaters that are there. It is open daily, typically from 10 in the morning until 5 PM. The cost is right around $10 for adults, students, and children. Here is a quick overview of what you will find if you are able to visit this 60,000 square foot building.
If you start with the first floor, which is where everyone does begin, you are going to see icons of what represent Tampa Bay. There are a total of 14 of them, all colorfully representing the region back in the day, and you will also see many other unique items. There is also the Winds of Change theater where you can learn about historical characters. There is also an exhibit focused on Florida's first people. This would include the Calusa and Tocobaga tribes, people that live there as long as 12,000 years ago. This will then fast-forward to the European exploration and the Seminole Indians.
Finally, you are going to see something in Cigar City. When you arrive on the second floor, you are going to learn about the significant landmarks that can be found all throughout Tampa Bay. There are two other exhibits that will depict artifacts including saddles, whips, and branding irons that were used by those that would do the cattle drives. Once you get up to the third floor you are going to see what is called the Temporary Exhibitions Gallery. These are traveling exhibitions, ones that are on a rotating schedule, and this is often where many people go if they want to learn something new they have never seen before.
Also on the second floor, you are going to see Port City. You will get to see shipping containers and kids can play with an interactive model of the port at Tampa. Another exhibit is called Witness to Change. It is more of a gallery, one that is going to focus on three very important aspects of American life which include urban development, civil rights, and the natural environment. War stories also play a large role in the development of the state of Florida.
In the 1830s, there were wars going on in there are artifacts that you can see which are part of this timeline. A Land Remembered is another exhibit that will allow kids to try on pioneer clothing. For those that are interested, there is the Tampa Bay Timeline which is going to show artifacts, renderings, and photographs that are going to discuss the time of European contact, back in the 1500s, to the present day.
If you have not realized by now, this is a wonderful place to bring children. There are classes that come on an annual basis to see these exhibit so they can teach the children about their history. Whether they have been in Tampa although life or they have just moved there, it's good to know about your surroundings. It's even better to understand how Tampa became what it is based upon historical changes that have happened over the centuries.
If you do get a chance to visit, it is going to be an inspiring time. You will need to devote at least three or four hours while you are there. If you want to see everything, that's how long it will take. You could probably do it in less time, but that won't give you enough time to really process how much history is involved in what we call modern-day Tampa Florida.
Ybor City Museum State Park is also a must visit place. This place displays complete history of cigar making.