Tampa is the South’s third-most popu- lous city behind Miami and Atlanta.
Its chief treasure is its diversity—the city
combines elements of the Italian, Spanish, Indian, Cuban and African American
cultures that reflect its historical development and lend Tampa a cosmopolitan
flair. Warm, sunny weather, a Gulf Coast
location, an abundant labor supply, and a
spirit of cooperation between the public
and private sectors have made it a thriving city. With pristine white sand and
miles of unspoiled shoreline, the Gulf
beaches are some of the best that America has to offer. In 2005, the north beach at
Fort DeSoto State Park was rated the best
in the country by ‘Dr. Beach,’ a professor
at Florida International University.
Tampa is also a haven for fishing en-
thusiasts. From late October through No-
vember, millions of kingfish pass through
the area’s waters. From March into early
April, Spanish mackerel, bonito and co-
bia join the parade, making offshore
fishing a spectacular treat. Perhaps the
most well-known and celebrated event is
the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, referred to
as the Mardi Gras of Tampa, which has
been held yearly since 1904. The inva-
sion-themed event has an attendance of
over 400,000 people and provides over
$23 million to the city of Tampa.
For theater, music or dance there are
the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center,
the Ford Amphitheater or the Gorilla The-
ater. The Tampa Improv Comedy Theater
& Restaurant is the place to go for comedy.
For those interested in art or history, a visit
to the Tampa Museum of Art, the Museum
of Science and Industry and the Tampa
Bay History Center is recommended.
The area also features several theme
parks, including Busch Gardens, Adventure Island and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.
Discovery Cove and Seaworld are just
a short drive away in nearby Orlando.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL
became the area’s first major sports franchise, followed by the NHL’s Tampa Bay
Lightning hockey team and their own
baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Lifelong Learning Opportunities
The University of South Florida is currently ninth in the nation with an enrollment of 44,891 students. University of