Tampa is a major city in Florida.
It is situated on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico.
The city covers a total area of 455 square kilometers (176 square miles).
The average altitude is 14.6 metres (48 feet) above sea level.
The area was visited by the Spanish explorers Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528 and Hernando de Soto in 1539.
Settlement of Tampa began with Fort Brooke, established in 1824 to oversee the Seminoles.
When the pioneer community living near the US Army outpost of Fort Brooke was incorporated in 1849, it was called “Tampa Town”, and the name was shortened to simply “Tampa” in 1855.
During the American Civil War the Confederates yielded the fort after bombardment by Union gunboats.
Henry B. Plant’s South Florida Railroad arrived in 1884 and stimulated population growth and new industry.
Cigar manufacturing was introduced in 1886 by Vicente Martinez Ybor, and Ybor City, Tampa’s Latin quarter, became a centre of that industry – although some cigars are still made in Ybor City, the enclave is now mainly a tourist spot.
By the 20th century Tampa emerged as a modern financial, trade, and commercial hub. It saw the start of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival and pioneering aviator Tony Jannus captaining the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, the world’s first commercial passenger airline. It also saw the rise of organized crime.
The number of residents exceeded 100,000 during the 1930s, 250,000 during the 1950s, and 300,000 during the 1990s.
Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the “Tampa Bay Area”.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church was constructed in 1905 in downtown Tampa, and is one of the oldest churches in the city of Tampa. The first Catholic parish on Florida’s West Coast was established in 1860 and named St. Louis Parish in honor of Fr. Luis de Cancer, a Dominican missionary who was martyred on the shores of Tampa Bay in 1549. The initial wooden-frame building called St. Louis Church was erected on the site where Sacred Heart stands today. In 1888 the Jesuits took over the pastoral responsibilities of the parish, after a serious outbreak of yellow fever in Tampa took the lives of three diocesan priests. Using Tampa as their base, the Jesuits were given the responsibility of all of South Florida by Bishop Moore. In 1905, a new Church was constructed in Romanesque style and the parish was renamed Sacred Heart.
The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is a not-for-profit science museum located in Tampa. It has several floors of science-related exhibits plus the only domed IMAX theater in Florida and a planetarium. Starting with the basics of physics, math, and other scientific principles, exhibits expand into various subject areas.
The Henry B. Plant Museum is located in the south wing of Plant Hall on the University of Tampa’s campus, at 401 West Kennedy Boulevard. Plant Hall was formerly known as the Tampa Bay Hotel, which was a 511-room resort hotel opened on February 5, 1891 by Henry B. Plant near the terminus of his rail line. The museum’s exhibits focus on Gilded Age tourism, the elite lifestyle of the hotel’s guests, and the building’s use during the Spanish–American War. It was designed by architect J.A. Wood who also created the old Hillsborough County Courthouse and the Oglethorpe Hotel.
Tampa Bay History Center is a history museum in Tampa. Exhibits include coverage of the Tampa Bay area’s first native inhabitants, Spanish conquistadors, and historical figures who shaped the area’s history, as well as a reproduction of a 1920s cigar store. The museum is on the waterfront at 801 Old Water Street in Tampa’s Channelside District. It opened on January 17, 2009.
The Tampa Museum of Art is located in downtown Tampa. It exhibits modern and contemporary art, as well as Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. The building, by architect Stanley Saitowitz, is designed to look like “an electronic jewelbox box sitting on a glass pedestal” and makes use of aluminum, glass, and fiber optic color-changing lights in the exterior walls to “make the building itself a work of art”.
The Glazer Children’s Museum is a children’s museum located in downtown Tampa, next to the Tampa Museum of Art. Housed in a 4,900 square-meter (53,000-square-foot) facility in downtown Tampa, the museum features 170 interactive exhibits in multiple themed areas. Traveling exhibits occasionally supplement the museum’s permanent collection as well.
The Florida Aquarium is located in downtown Tampa on the waterfront, conveniently on the streetcar line. It is a large scale, 23,000-square-meter (250,000-square-foot) aquarium. The aquarium is home to more than 7,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida and all over the world.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park is a 25-hectare (63-acre) zoo located in Tampa. It is home to more than 1300 animals and famous for having one of the most beautiful, tropical zoological settings in the world. Nearly 1 million people visit the zoo a year.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a 136 hectare (335-acre) African-themed animal theme park located in the city of Tampa, Florida. The park is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and has an annual attendance of just over 4.1 million a year, making it the second most visited among all SeaWorld Entertainment-owned parks behind SeaWorld Orlando, and eleventh overall among the 20 most visited amusement parks in North America.
Adventure Island is a water park located northeast of Tampa, across the street from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The park features 12 hectares (30 acres) of water rides, dining, and other attractions. The park opened on June 7, 1980, and is part of SeaWorld Entertainment.
Tampa has a diverse culinary scene from small cafes and bakeries to bistros and farm-to-table restaurants. The food of Tampa has a history of Cuban, Spanish, Floribbean and Italian cuisines. There are also many Colombian, Puerto Rican, Vietnamese and barbecue restaurants. Seafood is very popular in Tampa, and Greek cuisine is prominent in the area.
Tampa is the birthplace of the Florida version of the deviled crab and the Cuban sandwich, which has been officially designated as the “signature sandwich of the city of Tampa” by the city council.
People from Tampa are generally known as “Tampans” or “Tampanians”.