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Tampa Bay is nearly 400 square miles and contains creeks, four major rivers, the ocean and millions of living organisms. From tiny worms and microscopic phytoplankton to giant manatees, you'll be sure to find it while exploring. Bring your family and you're sure to see some beautiful waters and exciting animals at these attractions:
After landing, head over to Tropicana Field to see the Tampa Bay Rays and their mascots. This is the only professional sports facility in the world to have live cownose rays. They live in a 10,000-gallon tank, one of the 10 largest in the country, behind the right center field wall. Fans can feed and touch the rays at any time during the game. If you're traveling with younger fans, check out the Left Field Street, where kids can visit the Rays Baseball Carnival to play ring toss and tip-a-jug, and they can hit it out of the park in a batting cage against a computer image of a Major League pitcher. Head to the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall-of-Fame near Center Field Street. Here, fans can see displays of Williams' career from his military duty to being one of the best hitters in the league. Other artifacts and pictures at the museum honor Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Sadaharu Oh and Roger Maris. This stadium is truly one of a kind. Visit this ballpark to get up close and personal with the Tampa Bay Rays and their swimming mascots.
Lettuce Lake Regional Park
Lettuce Lake Regional Park opened in 1982 and has activities for every member of your family. Stroll the 3,500-foot boardwalk and visit the three-story observation tower where you can see Florida native wildlife and have an excellent view of the surrounding area. The 240-acre park includes trails for hiking and biking with a fitness course along the way. Visitors can rent a canoe or kayak to paddle the pristine waters that make up over half of the property from the natural floodplain of the nearby Hillsborough River. Nature fans love learning about the local flora and fauna and can see many examples of them here.On weekends during the summer, anyone can join a guided nature tour given by a park ranger to learn about the plants, birds and alligators that live here.
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center
When Big Bend Unit 4 started operating as a commercial power station in 1986, people didn't expect it to eventually become a manatee education center. Manatees started seeking refuge from the cold in the company's discharge canal, where warm water was returned back to Tampa Bay after being used to cool Unit 4. Visit the center and you can see the giant creatures eating and resting in the canal. Head to the environmental education building where you can learn about manatees and their habitats, see real bones from the gentle critter and feel the strength of a hurricane in the center's simulator. This is a perfect spot for family fun!