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If you're looking to get away from the standard vacation spots of Florida, be sure to check out Canoe Escape. Once there you can experience an exciting outdoor adventure or explore the quiet scenery of the Hillsborough River, all from the safety of your kayak or canoe. As you drift downstream you might glimpse a wandering deer, a wild hog, or even a sunbathing aligator. Leisurely independent tours can be booked, as well as guided tours, where an experienced staff member will show you the ins and outs of the swamp reserve. So whether you're going it alone or having a family outing you'll be sure to have an experience you'll never forget. Various trips are offered so check out the website for details.
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is sprawled over 56 acres (22.7 hectares). It boasts of a dual distinction of being Tampa's oldest zoo as well as one of the most kid-friendly attractions in the city. Its fauna are sheltered in eight habitat zones that recreate the natural environment of the wildlife. These include the Wallaroo Station for Australian species, the Asian Gardens and Sulawesi Aviary for giant cats, and the Florida Boardwalk for native animals. Its rehabilitation and preservation programs extend well beyond the efforts of a typical zoo. Its most notable initiative is the hospital, Manatee and Aquatic Center. After an engaging day with animals, kids can delight in safari tours, bumper boats, roller coasters and pony rides. Its traveling exhibits and talk shows educate the public on environmental conservation. This venue is also ideal for camps and sleepovers. Celebrate a birthday party, business event or a wedding in style amidst wildlife.
Walk the corridors of the Tampa Bay Hotel, now a museum and a National Historic Landmark, and experience a stroll through time when exquisite art, elegant furnishings and opulent grandeur conveyed the image of the Gilded Age. Built in 1891, the hotel, with its Moorish architecture and spiraling minarets, was created as a resort for the rich and affluent. Reservations needed for groups of 10 or more. Parking is free in front of the building and in a nearby parking garage.
Owned and operated by the city's Leisure Services Department, this “botanical experience” of tropical splendor, orchids and bromeliads features streams and pools adorned with colorful pink flamingos. There are special activities for children and wildlife presentations for everyone. Horticultural displays occur seasonally. A Rainforest Information Center here has exhibits of some of the eerier critters, including snakes and other reptiles, spiders, and scorpions. In the Garden you'll also find a captivating butterfly aviary.
For a fun-filled outing, United Skates of America has a little bit of something for everyone. First, at United Skates, it's all about skating. Bring your own or rent what you need then take to the rink and show off your stuff. Take a break and play some arcade games or get a slice of pizza at the food bar. United Skates offers classes for skating and hockey, has planned events such as derby night, offers discounted admission on select days, provides packages for birthday parties, and has an adult skating night for guests ages 17 and older. Call ahead for further information.