A popular destination for beach-goers, or even a second tourist stop for those who are visiting nearby Orlando, Tampa has many attractions available for travelers of all kinds and also people who are moving to the area. Tampa was first incorporated in 1823, and unlike many other major cities in Florida, it was actually never settled by Spaniards and in fact only retained a stable settlement around the time of its incorporation, after Florida was already considered United States territory. Situated on the Gulf Coast, the beaches of Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas are some of the most popular on the West side of Florida.
Some of its notable attractions are its historic district in Ybor City, as well as its theme parks and aquariums, including:
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
This is a partner park to Orlando's own Sea World, and similarly, it is part zoo and part amusement park. At this attraction, you can ride some of the wildest roller coasters in Florida and get to know many different specimens of exotic wildlife, all in the sunny weather of Tampa Bay. If the usual tourist attractions like Disney World have brought you to Florida, it can certainly be worth it to make the roughly 2 hour drive West to see this park as well. If you're lucky enough to be in town during October, you can visit the Howl-O-Scream event and experience some high-quality haunted houses to celebrate the Halloween season.
Ybor City Museum State Park
Did you know that there once was (and to some extent, still is) a booming cigar industry in the Tampa area? Get a feel for the local past in historic Ybor City. Visit the museum, the gardens, and get to know how people lived in 19th-century Florida. One of Florida's two National Historic Landmark Districts, it is sure to make an impression on you.
Big Cat Rescue
Whenever big cats cannot be returned the wild, where can they go to live out the rest of their days? Dedicated to helping end the exotic pet trade, Big Cat rescue is a sanctuary for big cats that have been victims of trafficking. The organization is open to the public and people can come to see and learn about the lions, tigers, bobcats, and other feline species that the sanctuary protects. If you've come to Florida to get a taste of its famous wildlife, this would be a good place to start.
Ready for a splash? The Tampa heat can be overwhelming, especially in the summer, so if you're bored of visiting the beach, you may want to take a break and cool down in this water park. Whether you want to float around lazily in an inflatable donut or barrel down their many exciting water slides, there's something for everyone here.
There are many other great things to see in Tampa, and this small list barely scratches the surface, so if you move from Japan to Florida or if you happen to be in the Central Florida area for your vacation or even just business, take some time to explore the Tampa Bay area.