Living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida has afforded me many opportunities to enjoy the natural sea life here.
My family would drive us out to Clearwater Beach on pleasant weekend afternoons while our elementary school would take us on field trips to find sea sponges in Tarpon Springs or to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.
But I think it’s the aquariums in west Florida that I love the most. Down in Sarasota there is the famous Mote Marine Aquarium which is famous for its large dolphin facility. While I was a student at New College, I had friends in the marine biology program that were able to work at the aquarium while they were completing their undergraduate education. I loved visiting the aquarium in Sarasota, even if most of the facility is outside and not climate controlled. The most exciting aquarium trip for me was visiting the Florida Aquarium in Tampa for the first time after moving to the area following college. The aquarium is on the waterfront where the Ybor Channel spills into the Ybor Turning Basin. One of the best parts about the Florida Aquarium is the strong indoor air conditioning during the hot summer season when temperatures get above 100 degrees some afternoons. You can walk around and marvel at all of the gorgeous marine life in the panoramic glass tanks. There are sea turtles, sting rays, manatees, sharks, and so much more. If you need a place to visit while staying in the Tampa Bay area, the Florida Aquarium is a wonderful destination.