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“Good museum, map collection temporarily closed” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tampa Bay History Center

Tampa Bay History Center
801 Old Water Street, Tampa, FL 33602
813-228-0097
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Ranked #26 of 205 things to do in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: Experience 12,000 years of powerful stories at the Tampa Bay History Center. During your journey, you will stroll through a 1920s-era cigar store, row up the Hillsborough River, ride along with a cattle drive and learn about the early exploration of Florida. This waterfront building, with an eclectic Museum Store and the signature Columbia Cafe, is a memorable experience for families, history enthusiasts, Tampa area natives and beyond.
Radford, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Good museum, map collection temporarily closed”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

The museum is housed in a relatively new building along the Riverwalk near the convention center. It has lots of exhibits about the history of Tampa from early Indian settlement to modern times. There are also themed areas that focus on one aspect of the regions history such as Ybor City and the tobacco industry, military history, and sports. The exhibits are all interesting and some are interactive.
The biggest disappointment for me was that their map collection, which is supposed to be really good, is closed until November 2013.

Visited January 2013
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257 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Riverview, Florida
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Pams picks”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

My husband and I went when they first opened. We just took our best friends in November. They also loved it...Of course we will go again. This would be a great field trip for the kids in elementary school for a history lesson...Again. I am a Tampa native, as was my mom and grandmother.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Fun and educational--learn about Tampa”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013 via mobile

My 19-year-old son and I visited Tampa, partially for a work conference and also for a short trip before he headed back to college in Virginia. The history center is in a modern, attractive structure on the riverwalk just a short walk from the Marriott. We both love history and enjoyed learning about Tampa's rich history--Seminoles, huge cigar-making tradition, the port, Gulf seafood, and much more. Museum had many interactive displays for kids and adults alike, and two short but informative film presentations on Tampa's history on the earliest European explorers. One disappointment for us is that we were drawn to the center because of their extensive map collection and display. Unfortunately, the gallery was closed for preparation of a new exhibit and won't reopen until November 2013.

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Tampa, Florida
Top Contributor
169 reviews 169 reviews
55 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
99 helpful votes 99 helpful votes
“Impressive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

If you are new to Tampa, this is definitely the place to go. I've been in town for a few years, but this was a great place to learn the history of the area!

Visited December 2012
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Tampa, Florida
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“love history.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

From the outside it looks kinda small but once you get in and see all three floors, its pretty big. I've lived in Tampa for about 4 years now and didn't know alot of history about it, so I thought a trip to the Tampa Bay History Center would helpful, and was it ever! It takes you from the first trips to live here, to the settlers to came here and even the history of Ybor and the cigar making. Truly encompasses the full history of Tampa.

They also have a room for traveling exhibits and when I was there they had costumes from the movies, like Star Wars, Batman ect. It was awesome. If you love history you'll love this place.

Visited March 2012
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