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“Minarets but no mosque!”

Henry B. Plant Museum
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$29.99*
and up
Tampa History Cruise
Ranked #14 of 197 things to do in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Once the Tampa Bay Hotel, this museum focuses on the hotel's role in the Spanish-American War.
Reviewed October 27, 2012

As our group of Christian missionaries approached the Henry Plant Museum, we all noticed the towering minarets... a strange sight in Tampa, Florida! We all wondered why Mr. Plant wanted that architectural feature. We entered the museum and our curiosity was satisfied as the docent led us on a wonderful guided tour into the world and imagination of Henry Plant. Who knew that Tampa had been a vast and unexplored swampy wilderness? Mr. Plant not only brought the railroad to Tampa, but also built this amazing structure as a luxurious resort hotel. In the height of the Victorian era, when wealthy people traveled the globe in search of exotic sights, Henry Plant brought the exotic home to Florida. We loved our tour and left feeling a little sheepish about our initial reaction to the minarets! <blush>

3  Thank Pam B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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523 - 527 of 610 reviews

Reviewed October 15, 2012

This place is fabulous! I had read about it online on the sight designed for attendees of the Republican National Convention (though I wasn't a part of that) and it was good that I had because the staff of my hotel in Tampa didn't know of it. Good grief... It's a truly fascinating place, with so much to see and such well-done exhibits that I spent a happy 2 hours by myself strolling, looking, reading notes, and listening to the very helpful headphone commentary. Admission is inexpensive and it's easy to find. The grounds are gorgeous, too, and it's worth poking around a bit in the original lobby and hallways of the building, which is now the University of Tampa. I've told lots of people about this since I returned home.

Thank travelerneedsclean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2012

This is a great little museum that explores the history of Tampa and the vacation resort industry. They provide walk around audio so everyone can go at their own pace. It's really fun for all ages.

Thank RachelMay27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

I am embarrassed to say I attended UT for two semesters and didn’t manage to get to this museum until after I’d left their enrollment. Plant Hall, the former Tampa Bay Hotel, is an amazing building and its iconic minarets frequently featured in photos of the Tampa skyline. The museum itself is housed in just part of this huge structure. The rest of the structure has been converted into offices and administrative space for the university, though many architectural and decorative details remain and I recommend taking an unobtrusive stroll through the rest of the building before you leave.

The museum itself showcases a wealth of furniture, objects and photographs from the Tampa Bay Hotel’s brief but golden heyday. I am a gizmo geek so I adored the little audiowands provided – speakers at one end and a keypad to “dial up” the audiotour stops. I thought the design and layout of the audiotour stops was very well thought out. The audiowands feature flat speakers that you simply hold to your ear and if the surrounding room was a bit noisy, it could be hard to hear. But no problem since the audiotour was broken into very reasonable soundbites, with some rooms having 3-4 separate bits of narration. This made it easy to relisten to just the bit you missed or wanted to hear again.

I really appreciated the breadth of information provided. Lots of details not only about hotels but about the kinds of people that visited, what train travel was like in those days, major events that happened at the hotel and a lot of information I didn’t know about the importance of Tampa and the hotel as a pre-Cuba staging grounds for the Spanish-American War. My mom and I dallied for a solid hour and a half and enjoyed this museum greatly. Good value for $10 and a must-do for anyone interested in Tampa local history or details of the Gilded Age.

1  Thank Andrea B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2012

This piece of history is absolutely beautiful just to imagine life back then at this location it's amazing. wish there was more to see on the tour.

Thank Pam H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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