Central West around St Petersburg & Tampa, Florida Attractions
Aside from Seminole and Calusa Indians who came to the area as early as 200 BC, Central West Florida also saw many pirates in its early human history.
The maze of bays, inlets and coves made for the perfect hiding ground.Spaniards explored the area in the 1500's but never established a permanent base here. It wasn't until after the Seminole wars that former soldiers and other pioneers began to build settlements.Development started in earnest as wealthy industrialist Henry Plant competed for tourists with his eastern Florida counterpart, Henry Flagler. Plant brought his railroad to Tampa in 1884 and built a number of luxury hotels to attract wealthy clients. His opulent Tampa Bay Hotel still stands and now houses part of the University of Tampa and a museum.Today, many people come to the area to visit the St. Petersburg and Clearwater beaches. Though the region has seen several development booms over the years, Central West Florida still contains some rural districts and a lot of land has been set aside for parks and reserves.Franklin Street is the pedestrian center of downtown Tampa. The area is bordered by I-275 in the north, Meridian Avenue in the east, Garrison Channel in the south and the Hillsborough River in the west.
Brooksville is rich in limestone, making it the major industry of the town. Agriculture is another aspect of the community which is evident by the cattle ranches and horse farms.Many of the streets feature turn of the 20th century Victorian homes.
May Stringer Heritage Museum
The May Stringer Heritage Museum is housed in a four story gabled building that was built in 1856. Many of the 11,000 items on display depict pioneer life in the County of Hernando and the State of Florida. There is also a collection of period medical equipment on display.
Rogers' Christmas House Village (closed)
Weeki Wachee Springs Waterpark, Weeki Wachee, Florida
Weeki Wachee is built around a spring that maintains a temperature of 74F.Mermaids perform in an underwater theater, a Wilderness River Cruise allows visitors to experience the flora and fauna of Florida ecosystem.A natural spring features white sand beach, flume rides and a river tube ride on the Weeki Wachee River.
Dade City, Florida
This site was originally settled as Fort Dade in the 1840s and changed to Dade City in 1884. The town is a commercial center for citrus growers, cattle ranchers and poultry farmers, all from nearby and neighbouring areas.
Pioneer Florida Museum
The Pioneer Florida Museum is housed in a 50' by 100' steel building, which features a wide rustic front porch. On the grounds stand the restored Overstreet House, a one-room school house from Lacoochee, a church from Enterprise, the Trilby depot, and a train engine.On display are tools of the Florida Pioneer Man, showing how he built his house, made his furniture, plowed his fields, harvested his crops, and did his leather-work and blacksmithing.
Address: 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City, FL 33523, United States
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Closed: Sun, Mon
Always closed on: Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $6.00, Senior over 55 $5.00, Child 18 & under $2.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Homosassa Springs, Florida
Before the Civil War, Homosassa supported a major sugar growing and refining industry. After the Civil War it became a timbering community.Today, Homosassa is a popular fishing and tourism area.
Yulee Sugar Mill State Historic Site
Yulee Sugar Mill was built in 1851 by Senator David levy Yulee as part of a 5,100 acre plantation. The mill supplied the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Within the park are the remnants of the mill - a forty-foot limestone masonry chimney, iron gears, and a cane press.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park has a trail through the woodlands and wetlands to observe wildlife. A floating glass observatory allows visitors to view saltwater and freshwater fish as well as manatee.
Mulberry was incorporated in 1901 and named for the Mulberry tree, which become the center point of the community. Mulberry prospered as the center for phosphate production in Central Florida.
In 1893, a line of the South Florida Railroad connected Thonotosassa to Tampa. The original site of Fort Foster has been reconstructed as it was in 1838. It was a battle post and supply depot during the Second Seminole War.
Venice is criss-crossed by canals like its famous namesake. It is well-known for sharks teeth, the search has become very popular in the area. The teeth come from ancient sharks that have decomposed on the sea floor.
Venice Archives and Area Historical Collection
The Venice Archives collection consists of historical and archeological material for Venice and the neighboring communities of Nokomis, Laurel and Osprey. The life of Dr. Fred Albee and local fossils are part of the permanent collection.
Crystal River, Florida
Both a town and a river, Crystal River flows into Kings Bay for water recreational activities.
Crystal River State Archeological Site
Crystal River State Archeological Site is a six-mound site and prehistoric ceremonial center where Native Americans traveled great distances for over 1,600 years to bury their dead with ceremony and to participate in trade activities.There are artifacts on display about these Mound Builders.
Power Place Energy Information Centre
The Power Place Energy Information Centre exhibits current and future methods of generating electricity. Visitors can test their pedal power; meet Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and the father of the atomic age, Enrico Fermi; and learn about nuclear energy.
Ellenton is a popular retirement community offering fishing opportunities, sandy beaches and a climate that is beneficial to agriculture.
Gamble Mansion & Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial State Historic Site
Gamble Mansion was the home of Major Robert Gamble and stands today as the only surviving antebellum plantation house in south Florida. The 3,500 acre sugar plantation served as the hiding place for Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, when he was being pursued by Union soldiers - before heading to England.
Wild Bill's Airboat Tours & Wildlife Park, Inverness, Florida
Airboat rides on the Withlacoochee River are available. The wildlife are no longer kept on the property.
H & R Trains, Pinellas Park, Florida
H & R is a model railroad complex with over 10,000 sq. ft of space featuring model trains. Vintage collectibles and garden railroad materials are also available.
Safety Harbor, Florida
Safety Harbor features the Annual Seafood Festival as well as marina concerts, arts & crafts festivals, and the Safety Harbor Sprints.
Safety Harbor Museum
The Safety Harbor Museum documents the history of the Safety Harbor region. Tocobaga Indians lived in this area from the period beginning around 900 AD until the arrival of the Spanish. They were wiped out by Spanish aggression and foreign diseases, then overtaken by the Seminole Indians from Georgia. The Safety Harbor Museum displays evidence of the "Safety Harbor Culture" including numerous relics and artifacts. There are also exhibits on turn of the century settlements in the region.
Safety Harbor Mound
This site was occupied by Native Americans before 900 A.D. and evolved into an important political center. It is the namesake for the Safety Harbor culture, which prospered here between 1500 and 1700. A platform mound is visible and interpretive signs are posted.