Tours can take people to places otherwise left undiscovered, provide insights that would otherwise remain unnoticed, or offer access to experiences that would otherwise be off limits. They can be led by professionals or self-guided. They’ll take you backstage, outside-of-the-cage, aboard a boat and through city streets, alleys, parking lots and anywhere else beautiful art can be created.
The Big Pictures
The first SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival held in 2015 brought lots of attention and lots of large-scale murals to building exteriors throughout downtown. Each year new artists from around the world continue taking their talents to the streets to add bold, brilliant murals wherever blank spaces allow.
Guided Saturday morning walking tours held throughout the year help to highlight many of the talented artists and their wonderful works of art found within a four-block radius of Florida CraftArt.
Because the murals remain on display year round, there is also the option of embarking on foot to cover multiple blocks boasting murals or rent a blue bike from Coast Bike Share and take a recommended five-mile route that lets you leisurely make your way past these vibrant public canvasses.
A Purr-fect Experience
Retiring to Florida isn’t unusual. Even big, wild cats like it here, especially when they can enjoy the quality of life and care offered at Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue. When exotic or endangered cats like lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and more are abandoned, this non-profit sanctuary takes them in and takes care of them.
Guided tours are the only way to visit and view these magnificent creatures as they recline and sometimes even slip into the water for a dip within the cat-a-tats found throughout these grounds.
This specially designed refuge provides the cats with room to roam and play within a fence area to keep them safe and secure. Along with the guides, there is an accompanying audio tour plus a free mobile app available that tells the stories behind each feline’s life. Some spent their lives as someone’s pet. Others were treated inhumanely and forced to perform. And then there are those who were left to fend for themselves until they were finally found and rescued.
History and Mystery
Tampa Theatre is always a joy to visit, whether to watch an acclaimed film, enjoy a pre-movie concert performed on the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ or to just stare at the twinkling lights shining from the ceiling overhead and imagine you are star-gazing.
This ornate theater built in 1926 remains a true treasure as well as a vibrant venue that hosts concerts, dance troupes and comics. Special events are also offered featuring food, wine and beer with line-ups of films from around the world.
But, like any good movie plot, the theatre has had its share of hardships, close calls, triumphant comebacks and even a mysterious figure who has added to its mystique.
Learn all about its history during a 90-minute guided tour that will take you behind-the-scenes of this ornate architectural masterpiece which just so happens to boast its own ghosts.
Pirate Water Taxi offers a diverse array of fun, friendly and flexible ways to explore and enjoy the downtown Tampa waterfront.
What’s better than being on a boat while taking in scenic views of the sparkling waterways winding to and through downtown? You’ll pass beneath bridges while taking in sights of the city’s dynamic skyline. During the tour, you’ll learn all about how Tampa’s central business district evolved from a sleepy port town into a bustling center for commercial and residential development.
Select from tours that highlight dolphin sightings, local landmarks or just celebrate the area’s signature sunsets. You can even arrange to hop on board and let this water taxi help you escape the crowded city streets to head to a nearby restaurant, concert, hotel or bar.
Feature Image Credit: SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival