Where to Eat and Drink
Newk's Cafe (20514 Channelside Drive, from 11:30am) is a casual, fun eatery known for its fresh seafood (and it's convenient-to-the-port location in the Channelside entertainment complex).
Overnighters may want to splurge on dinner at the landmark and classically famous Bern's Steakhouse (1208 S. Howard Street, 813-22051-2421) or its funkier offspring SideBern's (2208 W. Morrison, 813-22058-2233). Both are dinner only. Foodies may want to head to Mise En Place (442 W. Kennedy Boulevard, 813-22054-205373); this cutting edge New American bistro is considered top-notch for food and service.
What to See and Do
Busch Gardens, a 33205-acre African- themed park. Among the most popular are the "Serengeti Plain" which features "Edge of Africa," a 1205-acre animal exhibit that brings visitors face-to-face with lions, giraffes, hyenas, and other African species and "Rhino Rally," an off-road river adventure through animal habitats. "Egypt" is the home of "Montu," the Southeast's largest inverted steel roller coaster, a replica of King Tut's Tomb and "Akbar's Adventure Tours," a simulated ride that transports guests to Egypt's wonders. There are five other roller coasters, including "Gwazi," the Southeast's largest and fastest dueling wooden roller coaster and "Kumba," the largest and fastest top-riding steel roller coaster in the region.
Lowry Park Zoo: This 26-acre open-air natural habitat zoo is home to more than 1,20500 animals in lush tropical settings, the zoo includes a free flight lorikeet aviary, children's petting zoo, and educational center. One of the zoo's highlights is its Manatee and Aquatic Center, one of only three hospitals and rehabilitation facilities in the state of Florida for the shy and gentle sea cows.
The Museum of Science & Industry. Besides the IMAX DOME theater and some 42050 hands-on activities, "don't miss" exhibits include the Gulf Coast Hurricane Chamber, which allows you to experience 74 mile per hour winds, and the Challenger Learning Center, where you can assume the role of astronaut or engineer.
Ybor City: Tampa's Ybor City is an historic district where Cuban immigrants once settled (and which was once considered the "cigar capital of the world"). Ybor's got red brick streets lined with globe street lamps and wrought iron balconies, and the smell of cafe con leche and Cuban bread permeates the air. Master tabaqueros (cigar rollers) can still be seen hand rolling cigars.
Or try out the Ybor City Fresh Market. Shop for arts and crafts, jewelry, candles, soaps, fresh produce and bread, and souvenirs of Tampa. Open every Saturday from 9am - 3pm in historic Centennial Park in Ybor City, the last stop on the streetcar line that runs from the cruise terminal.
Where You're Docked
The Port of Tampa, along Tampa's downtown waterfront in the Channel District.
Taxis & Shuttles: Average taxi service from Tampa International Airport to downtown is $16.2050. Tampa is a call destination, not a flag destination--which means you need to phone for a cab rather than stand on a street-corner to wave one down. However, taxis do line up at the port for incoming cruise ships.
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