In March, 2020, the need to self-isolate and practice social distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has led to the closure of most attractions and recreational activities in Florida. With the recent easing of restrictions in the state, many of these attractions have reopened or are about to reopen, with extra measures taken to minimize physical contact among visitors.
If you choose to continue avoiding public places, however, you can still enjoy some of these destinations and activities without leaving home. Thanks to technology, many of the top attractions in Florida can be visited virtually from anywhere.
Here are five places and things to do in Tampa today and other parts of Florida that you may experience from the safety of your home.
The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium spans 250,000 square feet and hosts various habitats for many of the state’s aquatic and terrestrial animals. It features fascinating exhibits, including simulations of wetlands, a beach, and a coral reef community, as well as special tours and experiences, such as the Wild Dolphin Cruise and an up close encounter with penguins.
The aquarium was the first major attraction in Florida to reopen after the closures in March on a limited daily capacity. But the virtual library that it started a few months ago continues to be updated with new videos that everyone can enjoy for free.
Visit The Florida Aquarium Sea-Span site and watch behind the scenes videos of the aquarium staff interacting with the different animals in their care, live performances with sea animal mascots, drawing lessons for kids, and so much more. Other digital resources provided by the aquarium include curriculum resources for at-home STEM learning, educational activities for all ages, coloring sheets, and more.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Located 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park encompasses seven remote islands that can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. A main attraction in the park is Fort Jefferson, a spectacular, though unfinished, 16-acre coastal fortress that’s considered the largest brick masonry in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to touring the fort and the islands, other activities in the park include snorkeling, swimming, bird watching, and fishing.
The park has reopened in phases. While some facilities and islands remain closed, others are now open, including the campground, the Garden and Loggerhead Keys, and the harbor.
Because of its rather remote location, visiting the park always requires some planning, and this is something that has probably become more challenging with travel restrictions in place. But don’t fret. The park’s online tour is the next best thing, giving viewers a glimpse of the area’s amazing attractions both on land and in the water.
Glazer Children’s Museum
This kid-centric attraction is a learning laboratory providing programs that encourages imagination and curiosity in children. It features exhibits focusing on the arts, farms, animals, science, food, and so much more. The museum also stages regular programs for the entire family, such as monthly events for kids with special needs, grown-up nights, developmental checkups, and a workshop series for parents.
The museum reopened in June at 25% capacity, and if you want to visit, you need to make advance reservations. If you can’t go just yet, you and your kids can still experience the fun and learning offered by the museum through its virtual program, GCM at Home. Your little ones will enjoy watching videos on various kid-friendly topics, get art and craft ideas, do science experiments, listen to stories, and so much more.
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
Zoo Tampa is one of the most popular attractions in the southeastern United States, welcoming more than 1 million visitors annually. It opened in its current location in Lowry Park in 1988, and now covers 56 acres of mini habitats for more than 1,100 animals.
The zoo has recently reopened at 50% capacity, and while advance reservations are not required, they’re strongly recommended to guarantee entry. As an alternative, the entire family can enjoy the fun and educational videos posted by the staff on the zoo’s Facebook page. Watch crocodiles, leopards, giraffes, and other zoo inhabitants simply doing their thing or interacting with the staff and visitors. Learn more about these creatures and the zoo’s conservation programs from these videos.
Rural FL Living History Museum
Also known as Cracker Country, this fun and interactive museum will take you back to the pioneer days of Florida when life was largely agricultural. Located at the Florida State Fairgrounds, this living museum features original and reproduction buildings, structures, and artifacts to recreate the state’s earliest farms and way of life, with interpretive guides in costumes providing interesting information.
Even before the pandemic, Cracker Country did not open daily. You can visit the museum on designated dates published on their website, and during special live exhibits, such as Tall Tales of Old Florida and Christmas in the Country, as well as during the Florida State Fair. You may also take a virtual tour of this quaint attraction through videos posted on their Facebook page.
Know more about the amazing attractions in Tampa Bay and explore your real estate options with Viewpoint Realty International. Get in touch with the team at 727.584.7355 or viewpointrealtyinternational(at)gmail(dotted)com.