Tampa, Florida

The metropolitan city of Tampa, Florida offers several activities for the mature adult and adults with disabilities. Although the area may be best known for Busch Gardens theme park, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, its beaches and golf courses, Tampa has several other lesser known gems.

Built in 1926, the Tampa Theatre is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a Tampa City Landmark. Inside the theatre, audiences are transported to an ornate, beautiful, romantic Mediterranean courtyard. The ceiling above is replete with twinkling stars and clouds. Antique furniture, wooden carvings and an organist who plays before movies and shows, completes the experience. The theatre presents and hosts over 600 events a year including a full schedule of first run and classic films, concerts, special events, and tours. Leading up to the Oscars, during the month of February, the theatre is showing Oscar classics like Somewhere in Time, Titanic and Chicago. On March 7, 2010 the theatre will host an officially sanctioned Oscar Night where guests can walk the red carpet and watch the live telecast of the Academy Awards. About twice a month, the theatre also offers a balcony-to-backstage tour that lasts about 1.5 hours.

Down in Apollo Beach, during the months of November to mid April, the Manatee Viewing Center gives visitors a unique opportunity to observe manatees or “sea cows”. The center features a wheelchair accessible Tidal Walkway that takes visitors deep into a mangrove habitat. Hundreds of varieties of birds, fish and other animals along with coastal plants and trees align the 900 foot walkway. At the end of the walkway, visitors can view the manatees in the canal below. Visitors can also enjoy films, displays and other materials that teach individuals about the life cycles of the manatee and the challenges it faces.

Other points of interest in Tampa include Ybor City, the “Latin Quarter” of Tampa. Best visited at night when the area becomes more active, this area includes bars, restaurants, entertainment, shopping and several places to view and purchase hand-rolled cigars. This historic district is also filled with old buildings and landmarks and a few groups offer tours. The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa gives visitors a chance to test their luck at the Slots, Poker, Blackjack, Baccarat, Texas Hold Em and other games. The Hard Rock also has about a half dozen restaurants and bars.

Special Needs Group has scooter rentals, wheelchair rentals, powerchair rentals, oxygen equipment and other equipment available for rental in Tampa. Call your travel agent to order your equipment today!

Interesting Fact: Tampa was once known as the Cigar Capital of the World with nearly 12,000 tabaqueros (cigar-makers) employed in 200 factories. Ybor City produced an estimated 700 million cigars a year at the industry’s peak.

Cruise Information: Carnival, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean all sail from Tampa.