Our Favorite Museums In Tampa

Source: Yelp

Tampa is a city that sits along Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is a major business center that is well known for all its cultural offerings. It is the home of many museums and many other venues and events. Tampa is a mix of cultures that makes the city unique. It is full of Cuban and Spanish elements that exist because of the immigration that had taken place in the past. If you spend time in Tampa, you can experience a variety of sights, foods, and entertainment. 

Visiting a museum in Tampa is especially a great idea. Tampa is known for its many museums that show off mesmerizing visuals while educating its visitors about different kinds of art, science, and history. 

If you’re in Tampa for a visit, or a local looking for new sights to see, check out our list of great museums in Tampa. Finding gifts for your loved ones can be difficult. GiftYa cards will offer them something great that they can enjoy and appreciate! This is a gift you won’t regret treating a good friend to. 

The Dali Museum

This museum mostly showcases the works of one unique artist. 

The outside shows a glimpse of the creativity you will see inside. Image courtesy of The Dali

1 Dali Blvd | St Petersburg | thedali.org

The Dali Museum is a place you will find the renowned works of artist Salvador Dali. The pieces you can see there will be unparalleled. You will find imaginative visual illusions, avant-garde symbols to iconic melting clocks. You can spend your time there playing and wandering around, and you will have all your curiosities satisfied. 

The museum displays exhibits from Dali and other great artists who display similar themes in their work. In June, a Uruguayan-Spanish artist will display an exhibit that creates a contemplative dialogue between surrealism and contemporary art. His art will also explore the place where Dali lived throughout his lifetime. The museum also has a virtual reality experience that marries art with technology. 

“What a museum!  I enjoy art a lot, this museum takes your experience to the next level.  They have an app you need to download before you begin.  This app will guide you through the museum with a guided tour. Then as you make your way through there are several paintings you can make come alive through Augmented Reality. You can learn more about the painting, and see things that are hidden in the works easier.”–Yelp Review

Tampa Museum of Art

This museum works to educate the public. 

120 W Gasparilla Plaza | Tampa | tampamuseum.org

The Tampa Museum of Art is a museum that shows off great art and also provides public art programs for people of all ages. They have summer art camps that are either all day or half the day, where campers can learn, create, and play in the education center, the galleries, and the playground. Each camp also has a different theme based on different exhibits in the museum. They have a Youth Council designed for teens by teens and lectures for adults. They also offer small art classes that are taught by professional teaching artists around Tampa. 

This museum shows off different art collections and exhibits. Some upcoming exhibits include Poetics of Shade, 5 artists who celebrate their work in a variety of mediums, HerStory: Stories of Ancient Heroines and Everyday Women, and The Classical World, which showcases ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artwork. They have a few exhibits that display art pieces that have been shown off all around the world. This museum can teach you a lot alongside being a fun visual experience. 

“This museum is a little gem in the heart of downtown Tampa. I recently took in two abstract expressionist exhibits there. The art was top-notch and not pieces that I'd ever seen before, in other big cities. Striking selections, well curated, and beautifully executed show in two spacious galleries. The cafe and gift shop are terrific.”–Yelp Review

Imagine Museum

This museum showcases lots of cool glasswork. 

This artwork is fun to look at. Image courtesy of TulsaKids Magazine

1901 Central Ave | Tampa | imaginemuseum.com

Imagine Museum is on a mission to elevate contemporary American and International glass art and artists through exhibitions, education, and research. It was founded by a philanthropist and an artist who works with glass herself. The museum promises to inspire guests by showcasing work from artists around the world, uplift them with the beauty of their collections, and educate them by building awareness of the artists and their art. 

This museum shows off the most significant collection of contemporary glass art in the world. They have a collection of 1,500 artworks that represent artists from America, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Germany, and the Czech Republic. And those are not the only countries represented there. The collection has grown a lot from where it was when it opened and it is always continuing to grow. 

“I went here for my birthday and it was so insanely good. One of my favorite mediums to view is glass. I am so completely in awe of how glass art looks so I might be biased, but there were so many incredible pieces… If you love glass art this place is a must see!”–Yelp Review

American Victory Ship & Museum

This ship holds many interesting historical facts. 

705 Channelside Dr | Tampa | americanvictory.org

The American Ship & Museum shows off items that were around back in 1944. When you visit this museum, you get to climb aboard a 1940s era steamship. You will experience an unforgettable voyage of discovery and get to relive history in a way.The steamship has three level cargo holds, radio rooms, engine rooms, crew cabins, steering stations, hospital, weaponry, signaling equipment, and so much more. You get to feel as if you were right there for the duration of the tour. 

The ship, named the United Victory, was the first victory ship and was built in 1944. It took 55 days to build it, and was then used in World War II, the Korean War, and in the Vietnam War. It has since been updated to keep it in decent shape for what it's been through. You have the option to take a self-guided tour where you follow the visitor’s brochure, a docent guided tour with a knowledgeable tour guide, or a group tour for groups of up to 50 people. 

“We visited this ship during the Family Fun Fest that was hosted on July 4th. My son had a blast.  The ticket prices were very reasonable and it was a family friendly event. We had an opportunity to tour the ship and see how our navy heroes live throughout the year on the ships. It was an amazing event.”–Yelp Review

Tampa Bay History Center

This center gives insight into Tampa’s history. 

This place makes learning history fun. Image courtesy of Visit Tampa Bay. 

801 Water St | Tampa | tampabayhistorycenter.org

The Tampa Bay History Center was opened in 1989. It was founded by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. The facility is 60,000 square feet, and was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2015. It includes three floors of permanent and temporary galleries that focus on over 12,000 years of Florida’s history. The center will take you on a journey through Florida’s past and teach you things you would’ve never known. 

It starts with a look at Florida’s first peoples, who lived around 10,000 years ago. They discuss the arrival of the Europeans in the 1500s. It then moves onto discussing Tampa Bay’s modern role as a port city. The History Center has a regular schedule of changing exhibitions. They also have food on site for visitors. You can visit the Columbia Cafe, which is a branch of the world famous Columbia Restaurant that features signature Spanish-Cuban cuisine. They even have a museum store. 

“A very cool museum!! Multiple levels with so much to see and do. Definitely need multiple visits. We were here for the lego exhibit and it did not disappoint but the other areas were very cool as well.  Making plans to go back and see more!”–Yelp Review

Tampa Bay Automobile Museum

This museum has some of the earliest cars created. 

3301 Gateway Centre Blvd | Tampa | tbauto.org

The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum features a unique collection of vintage vehicles that show off the creativity and imagination involved in their construction. If you visit, you’ll see front wheel drive and rear engine cars from the 20s and 30s. Each car displayed there was chosen based on the engineering achievements involved in creating it. These achievements make these cars an important part of the evolution of the automobile throughout the decades. 

The history of automobiles is something that shows just how creative and imaginative humans can be. It is a great experience to get to see the evolution of that creativity throughout the years and see how far technology has gotten. You will also get to learn a bit about the innovative engineers who designed these amazing vehicles. This museum is more than just a collection of cars, but also a celebration of the engineers that brought us the cars we know today. 

“We were looking for something to do and this came up in a Yelp search. For $8.00 admission, it was well worth the price and drive. The staff is very friendly and really knowledgeable. Great place to spend an hour at!”–Yelp Review

Henry B. Plant Museum

This museum shows off the fascinating history of the Tampa Bay Hotel. 

This room is full of history. Image courtesy of Henry B. Plant Museum

401 W Kennedy Blvd | Tampa | plantmuseum.com

The Henry B. Plant Museum has been around since 1933. It is inside the Tampa Bay Hotel and is known as a National Historic Landmark. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is on a mission to interpret the Tampa Bay Hotel and the experiences of those who contributed to its success. This museum transports visitors to a different era in history through innovative exhibits and programs. 

The museum contains original furnishings and artifacts that you will get to see on a self-guided audio tour. This tour will immerse visitors into this vintage environment and show them the opulence of the Tampa Bay Hotel and the richness of its history. You can take a guided tour with a trained docent that will guide you through the museum for an hour. The museum also offers field trips for students in all kinds of programs. 

“Nice little museum in a very cool building. If you are a history or architecture buff it's worth a visit. The little museum is on the ground floor of one wing of the building and tells the story of this former hotel and includes many Victorian age pieces original to the hotel. Visit takes about an hour with the free audio tour from your cell phone.”–Yelp Review

Tampa is a lively port city with plenty of enriching cultural offerings that you won’t want to miss! Visiting any one of these great museums will make your stay in Tampa an even more fun and interesting experience. 

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