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#TampaBay bucket list shows off the stuff in our area you have to try

Tampa Bay Bucket List Parasailing
Posted at 5:22 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 11:14:09-05

As many people opt for staycations over the holidays, Sarah Phinney wanted to know what activities have long been on your #TampaBay bucket list. For weeks, she’s been doing what many of you listed to show you exactly what to expect!

Monday: Parasailing

Brian, Jon and Seth all responded to Sarah’s question on social media with a thrill-seeking activity: parasailing!

Captain Tony Lombardo, owner and operator of Parasailing the Pass in Treasure Island, took Sarah high up in the sky.

“We take a total of six people per tour per hour so we really focus on a private, personal experience,” said Lombardo.

Lombardo inflates the parasail about a half-mile to a mile off shore. Visitors are up in the air for about 10 to 12 minutes.

“The sites are amazing. When conditions are clear, you can actually see down to the Sunshine Skyway,” said Lombardo. “A lot of times we spot marine life, which is pretty spectacular.”

He says dolphins, loggerhead turtles, stingrays and sharks have been spotted.

“That’s the one thing I love about being out is here is that you never know from day to day or trip to trip what you’re going to encounter,” he said.

Does the thought of being so high up make you a little nervous? Captain Tony says you’re in good hands with him.

“I’ve flown everybody from a four-year-old to a 94-year-old. Anyone can do it. It’s an experience I would highly recommend to all,” said Lombardo.

Parasailing the Pass is located at Gators Cafe and Saloon in Treasure Island. Click here for more information.

Tuesday: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks and Dolphin Tour

Put the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks on the list of places to visit during your #staycation.

You’ll feel like you’re in Greece, not Florida! Be sure to check out all the local shops, restaurants and other businesses in the area.

“It’s all mom and pop businesses. Right now, it’s so important to shop local and support all your local businesses,” said Maureen Collins.

She manages three stores, including Cute as a Button, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere and Tarpon Shell Shack.

Collins says customers are drawn in by the locally made soaps and locally harvested sponges. Metal art is also a big seller right now.

“People have been spending a lot of time redecorating their home so we’d love to help you out,” said Collins. “It’s just a fun place. Bring your family, bring your friends!”

While you’re at the sponge docks, hop on a dolphin cruise! Odyssey Cruises takes guests on two-hour tours down the Anclote River, into the Gulf of Mexico and to Anclote Key. The wildlife along the way can be unpredictable, but you’re guaranteed to have a good time on board learning about the ecosystem and history of the sponge docks.

“Come with an open mind, leave all the worldly stuff behind, enjoy yourself and dress for the season!” said Mike Daugintis, Odyssey Cruises Head Captain. He says right now is a great time to go shelling on Anclote Key.

Want to hop aboard? Click here.

Wednesday: ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Tigers, elephants, rhinos, oh my! Carve out some time during your #staycation to visit ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

There are more than 1,100 animals to see and plenty of activities for the whole family. In fact, you could spend anywhere from a few hours, to a few days, exploring everything the zoo has to offer.

On top of admission, visitors can purchase a number of signature encounters and experiences, which provide an opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals.

“There are a variety of different animals you can choose from. We have penguins, rhinos, a koala,” said Tiffany Burns, ZooTampa at Lowry Park Associate Curator.

Social distancing is encouraged at the zoo. Masks are required indoors. Click here for more information.

Thursday: Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is the perfect day trip for you and your family.

You will spend hours wandering the grounds and taking in the magnificence of the Singing Tower. More than 23 million people have visited Bok Tower Gardens since 1929.

You can read more about the history here. Bok Tower Gardens is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Christmas Day. All visitors are required to have a mask.

You need to wear it when arriving at the entrance gate, at the visitor center complex and inside any building.

Keep an eye on this article to see what other activities Sarah checks out on your #TampaBay bucket list.