5 Best Photo Opportunities in Tampa Bay

by Nanette Wiser, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 27th 2010 08:02 PM

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Photo Opportunities Tampa Bay

Lee Van Grack

There are no bad photo opportunities in Tampa Bay. Sunsets along the miles of Gulf Coast and Key West beckon, and downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg are postcard picture perfect. Some snapshot hotspots we love include:


Romantic Spots


StarLite Dining Cruises: Jazz themed dinner cruises or Sunday cruises launch out of Clearwater or Pasadena, and they provide a great setting for popping the question and capturing the moment with a photo.

StarLite Dining Cruises
Clearwater Marina
25 Causeway Blvd.; Slip 58
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
Phone: (727) 462-2628 or (800) 444-4814
Reservations required.

Any Gulf Beach: As you and your sweetheart stroll through the surf, seize the moment and write your names together in the sand. The best photo opportunity in Tampa Bay is one that captures a fleeting moment, and this picture will remind you of your love even after the tide washes away the inscription.

Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce
6990 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
Phone: (727) 360-6957

Gulfport Art Walk: With lights twinkling in the trees, you and your loved one can snuggle up in Bellini's cabana nests, swing dance to a band or relax in a swinging aluminum chair for two that overlooks the pier and the bay. Now, that's amore! And that's also one of the best photo ops in Tampa Bay.

Gulfport Art Walk
Beach Blvd.
Gulfport, FL 33707
Phone: (727) 388-9442

Honeymoon Island
: The name says it all. The sugar white sand provides the perfect backdrop for one of the best photo opportunities in Tampa Bay, and the memory will last a lifetime.

Honeymoon Island Park
#1 Causeway Blvd.
Dunedin, FL 34698
Phone: (727) 469-5942

Quirky Spots


Ten Pin Lanes Bowling Alley: Do you remember the movie, "Cocoon?" Snap a photo at this iconic South Pasadena pink bowling alley, or go downtown on Friday to the shuffleboards. If you're still feeling nostalgic, pose in front of the mansion in Jungle Terrace's Park Street for a lasting memory.

Ten Pin Lanes
1453 Pasadena Ave. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33707
Phone: (727) 381-1010

John's Pass: Ahoy, ye mateys! Pose with an oversized fish or in front of the myriad of nostalgic shops, pirate memorabilia and oversized pirate in downtown Treasure Island. Across the way at Gator's, you can get your image snapped with one of the namesakes.

John's Pass Village Association
150 John's Pass Boardwalk
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
Phone: (727) 393-8230

Smuggler's Cove Mini Golf: If you've never tried to line up a putt under the watchful eye of live gators, this is your chance. Crazy, kitschy Florida nostalgia surrounds you at this location that provides one of Tampa Bay's best photo ops.

Smuggler's Cove
15395 Gulf Blvd.
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
Phone: (727) 398-7008
Hours: 9AM – 11PM, 365 days a year
Admission: Adults $10.49 plus tax, Children (12 & under) $9.49

Derby Lane
: Should you choose to stop at this track as you travel, photography here requires a high-speed camera, because everything at this track moves fast. Greyhounds racing behind you will certainly make for a one of a kind photo.

Derby Lane
10490 Gandy Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Phone: (727) 812-3339
Schedule varies. Call for current schedule.

The Dali Museum
: In the gift shop, there are melting watches, Dali perfume bottles, artwork and other surreal deals. Sometimes, a Salvador Dali look-alike can also be seen strolling around the museum for special events.

The Dali Museum
1000 Third St. South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 823-3767
Hours: Mon, Tue, Wed 10AM – 5:30PM, Thu 10AM – 8PM, Fri-Sat 10AM – 5:30PM, Sun 12noon – 5:30PM
General Admission - $17.00, Senior Citizens 65+ - $14.50, Students ages 10+ (18+ with ID) - $12.00, Children ages 5 to 9 - $4.00, Children ages 4 and under - FREE*, Thursdays are $5 (5 PM - 8 PM)

Tropicana Field
: Sport fans can experience the thrills of taking a photo with baseball memorabilia, Rays players signing autographs and the perennial favorite dancing mascot. During Spring Training, you can spend a day wandering around the grounds for a chance to snap a picture of the Yankees (Tampa), Phillies and Blue Jays playing exhibition games in the area.

Tropicana Field
1 Tropicana Dr.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705-1703
Phone: (888) FAN-RAYS
Schedule is seasonal. Call for details and ticket information.

Scenic Spots


The Chihuly Collection, at the Morean Arts Center: You can't take pictures inside the exhibition, but from the outside, you can see a glorious pink tower of elegant glass with the Vinoy and bay in the background, and that view is breathtaking.

Morean Arts Center
719 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 822-7872
Hours: Mon – Sat 9AM - 6PM, Sun 12noon - 6PM
Admission: Members/children 5 and under free, Adults $8, Seniors 55+ $6, Students (with ID) and children $5, Mondays - Free gallery admission

The Pier: Snap a shot of the iconic, inverted pyramid. The best photo ops are during Florida's frequent thunderstorms. Clouds illuminated with lightning provide one of the most dramatic backgrounds of any photograph in your collection.

The Pier
800 Second Ave. N.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 821-6443
Open 365 days a year

Ybor City
: This city lets you experience Florida's Cuban flavor, historic buildings, and homemade cigar rolling demonstrations, all wonderful opportunities to practice your photography. The landscape is probably best captured during day because at night, the party crowds descend on the city.

Ybor City Visitor Information Center
1800 E 9TH Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605
Phone: (813) 241-8838
Hours: Mon- Fri 10AM-5PM, Sat 11AM- 5PM, Sun 12noon- 5PM

Downtown Dunedin
: Quirky shops, a charming waterfront, antiques and the Pinellas Trail are all in one of America's Best Small Towns. It's truly a setting that Ozzie and Harriet would have loved, and it makes for wonderful travel photography.

Downtown Dunedin Merchants Center
P.O. Box 2112
Dunedin, FL 34697
Phone: (727) 734-8671

Fun Family Spots


Busch Gardens: Animals and thrilling roller coasters make for some of the most entertaining photo opportunities in Tampa Bay. For a unique experience to capture in photos, become a keeper for a day and get a behind-the-scenes look at rides and animals.

Busch Gardens
10165 N. McKinley Dr.
Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: (888) 800-5447
Park hours and admission vary. Please call or consult website for further information.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park: Fountains shoot water streams while the kids dodge in and out of the cooling spray. Pair this with a day at the new Glazer Children's Museum.

Glazer Children's Museum & Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
110 West Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: (813) 443-3861
Hours: Mon – Fri 10AM-5PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-6PM
Admission: Children under 1 free, Children $9.50, Adults $15.00, Military/Seniors $12.50

MOSI
: Get your forensic scientist and future weathercaster over here for dozens of photo ops. Get a photo of you in the Florida Gulf Coast Hurricane Simulator or on the high wire bike balanced 30 feet about the ground. With all of the exhibits available, you might find some of the most interesting photo opportunities in Tampa Bay right here at MOSI.

MOSI
4801 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33617
Phone: (813) 987-6000
Hours: Mon-Fri 9AM–5PM, Sat-Sun 9AM–6PM (Open 365 days a year)
Admission: Adults (13-59) $20.95, Seniors (60+) $18.95, Children (2-12) $16.95

Wild Florida Spots


Sawgrass Lake Park: Hike among the Spanish moss and winding trails or head up to the overlooks where you are as high as the cormorants nesting in the treetops, and keep your eyes peeled for real live gators. The dried snake and wildlife exhibition at the entrance makes for great photos.

Sawgrass Lake Park
7400 25th St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Phone: (727) 217-7256
Hours: Daily from 7AM-sunset

Weedon Island
: Visit Weedon Island and see amazing Native American artifacts, interpretive trails and wildlife. Located at the heart of the center is a Spirit Vessel, a multimedia experience of sound, video and light that depicts the interaction of humans and nature over time.

Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center
1800 Weedon Dr. NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Phone: (727) 453-6500

Florida Botanical Gardens: Native plants, roses, tropical gardens and Adirondack chairs in purple and yellow by the lake provide a picture perfect early morning setting for photos. During the cooler weather, you can enjoy a farmer's market as well.

Florida Botanical Gardens
12520 Ulmerton Rd.
Largo, FL 33774
Phone: (727) 582-2100
Garden Hours: Open daily from 7AM – 7PM
Welcome Center: Mon - Fri 8AM – 5PM
Admission: free


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