Why February Is The Best Month To Visit Tampa, Florida
What are you doing right now? Are you wearing a sweater? Drinking something hot? Did you just come back inside to warm up after shoveling several inches of snow? The answer to why February is the best month to visit Tampa and and its wonderful beaches is probably obvious to you! But here are some other reasons besides the obvious of which you might not be aware.
You Can Visit The State Fair
The Florida State Fair takes place this year from February 9 – 20 in Tampa. Established in 1904, the event began as a simple 5 horse race event with a few agricultural exhibits. The Fair became an annual family friendly fixture in Tampa, and was called the Florida State Mid-Winter Festival. In 1975 the Festival morphed into the official Florida State Fair. Today, it attracts over half a million visitors during its two-week run and is held on the official Tampa Fairgrounds. There are the usual State Fair exhibits, showcasing horticulture, craft works, and, unique to a coastal fair, aquaculture. There are daily and nightly shows featuring music genres for every taste. You can even vote for your all time favorite delicious fair fare fave! There is a huge Midway with rides, yummy fair-foods and the eponymous pie, jam, needlework and other down home competitions for the best of the best. You can even vote An unusual break from the beach will be a winter visit to the Florida State Fair.
It’s Not Spring Yet, But It’s Time for Spring Training
Tampa Bay’s Steinbrenner Field has been home to the Yankees spring training facility for over twenty years. Pitchers and catchers report on February 20th and the rest of the team will arrive on February 25th. This is your chance to get a sneak peek at one of the most popular sports teams on the planet. Enjoy major league baseball with minor league ticket prices. Winter’s cold chill will fade into the background as the boys of summer run the bases and the rookies take the field with the big hitters and everyone starts out as equals on the diamond.
Of Course, It’s Warm
The average daily temperature in the Tampa area is between 70 – 76 degrees. At night, it generally gets down to around 60 or just below. The water temperature along our beaches hovers around 60. There can be cold spells in February, but they usually don’t last long. This bit of uncertainty keeps the big crowds away, leaving our beaches relatively quiet, as well as area shops, attractions and restaurants. If the water is a bit chilly for your liking, many of our vacation rentals have fabulous pools that will feel JUST right.
February is also great because it’s NOT time for Spring Break and it’s NOT hurricane season. Instead you get small crowds and generally great weather. The sometimes-scorching heat of summer is still months away but you can still wear shorts or cropped pants and t-shirts and be very comfortable. There is so much to do outside; tennis, golf, fishing, boating, you will need to pack your toys! One thing you will NOT need is your parka! Whatever else you do bring with you, don’t forget the sunscreen!
The Not To Be Missed Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Rescue, Rehab, Release
Did you know that we have one of the finest marine wildlife rehabilitation and rescue centers in our area? The Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is dedicated to preserving our beautiful ocean environment while being dedicated to helping marine animals who are ill or injured to rehab and get back to the business of being wild sea creatures.
Many local Clearwater residents, fishermen and park personnel find sick or injured wildlife and bring them to the Aquarium to be put on the road to recovery. The Aquarium has a fully staffed hospital dedicated to helping these animals heal and get released back into the wild. The animals under care are treated as individual beings and are loved by the staff, sometimes making it difficult to say goodbye when it’s time for them to rejoin their wild friends and family.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium Is A Wonderful Place Of Learning
The Aquarium also dedicates itself education. Teaching the importance of ecology, conservation and environmental stewardship to visitors helps spread the word about the important work being done by CMA and other similar Aquariums and Centers around the world. There are many camps offered at the CMA for kids. These offer opportunities for budding biologists to immerse themselves in ocean exploration and study.
The Clearwater Aquarium also dedicates itself to being a leader in ocean environment and marine mammal research. This research enables CMA to work closely with many partners to discover groundbreaking technology that can aid injured marine mammals, sometimes even leading to breakthroughs in helping us humans. The CMA was instrumental in developing the first prosthetic tail for injured dolphin Winter. The gel sleeve developed by CMA’s technicians is now being used regularly by many humans who are also fitted with prosthetics. Winter’s story was featured in the 2011 movie “Dolphins Tail” and the 2013 sequel “Dolphins Tail 2”. Both were filmed on-sight and featured the real-life animal characters in the leading roles. You can continue to follow the adventures of Winter and his marine mammal pals on his Facebook page.
The CMA also participates in many research studies and ocean surveys, keeping track of endangered marine life and wild populations. The knowledge gained from this research will help ensure that these amazing animals will be allowed to live and thrive in our ever-changing ocean environments.
What a great way to hide a bit of learning in your family beach vacation. Sign your kids up for a class or attend one of the Aquarium’s monthly speaker series. Visit the permanent exhibits and learn about rescue, rehabilitation and what you can do to help preserve our precious oceans. Take special boat tours and behind the scenes tours, getting up close to the wild, recuperating residents. You can even sign up for a course on becoming an animal trainers yourself! If you can’t make it fcor a visit right now, you can check out the animal action on the CMA webcams.