Dive into the art, history and culture by getting lost in the exhibitions at the best museums in Tampa Bay. From historical stories from the 1800s to modern art and interactive learning, Tampa has a museum for you and your family!
Embrace your curiosity side, here are the 12 best museums in Tampa Bay.
Henry B. Plant Museum
Step into a time machine of Tampa Bay’s history at the Henry B. Plant Museum. Look no further for an afternoon experiencing a Victorian lifestyle. Housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Henry B. Plant Museum has the actual furnishings from back in the day. A visit here is a great way to learn more about Tampa and its history with the beautiful architecture, astonishing furniture and European art that paint the walls. After you’re done soaking up Tampa’s historical culture, take a stroll around the University of Tampa or walk along the Hillsborough River!
Glazer Children's Museum
Located right along Tampa’s Riverwalk and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Glazer Children’s Museum is a fun and interactive museum for young children and their families. Glazer Children’s Museum makes learning exciting with hands-on activities and informative lessons! What’s better than watching your child or sibling discover something new?! Visit the Glazer Children’s Museum for a day of play with the whole family!
Tampa Museum of Art
Another gem right along Tampa’s Riverwalk and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the Tampa Museum of Art is a fantastic museum of modern and contemporary art, along with Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities. There’s a variety of art styles to please all sorts of art lovers! To gaze through all of the Tampa Museum of Art it will take visitors around 2 hours. Be sure to stop and enjoy the view of the river from the second story viewing balcony!
Discover the remarkable work by artist Salvador Dalí at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg. The building itself is an icon in St. Pete with a cafe on the inside for lunch or coffee, and beautiful views of the Bay. The Avant-garden is perfect for self-reflection after enjoying Dalí’s brilliant art, and there’s some great photo ops here, too! We love Dalí’s lobster telephone and the Lincoln painting!
Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
Packed with interactive exhibits that allow you to expand your mind, The Museum of Science and Industry, MOSI for short, is ideal for kids and families. MOSI is a scientific playground with no shortage of hands-on bells and whistles that will appeal to younger visitors. You might just end up feeling like you’re on a school field trip again at MOSI!
Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center presents the city’s history in a variety of ways. This lively museum commemorates the past through exhibitions that explore Tampa’s first native inhabitants, historical figures, and local delicacies like the Cuban cigar. You can definitely spend a day here, then be sure to stop at the Columbia cafe for lunch and take a walk along the Riverwalk after!
The Chihuly Collection
Your mind will be blown at The Chihuly Collection showcasing breathtaking glass sculptures by the legendary glass artist, Dale Chihuly. A gaze through the stunning collection is an incredible experience with bold and contrasting colors, shapes, and sizes. You’ll be so amazed that you’ll want to create your own glass piece after a visit here, and you can! Visit the Glass Studio & Hot Shop at the Morean Arts Center to watch glass blowing demonstrations and even register to create your own!
A trip to Sarasota to explore The Ringling Museum should definitely be on your Florida bucket list! This 66 acre estate was the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. The Ringling Museum of Art is The State Art Museum of Florida and has a remarkable collection of artwork, statues, circus history, and so much more. While at The Ringling, which overlooks Sarasota Bay, you can also tour the Circus Museum, Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, The Historic Asolo Theater and the extensive gardens! Be prepared to spend a whole day here, it’s absolutely worth it!
SS American Victory Mariners' Memorial and Museum Ship
Set out on an unforgettable voyage of discovery at the American Victory Ship and Museum! As one of only 4 fully-operational WWII ships in the country, the American Victory Ship is a true American icon, floating right here in Tampa Bay! At the American Victory Ship and Museum you will come across real artifacts from the wars the ship has served. How cool?! We’d recommend climbing to the top deck for really awesome views! Another cool thing, you can even rent out the ship as a venue for an event!
Tampa Firefighters Museum
Located in the heart of downtown Tampa, The Tampa Firefighters Museum shares the history, culture and significance of the Tampa Fire Department. Right across from the Tampa Fire Rescue Headquarters Station Number One, The Tampa Firefighters Museum offers exhibits, life-safety education and stories of real-life events. This is a great space for events and kids birthday parties!
Dunedin History Museum
Dunedin, as we all know it, is a beautiful town that’s great for a little escape from the bustling downtown Tampa crowds. The Dunedin History Museum on Main Street is a quaint museum, perfect for children with interactive exhibits and plenty to learn from. This museum is uniquely housed in a former railroad depot from 1924 and shares a lot about Dunedin’s very own history. Once you’re done enjoying your time in the museum, you’re in a hot spot to grab a bite to eat or shop the many boutiques on Main St!
Tampa Bay Automobile Museum
Beep beep! Calling all car enthusiasts! The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum has a unique collection of vintage cars and vehicles from the 20th century. You’ll find one-of-a-kind models and some rare editions too! The tours will inform you of so much automobile history from different eras and you’ll be sure to walk away with having learned something new! The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum is a hidden treasure!
With top-notch museums aiming to educate, inspire, and enlighten, Tampa Bay has some of the best museums around. These icon museums need to go on your rainy-day itinerary ASAP!