Guy Harvey spends most of his days promoting our understanding of marine science, sustainability and the science behind conservation. Now, not everyone has a PhD like Guy and his fellow research colleagues, but no worries!
Guy is passionate in his belief that few wonders match those of the undersea world, and he sees the challenge in making it entertaining and educational to discover the mysteries of our blue planet. The Tampa/St. Pete area offers some of the most diverse and “edutaining” ways to discover more about our blue planet. While you’re visiting, you’ll also play an important part in supporting our ECO Is ON conservation efforts. Here on Florida’s west coast, were working to combine recreation with research, supporting programs that build scientific knowledge and sustainability.
Throughout the St. Pete/Tampa area, visionary research and stewardship initiatives are underway. Spending recreational time at the Guy Harvey Outpost affords privileged access to these conservation and research colleagues of Dr. Harvey, as well as offering you our guest entertaining and informative insights into their efforts.
The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is an active financial supporter of cutting edge research being conducted by the nearby University of South Florida Marine School and the many remarkable aquariums that operate in the area. Our Outpost crew has teamed with the Tampa Bay Watch to support their Habitat Restoration and Education Program through annual contributions supporting coastal habitat restoration. The resort has been awarded the coveted “Florida Green Lodge” designation for its continuing conservation initiatives and use of special beachfront lighting benefiting nesting sea turtles.
Wild Dolphin Encounters
For a truly wonderful experience interacting with wild marine animals, there is none better than a wild dolphin encounter. Join Captain Ian for a four hour offshore excursion to watch dolphins swim and play. Captain Ian is a Dolphin SMART guide, trained and certified under a program developed by NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries and the Dolphin Conservation Society and designed specifically to promote and educate people on responsible viewing of wild dolphins. Embark and disembark right off the beach in front of the hotel. The pontoon boat offers plenty of deck space for unobstructed viewing, a shutterbug’s delight! Contact Adventure Cruises at 727-423-4247 for more information on the adventure, or visit their waterside hut located just down the beach at the Outpost sister property, the Island Grand.
One of the best in the country! The Florida Aquarium is ranked in the top 10 Aquariums in the country by TripAdvisor.com and ranked in the top 5 “Kid-Friendly Aquariums” by Parents Magazine! The Florida Aquarium displays one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of marine life, ecosystem models and laboratory exhibits. The Florida Wetlands section includes a Cypress swamp, sawgrass marshes, mangrove forests and streams teeming with unusual fish. The bridge over the indoor beach and bay to the Florida Offshore area leads to a live coral reef and its colorful marine inhabitants. Interactive exhibits throughout. Tampa, 40 minutes. 813-273-4000
A working aquarium dedicated to environmental education, marine research and marine animal rescue, rehabilitation and release. Rescued otters, sea turtles and the famous dolphin “Winter” have found a permanent home here. “Winter” has recently caught national attention and will star in Dolphin Tale, a full length motion picture based on her story starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick, Jr., coming out September 2011. Hourly animal care and training presentations, informative exhibits on animal rescue, behind-the-scenes tours and underwater viewing of sharks and native fish. Clearwater Beach, 25 minutes. 727-441-17990
Currently the Pier Aquarium, this noted organization will open a new 20,000 sq. ft. facility in December 2012 at John’s Pass Village. Founded by the University of South Florida College of Marine Science along with other marine science organizations operating in the Tampa Bay region, the Aquarium serves as the public face for much of the cutting-edge innovation, technology and research being conducted by the 1,200 scientists and researchers in the Bayboro Marine Research Cluster. The uniquely trained marine education staff – students from local colleges and universities – translates the scientific information on the oceans, aquatic animals, conservation and up-to-date environmental issues to Tampa Bay area students, teachers, residents and visitors to make learning a more personal, entertaining experience. The Aquarium features daily fish and shark feeding experiences, popular with visitors and students from around the region.
Largest science center in the southeast and home of an IMAX domed theater. Over 450 hands-on activities, planetarium, space simulator, hurricane chamber and butterfly garden. Allow 4 hours (IMAX tickets additional). Tampa, 45 minutes. 813-987-6000
St. Petersburg has been ranked No. 1 on the list of Top 25 Arts Destinations for mid-size U.S. cities, for the second year in a row by American Style Magazine. In the ranking, St. Petersburg topped the list ahead of cities including Savannah, New Orleans and Charleston. So if you’re interested in soaking up some culture on your beach vacation, check out one of the many museums St. Petersburg has to offer.
The Gallery houses a permanent collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass, including many pieces created specifically for the Gallery. In addition to the Chihuly Gallery, Morean Arts Center also presents an extensive program of rotating exhibits, art classes and an emerging artist showcase that allows
visitors to interact with emerging talent. St. Petersburg, 20 minutes. 727-822-7872
The world’s largest, most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dali’s works outside of Spain, including 2,140 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures. In January 2011, the globally recognized New Dali opened its doors to a brand new museum space, which includes two main galleries, an avant-garden cafe, store, theater, and student gallery. Twice the size of the previous museum, the new building allows for 50% more gallery space. The museum’s exterior is itself a work of art, featuring more than 900 triangular-shaped glass panels. This geodesic glass structure – nicknamed the “Glass Enigma” – is the only structure of its kind in North America and has been deemed “one of the top buildings you have to see before you die” in AOL Travel News. Venue rental facilities for up to 775 available. Allow 2-3 hours for art appreciation, orientation film and guided tours, free with admission. Audio guides and wall test also available. St. Petersburg, 20 minutes. 727-823. If you’re ready to soak up some sun and culture, be sure to check out the Dali for a Day Package.
Well known for its collection of French Impressionist paintings, this museum also houses outstanding holdings of ancient, Asian, pre-Columbian and American art as well as two interior gardens. The museum has one of the largest photography collections in Florida. Group facilities for up to 400 available. St. Petersburg, 20 minutes. 727-896-2667
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art contains one of the world’s most important collections of Baroque art as well as Ruben’s “Triumph of the Eucharist” series. Also here is the Circus Museum’s memorabilia collection from “The Greatest Show on Earth,” and Ca’ d’Zan, the Ringling residence and one of America’s few private palaces. Sarasota, 45 minutes. 941-359-5700
The new Tampa Museum of Art has world-class traveling exhibitions, a growing collection of contemporary and classical art, expanded educational programs and access to scenic outdoor events in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Tampa’s Riverwalk.
A docent-led tour can be arranged for any group visit. Group facilities available. Tampa, 40 minutes. 813-274-8130
Collections and exhibits outlining the history of the Gulf Coast barrier islands. The museum features photographs from 1901 to the present, a timeline dating back to 1500 and special early pioneer displays. Limited days and hours. Phone ahead for current schedule. Pass-a-Grille, 5 minutes. 727-552-1610
Part of Pinewood Cultural Center, a 21-acre county historical park featuring a museum, botanical garden and more than 28 historical structures. Largo, 25 minutes.727-582-2123
Houses a full-scale replica of the Benoist aircraft that made the nation’s first scheduled commercial flight in 1914, plus many artifacts from area history, including pre-Columbian, early Spanish, pioneer, Victorian and war items. Allow 1-2 hours for the museum. St. Petersburg, 20 minutes. 727-894-1052
The History Center offers quality exhibits, programs and research as it seeks to preserve and teach the remarkable history of the Tampa Bay area.
Gallery exhibits show the geographical, historical and multicultural influences that have shaped the region through the centuries, from 12,000 years ago to the present. Traveling exhibits highlight Florida and regional histories. Group facilities for up to 50 available. Tampa (Channelside), 40 minutes. 813-228-0097
The fourth largest Holocaust museum in the country contains a collection of art, photographs and historical artifacts, which include the infamous Auschwitz Boxcar. Visitors may experience an interactive multimedia exhibit, visit the Library and Resource Center or reflect in the Meditation Court. St. Petersburg, 20 minutes. 727-820-0100
This hands-on museum with entertaining and challenging exhibits is equally as fun for kids and adults. Exhibits that invite visitors participation include the “Fit4allkidsville,” “Animation Station,” “Orange Grove” and various other touring exhibits. Group facilities for up to 1,000 available. Allow two hours to tour the museum. St. Petersburg, 20 minutes. 727-821-8992
Cultural & Performing Arts
St. Petersburg is the cultural hub of central Florida. With scores of museums, galleries and an active performing arts community, St. Petersburg offers residents and visitors a wide variety of cultural activities. As testimony to the vibrancy of the arts scene , for the second year in a row, for 2011 St. Petersburg has been ranked # 1 of 25 Arts Destinations for Mid-Size Cities. Read the 2011 news release: Top 25 Arts Destinations. A few of the notable cultural venues in the area include:
2,030-seat concert hall for Florida Orchestra, Broadway and touring performances. Total seating capacity of arena – 8,400. St. Petersburg, 15 minutes. 727-892-5798
2,100-seat center for performance by musical and national attractions. Clearwater, 35 minutes. 727-791-7400
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts
One of the finest performing arts centers in the nation and home to Patel Conservatory and Opera Tampa, the center features five distinct theaters, a Rehearsal Hall, beautiful Riverwalk, boutiques, three onsite restaurants and banquet facilities. Tampa, 35 minutes. 813-222-1000
33,000-sq. ft. grand ballroom with facilities to accommodate groups of 25 to 2,000. St. Petersburg, 15 minutes. 727-892-5202
Parks, Gardens & Zoos
True to a beach that has been ranked number one in the continental United States, Fort De Soto Park offers 1,136 acres and 7 miles of waterfront. A unique area made up of 5 islands, the park features a fort built during the Spanish-American War on the largest of the islands, Mullet Key. Two fishing piers, camping areas, a concession stand, bathroom facilities and covered picnic shelters are available.
There are popular biking and skating trails, along with rental facilities for canoes, kayaks and bicycles. Fort De Soto Park is also a great place to bring your furry friend. The Paw Playground is rated among the best and dogs love it. The dog park has large fenced areas for both large and small dogs, including dog showers. After running around, your dog can cool off at the dog beach, where they are allowed off leash. Located on the south end of the Pinellas Bayway. St. Petersburg, 10 minutes. 727-893-9185
The natural wonder of this site, comprised of 160 acres, also provides a natural habitat for Florida’s fabulous wildlife. See a unique blend of Florida native plants and beautiful exotic tropicals, displayed in both natural and formal gardens. Located in Pinewood Cultural Center. Largo, 25 minutes. 727-582-2100
One of the largest natural habitat zoos in North America, with a primate center, manatee aquarium, Florida wildlife center, Asian domain and aviary. Named the number one children’s zoo in America. Allow five hours to tour the zoo. Tampa, 45 minutes. 813-935-8552
The Outpost is just a 15 minute drive from downtown St. Petersburg, which holds the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive sunny days at an amazing 768. With such beautiful weather comes an almost endless list of recreational and cultural activities.
St. Petersburg is known as “The City of the Arts” with six major museums, performing arts on the stages of several outstanding venues, and dozens of fascinating art galleries. Take in the Salvador Dalí Museum, explore the St. Petersburg Pier, shop at Beach Drive or BayWalk, or search out the perfect local restaurant. St. Petersburg is the birthplace of Major League Baseball Spring Training and home to the Tampa Bay Rays playing at Tropicana Field.
Tampa is just a 30 minute drive by interstate to the bustling city of Tampa. Known as The Cigar City, Tampa Bay is rich in history and multi-cultural charm. From the vibrant nightlife of Ybor City to the metropolitan aura of the Channelside District and Cruise Port, Tampa offers the excitement of major league sports, The Florida Aquarium and Lowry Park Zoo, one of the nation’s top rated zoos for children , and an amazing combination of thrill rides and exotic African animals at Busch Gardens.
Orlando is just two hours from the Guy Harvey Outpost. There you’ll find some of the world’s biggest and most well-known theme parks. For a full day or two of tourist adventures, you can roam through Universal Studios, Sea World and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom plus dozens of other amusement and water parks.
Orlando is so much more than rides and your favorite characters, though. It’s also home to professional sports teams, unique museums, world-class shopping and so much more. You can rent a car from Hertz inside our sister property, the Island Grand, or the Outpost Crew will be happy to help arrange transportation at the transportation desk for a day trip.