Florida Features: Places & Events

5 Northern Hillsborough County Must Visit Spots

TAMPA, Fla. – From small shops to nature and food, Hillsborough County has multiple things to do on any day.

Start your morning off right with Felicitous Coffee. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. It serves different goodies such as pastries, smoothies and gelato. Whether you’re in the mood for a shot of caffeine in the morning or a sweet treat, Felicitous has you covered. It is located on 42nd Ave off of North Fletcher Avenue.

After, you can head to Lake Park, located off of North Dale Mabry Highway. Here, you can enjoy 589 acres of land and a total of five lakes. At only a $2 entrance fee, there are many things to fill your afternoon with, such as bird watching, hiking or picnicking. If you’re interested in more physical activities, there are exercise stations, two horse arenas, a BMX bike ramp and archery.

Cool yourself down with Jeremiah’s Italian Ice after a day out in the sun. They offer over 40 different flavors of Italian ice. They also have soft serve and gelati, which is a mixture of the two.

After you’ve had your sweet treat, climb your way over to Vertical Ventures. The indoor rock climbing gym was established in 1996 and offers different levels of difficulties based on the climber’s skillset. Admission is $12 for kids and $16 for adults.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, Cappy’s Pizzeria awaits. The vintage-vibed pizzeria offers both Chicago and New York style pizza. There are five stores in Tampa. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try their most famous pizza, the Cappy, to top off your event-filled day out in the Borough.

3 Places to Visit on Tampa’s Riverwalk

TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa’s Riverwalk now features three activities steps away from one another.

Kathy Slough, from Atlanta, Georgia visits her friend every year. Slough makes sure the Riverwalk is part of her trip.

“A group of us – we’ve been doing this probably for about twelve years. We come and run in the Gasparilla Classic, an awesome race.”

Many people like Slough enjoy spending their day walking along the waterfront sidewalk. The air is filled with birds chirping, children laughing, and music.

“This, this is part of my lifestyle, it’s beautiful here,” Slough said. “We got the waterway, we got the public market, Ulele’s.”

Bikers can ride on pavement along the Hillsborough River and lock their bikes up at several racks along the way. There are several docks next to the railings where people can ride their boats or ride on a private water taxi.

Tampa Water Works Park is across the water. Children wear swimsuits and play around a gated splash zone. If children do not want to get wet, they can enjoy the playground with ropes next to the water activities. The pavilion is great for hosting parties, while the large grassy area is perfect for picnics. Another area has a stage.

People can get to a Native American restaurant from the Riverwalk or by crossing a small bridge. The restaurant is named Ulele after a Native American princess. The restaurant cooks native inspired foods like the Native Sauté, Native Chili and Mahi Trevino. Ulele is also the name of one of Tampa’s water springs.

Next to the Riverwalk area stands a repurposed fire station, now named Armature Works. The restaurants have a large variety of foods, from barbeque to acai bowls. The current stores are: Astro Ice Cream, Butcher N Barbeque, Graze, Inside the Box, Union, Zukku, SwamiJuice, Hemingway’s, Cru Cellars, Ava, Cocktail Emporium, Imoto, Surf and Turf and more coming soon.

AW Mercantile is a retail shop inside Armature Works. The theme of the space is rustic chic. It is growing popularity on social media with the hashtag “hpm” and “armature works.” Next to Armature Works is Heights Public Market. Inside, there is also a space where you can buy fresh vegetables and fruit. All the shops have social media profiles, encouraging customers to share pictures of their experiences.

Couches, chairs and stools are available indoors for seating. There are benches, chairs and umbrellas in front of the building as well. There are also life-sized chess and checker boards. The area is very pet-friendly. A large space in between has an open roof. A musician is almost always strumming tunes.

Parking in downtown is usually difficult, but now there are more parking facilities available with no fee.

Armature Works is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. It opens an hour later and closes at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

“You can bring families here, you can be single, anybody can come here,” Slough said. “It’s really nice of Tampa to have this for residents that live here and us visiting.”

Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum is an excellent place to learn about the Father of Black History Month, as well as the African American culture in the Bay area.

“We here at the Dr. Carter G Woodson African American History Museum take delight in not only preserving, presenting but interpreting African American history,” said Terri Lipsey Scott, executive director of the museum. “We celebrate the contributions of those past, but more importantly those of our community of current.”

The museum features bits of information about Dr. Woodson, but a fact not in the museum is that Dr. Woodson was selected as, “the doodle for Google.” Scott continued by saying that, “his popularity is growing, particularly with this generation.”

“It wasn’t until 1976, that we begin celebrating Black History Month as a result of him introducing in 1926, the study of Negro history week,” said Scott.

The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum is the only museum in St.Petersburg dedicated to African American history. What makes this museum different than others is, “We’re the only museum that does not sit on sit on the pristine waterfront, but that’s nestled in a community where the rich history was in fact cultivated,” said Scott.

The museum is free to the public, but the staff kindly requests donations.

“We take pride in being able to showcase the talented work of so many artists throughout the Bay area and beyond,” said Scott.

“The Dr. Carter G Woodson African American History Museum, in fact, hosts every six to eight weeks a new exhibit. Because of the limited space that we have here,” Scott continued, “We are prideful in order to just showcase the talented art of African American artists who have never been seen or shown anywhere else, locally, nationally, or internationally and beyond.”

Many art pieces do not get the opportunity to be showcased and are often stored away in garages. The museum provides a forum for artists to get a chance to display their art.

The museum also hosts a number of activities, such as book clubs and piano lessons. “We’re the home of the One City Chorus,” Scott said, “Who practice here every week, and they sing songs of the Civil Rights Movement.”

On Feb. 1, 2018, St. Petersburg’s City Hall held a flag ceremony honoring the Woodson flag. The flag was raised at 10 a.m., marking the beginning of Black History Month. Across the nation, the city of St. Petersburg is the only place that raises the Woodson flag on a government entity.

In addition to the One City Chorus, the museum partners with The Florida Orchestra, and once a month from January through April, the museum hosts one of their segments.

The grounds of the museum used to be a community center, Jordan Park. In the early 2000s, the space was renovated. Behind the museum is a Legacy Garden. It features bricks with donors’ names on them. The garden is an ongoing fundraiser for the museum.

Scott is, “delighted that folks are embracing not only the culture of African American history, but looking back, and recognizing and in fact celebrating the individual who in fact brought it to the forefront.”

Here is the news brief that aired on Florida Focus featuring the Woodson Museum.

Imagine Escape Games

TAMPA- Mike and Haley Linquist created Imagine Escape Games, a space with timed, interactive, multiplayer rooms for players to escape from using codes and clues.

The couple opened the amusement center last year. Their passion for creating memorable experiences for people is what inspired them to build escape rooms. Phones are not allowed in the rooms, so people can connect with each other.

“It’s basically a sixty minute, timed, live-action puzzle game that you do with your friends and family,” said Mike Linquist. “It’s just something that we just started doing and it turns out… it’s so much fun for us and we’re passionate about it.”

The rooms are unique because they are part of a connected storyline. They also vary in difficulty and can be booked for private parties.

The Linquists said their commitment to customer service is why their Google review rating is so high, with 600 five-star reviews and counting.

“Anytime someone walks in the door, we want to make sure they have the best time,” said Haley Linquist, “because if you have the best time, it means the world to me.”

The company announced that a new escape room is expected in November.

This feature aired on a PBS affiliate station as well.

Tampa Night Market

TAMPA – The Tampa Night Market hosted a community celebration to welcome the Fall season at the One Tampa City Center. The event strives to promote small businesses around the Bay area.

Vendors set up on the first Thursday of each month. Families, couples and teenagers walked along the brick walkways, interacting with the local sellers.

“The city of Tampa is building up a lot,” Dona Crowley, the event organizer, said. “So, I think this is a great thing for people that live here to come and be part of the community.”

Crowley said she looks for vendors that can sell unique, handmade items.

“We try to have like trendy makers, people that make their own products, or clothing or jewelry,” Dona Crowley said.

Crowley hopes that events like this one can help create a sense of unity.

Bree Sparks owns Fro-Dough. The frozen cookie dough vendor said that she loved the positive energy among the other businesses.

“We’ve liked each other back on Facebook,” Sparks said. “This has probably been one of the events that I’ve become friends with the most vendors.”

The market lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and future event activities are announced on Facebook.