Right across from the Tamps Bay Times Forum, located in the Channelside district of Tampa you’ll find an art gallery unlike any other you’re apt to come across. Wandering through the area ahead of the Habs’ match-up with the Lightning, we passed by a storefront window and couldn’t help but notice this awesome and hilarious statue of Bill Murray (pictured below in Caddyshack attire) staring out at us. The gallery displaying the sculpture is David O’Keefe Pop Culture Icons, and trust us, if you’re a fan of pop culture in any way, you’ll have a blast checking it out. A local illustrator that began his career as a promotional artist for the Tampa Tribune, O’Keefe has now made a career painting and sculpting beloved pop culture icons. From Seinfeld to the Godfather to Mohammed Ali and Tim Tebow you’re bound to find something you want to take home. Check out more of his work at davidokeefe.com, and David, if you’re reading this – your next project: A painting of the 2012-13 edition of the Montreal Canadiens please.
If you’re a cigar lover, Tampa Bay’s Ybor city is probably the place for you. The neighborhood, founded in 1880 by cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor and populated by mostly Spanish, Italian and Cuban immigrants, is chalked full of tobacco shops and was mostly known for its cigar manufacturing before becoming the tourist destination it is today. Visiting one of the shops (complete with cigar store Indian out front) we came across one of the craziest cigars we’ve ever seen, which was actually three cigars intertwined, pictured below.
If smoking cigars isn’t quite your bag, head back to the Channelside district to pay a visit to the 250,000 square feet of marine magic that is the Florida Aquarium and see a slew of exotic fish and animals from around the world. On our way in, we were under the impression that if you’ve seen one aquarium, you’ve seen ‘em all, but with a great lay out and some fantastic exhibits including this Tampa Bay Rays namesake, an hour later we were singing a different tune.
Rays were actually all over the place in this aquarium and even on display in a tank close to the entrance where visitors were invited to stick their hands into the water and give them a gentle poke. We also spent a few minutes checking out their newest exhibit – a bunch of tiger sharks that now call a basin containing 1.9 million liters of salt water at the Florida Aquarium their home.