Whether you’re visiting the Tampa Bay area for just a day or moving to Tampa, checking out the best Tampa museums should be high on your list. Tampa Bay has been named a Top Arts Destination with some of the most iconic downtown art museums in the country as well as maritime and history museums that explore the pirates, explorers, and military history of the area.
Here’s a look at the seven top museums in Tampa you’ll love visiting again and again.
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Tampa Bay History Center – Fun Florida History Museum Covering Tampa History, Pirates & More
The Tampa history museum, located in a newer 60,000-square-foot facility on the Tampa Riverwalk, features three floors of temporary and permanent exhibits spanning 12,000 years of local Tampa history. The exhibits begin with the first peoples of Florida before continuing to the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s, Tampa Bay’s history as a haven for pirates, and modern-day Tampa’s role as a port city.
The Tampa Bay History Center (TBHC) offers a fun experience for kids and adults alike with a fascination for shipwrecks, pirates, and treasure. Its permanent Treasure Seekers exhibit features artifacts and displays on the conquistadors who arrived in the Tampa Bay area, the pirates who made their homes (and fates) in Tampa Bay and the Caribbean, and shipwrecks in the region. The Tampa Bay center also has a permanent Cuban Pathways exhibit exploring more than 500 years of Cuban history and connections to Tampa.
You’ll quickly see why the Tampa Bay History Center is one of the most visited and beloved Tampa museums!
Tampa Bay History Center Hours & Location
- Address: Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Water St, Tampa, FL 33602
- Phone: (813) 228-0097
- Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm
- Admission: $17 adults, $15 seniors (60+), $15 college students, and $13 kids (7-17)
The Dali Museum – World-Famous Tampa Bay Museum with Extensive Salvador Dali Collection
The Salvador Dali Museum isn’t in Tampa, but it isn’t far away. The St. Petersburg Dali Museum is the most well-known of all museums in Tampa Bay with more than 400,000 visitors every year from over 40 countries. The Dali Museum is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront and features an iconic surrealism-inspired structure with a large skylight and 75-foot glass entryway with a spiral staircase known as “the Enigma.”
The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg features over 100 drawings and watercolors, 96 oil paintings, and more than 1,300 photos, sculptures, and graphics.
The museum was originally located in Cleveland, Ohio, the home of Eleanor and Reynolds Morse who were friends and patrons of Dali for more than 40 years and built the original collection. Salvador Dali presided over the opening of the original location. It was relocated to a different Salvador Dali Museum Tampa Bay location in 1971 before the current museum structure was finished in 2010.
The Dali Museum has more Dali masterpieces than any other museum with famous large-scale paintings like The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory and The Hallucinogenic Toreador.
Salvador Dali Museum Tickets & Hours
- Address: 1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
- Phone: (727) 823-3767
- Hours: Friday to Wednesday, 10 am to 6 pm; Thursday 10 am to 8 pm
- Admission: $25 for adults; $23 for seniors (65+), educators, police, fire, and military; $18 for students (teens 13+ and college students); $10 for children (6-12), and free for children 5 and younger and members. Discounted admission on Thursdays after 5 pm. Seasonal Dali museum tickets are higher from July 5 to August 9.
Tampa Museum of Art – Most Visited Tampa Art Museum and Iconic Downtown Tampa Landmark
One of the most iconic Tampa Bay museums, the Tampa Museum of Art was founded in 1920 and boasts a large collection of contemporary, modern, and ancient art. In the heart of downtown Tampa, it’s home to one of the largest collections of Roman and Greek antiquities in the Southeast and its collection covers photography, painting, sculpture, and new media.
This iconic Florida art museum is instantly recognizable thanks to the 14,000-square-foot LED light installation of Sky (Tampa) by artist Leo Villareal on the south face and a 23-foot cast iron sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa at the north end.
Thanks to a $25 million expansion and renovation campaign that begin in 2020, the Tampa museum now boasts the large, state-of-the-art Vinik Family Education Center with summer art camps, lectures, and classes for all ages. The museum also hosts regular events and signature events like Pride & Passion: Vogue celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture to raise money to bring art and art education to the community.
The Tampa art museum participates in Museums for All with free Tampa Museum of Art tickets for visitors who receive SNAP benefits and the ArtVenture Krewe program with free art supplies and prompts for kids 3 to 10.
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Tampa Museum of Art Hours & Location
- Address: Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
- Phone: (813) 274-8130
- Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday 10 am to 8 pm
- Admission: $15 for adults; $10 for seniors (65+), military, professional artists, and FL educators; $5 for students (7+), and free for children (0-6), college students, and faculty & students of University of Tampa, University of South Florida, and Hillsborough Community College
Glazer Children’s Museum – One of the Top Museums in Tampa for Kids
Glazer Children’s Museum is one of the best museums in Tampa, Florida for interactive learning that allows kids to connect to the world around them through discovery and play. The downtown museum features over 53,000 square feet to explore and it’s committed to creating an accessible, inclusive environment for all visitors with a Nursing Room for parents, most exhibits and all themed areas accessible by wheelchair, and curated sensory-friendly events with certification as an Autism-Friendly Business.
There are tons of exhibits and themes to explore. Kids can learn about caring for animals in the Vet Clinic, splash and play in KidsPort, make sounds and colors in Light Cloud, create and build in Engineers’ Workshop, and much more!
Make sure you check out the signature events at the best Tampa museum for kids including Halloween Spree and Gingerbread Village!
Glazer Children’s Museum Hours & Location
- Address: Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
- Phone: (813) 443-3861
- Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 1 pm to 6 pm
- Admission: $16 general admission (adults and children), $2 Community Helpers discount (for seniors, educators, first responders, and active military), $3 Museums for All admission (WIC, SNAP, and EBT card holders), and free for GCM members with family memberships starting at $150/year
Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) – One of the Best Science Museums in Tampa Florida
The Museum of Science & Industry or MOSI is a non-profit science museum in Tampa dedicated to “making science real” for all ages. Visitors can explore more than 100 interactive exhibits and hands-on activities at the Dinovations Jurassic-themed lab, Idea Zone, VR simulator, Geolab, Sky Trail ropes course, and planetarium. You’ll find permanent and changing exhibits and add-on activities like the challenging ropes course plus daily shows at the Saunders Planetarium.
MOSI is a popular field trip destination, but the Tampa museum also offers summer camp in Tampa for kindergarten through middle school with STEAM-based programs.
Just visiting Tampa? With a Tampa CityPASS, you can save 53% on admission to the top 5 Tampa Bay attractions including MOSI!
Tampa MOSI Museum Hours & Location
- Address: Museum of Science & Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33617
- Phone: (813) 987-6000
- Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm
- Admission: $12.95 for adults, $10.95 for seniors (60+), $7.95 for kids (3-12)
Henry B Plant Museum – Historic 19th Century Mansion & Museum Home to the Annual Tampa Victorian Christmas Stroll
The Henry B Plant Museum or just the Plant Museum is located in the historic 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, an elegant Victorian-era railroad resort, now the south wing of Plant Hall at the University of Tampa. Henry B. Plant was an investor and businessman who was involved in many projects in transportation, particularly steamboats and railroads, and created the Tampa Bay Hotel as the palace for his empire.
The Henry Plant Museum features original furnishings and artifacts collected by Plant and his wife on their trips to Europe and Asia. The museum offers exhibits covering events during the Victorian era, Florida’s early tourism industry, and the early Tampa history.
The Upstairs/Downstairs hotel performance is one of the museum’s most popular events with single-character performances based on research of historic Tampa Bay Hotel staff and guests.
During December, visit for the University of Tampa Victorian Christmas Stroll! The 41st annual Victorian Christmas Stroll in Tampa includes displays and themes in each exhibit room with antique Christmas trees, snow babies, live music, and more.
Henry B Plant Museum Hours & Location
- Address: 401 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606
- Phone: (813) 254-1891
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm
- Admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors, $9 students, and $7 kids (4-12)
American Victory Ship & Museum – WWII Victory Museum Ship in Tampa
Just a short walk from the Florida Aquarium is the SS American Victory museum. The Victory ship is a cargo ship built by the thousands during World War II. There are only three Victory naval ship museums including the one in Tampa and it’s one of just four fully operational WWII ships in the United States.
The SS American Victory was briefly in service during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, surviving a hurricane and two typhoons. This unique maritime museum in Tampa, Florida allows you to step aboard the ship and visit almost every area from the hospital and galley to the crew cabins, Captain’s quarters, and engine.
Be sure to visit for their anticipated special events like the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade in December and Undead in the Water for Halloween.
American Victory Museum Hours & Location
- Address: American Victory Ship & Museum, 705 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
- Phone: (813) 228-8766
- Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; Monday 12 pm to 5 pm
- Admission: $12 for adults; $10 for seniors (65+), veterans, and students; $7 for children (4 to 12); and free for members
Map of Museums in Tampa
Now that you have a better idea of what museums in Tampa have to offer, are you ready to relocate to Tampa Bay? If you’re moving to the city or within the metro area, give us a call at 2 College Brothers for a free, personalized moving estimate from our 5-star Tampa movers!