After a great week-long trip to Puerto Rico, I was back into exploring Florida and checking out some new places I’ve never been to before. A co-worker asked if I had ever been to the Tampa Zoo and aquarium. Not even knowing that both existed, I realized I needed to go visit them. So I left early Saturday morning, and drove the 4+ hours across the state to the west coast. My first stop was at the new disc golf course in Plant City at Medard Park. I had played here once before about 6 months ago, and couldn’t wait to play this fun but tough course again. I then drove into Tampa’s Channel District, where I visited the Florida Aquarium. I was quite impressed by how nice and clean the aquarium was, and the various tanks and displays did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the huge shark tank, where you can great up-close shots of nature’s perfect beast.
I then went for a walk around the district area and over to the Riverwalk, where I was treated to some beautiful views of downtown Tampa’s skyline. I next drove a bit north to a brand new disc golf course in Tampa. I had read some good reviews of this course and was excited to play it. But since the course is so brand new, it was still a bit confusing to navigate and I didn’t realize it only had 9 baskets and 18 teepads. After a frustrating round, I drove just down the road to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Another fun Tampa attraction, I really enjoyed checking out all the animal displays, even though not ‘everyone’ was out in the sweltering heat. You can never go wrong with the penguin and monkey displays, and I found myself spending alot of time at both. After a couple hours there, I went to play another brand new course just a ways north in the city of Holiday. But this course wasn’t any easier than the previous one, and I even lost a couple discs in one of several lakes on the executive ball golf course. I did run into a good friend of mine from the east coast, but didn’t bother to play all 18 holes as I wanted to make sure I caught the sunset.
I headed back down south along the coast to Dunedin and over to the causeway that leads out to Honeymoon Island. I was treated to another beautiful west coast sunset, and then headed into Dunedin’s quaint historic section for a nice sweet and sour Mahi Mahi dinner. I had planned to camp out, but was so sweaty from my all-day venture, I bit the bullet and got a hotel room instead for a much-needed shower.
I woke up to a gorgeous Sunday morning and headed back over the causeway and into Honeymoon Island State Park. Only my second time here (the first being about 10 years ago), I hiked around on a few trails and walked along the beach for a while before catching a boat ride over to Caladesi State Park. I can’t remember if I had been there before, but I can see why it was voted one of the top US beaches, as the white sands and incredible shelling make a great day there. I got a kick out of the shell trees, where people put shells on the branches of the small trees.
After a few sun-soaking hours there, I drove into Clearwater to play one of my favorite Florida courses, Cliff Stephens Park. My next stop was at another course, Youth Park in Pinellas Park. It was then onto another brand new Tampa course at Picnic Island Park, which offered great views of Tampa Bay. I also enjoyed this course much more than the two new Saturday courses.
Knowing I had a bit of a drive down to Sarasota, I was hoping to make it there in time to watch the sunset on Siesta Key. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one with this plan, and I barely made the sunset in time as I waited quite a while to find an open parking space. But it was worth it, as I once again saw another amazing end-of-the-day at the madness known as Siesta Key. It seemed like there were thousands of people on the beach there, as I’ve never seen it so packed.