Summertime is here again, which inevitably means a weekend visit from your nieces and nephews. Your siblings didn't exactly take to that weekend-long paintball championship idea the last time they invaded your apartment, so it's up to you to get them out and about with an activity that is not only fun but 'educational'. Aren't those usually opposing terms to kids? Thankfully not at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry.
The focus is on a kid-friendly take on ecology and the scientific approach, with an emphasis upon hands-on learning. Thus, youngsters can gaze in wonder at the bones of a vicious prehistoric tyrant such as the T. Rex , take a stroll through the numerous historical exhibitions, or surround themselves completely in nature by strolling through the Butterfly Garden, an open air exhibit comprised of over a thousand butterflies seventy-five different species. Additionally, re-created scenes from the evolution of man take great prominence in the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry, as man-made saber-toothed tigers, seagulls and even a wooly mammoth all demonstrate with life-like clarity the wonderous, treacherous and, in some cases, enormous size and scope of the various species that share our world.
The always popular domed IMAX theater is a must-see experience, currently showing popular director James Cameron's aquatic film 'Aliens of the Deep' to consistently packed houses. Specialty activities such as the death-defying high wire bike ride can add unexpected thrill to your day of educational wonder, as you take turns pedaling thirty feet above ground on a 1-inch piece of suspended steel cable! The museum's Gulf coast hurricane experience also prepares your family in proper survival skills while they come face-to-face with 74-mph gusting winds, a definite piece of knowledge helpful to Tampa area apartment-ites. Still not enough thrills for one day? Then try taking a stroll over the sanity-questioning 'Kids in Charge' area, where adults and 'tweens switch roles for an hour or two (think of it as your own personal 'Freaky Friday' experience).
Healthy lunch options can be found in the Museum's CafÃ©, an ideal place to feed the troops after a long day of examining the eating habits of cavemen. The neighboring gift shop has the usual plush animals for sale (the most popular being, of course, dinosaurs), in addition to unique items such as quartz crystals, moon rocks and a bug hunter's kit. Be sure and hit the gift shop for a toy or two on your way out the door, thus guaranteeing your title of 'favorite relative' for years to come.