Channelside is an entertainment complex, just southeast of downtown Tampa
; it is bordered by Ybor Channel on the east, and the Garrison Channel on the south. Some of the attractions in the area include the Florida Aquarium, American Victory Museum
, an IMAX Theater and the Channelside Entertainment Complex for the nightlife. There are also a number of high rise condominiums in the area; the twin 30-story upscale condos Towers of Channelside were completed in 2007, which would be a great place to live if you like a lot of activity.
The center of the complex has a large open court for live music. There are many shops, restaurants, many of which have outside patio bars, and several entertainment venues. It has a great view of the downtown skyline and cruise ships, which are docked right next to the complex. The Tampa Port Authority
is located here too, large cargo ships and commercial cruises enter and leave Tampa's Port from here. There are also numerous special events in the area, such as the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning whom play their games at the St. Pete Times Forum, which also hosts concerts and other events. Other events include the one such in 2008, where the NCAA Women's Final Four was held on location.
One of the most popular attractions here is the Florida Aquarium
. As a 250,000-square-foot aquarium, it is publicly operated and home to over 20,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida
and all over the world. The Aquarium opened in March 1995; its exhibits are set up as if to follow a drop of water from one of Florida's many fresh-water springs out to the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and it's quite a journey. There is a large "wetlands" exhibit under a tall glass atrium, which gives the natural light a chance to filter through, making it very authentic. That is also a "beach" portion in the exhibit, as well as a coral reef community, which is housed in a 500,000 gallon tank. The seahorses and jellyfish housed there are a sight to see, along with their many exotic fish friends. The stated mission of the aquarium is to "entertain education and inspire stewardship of the natural environment."
Outside the aquarium is a 'wet' play place for the kiddies to enjoy, and as the name suggest, there are water fountains, slides and a great Pirate ship for the kids to climb around in and explore.
Channelside also has a trolley service
that takes you from downtown Tampa and the Ybor City
area, as well as valet parking and a parking garage; there is a minimal fee to park however.
So whether you sail in on a cruise ship, take the trolley or drive in and park, Channelside is a great place to come and visit, or find a nearby condo to live in.
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By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com