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Old 04-18-2010, 03:51 PM
 
16,567 posts, read 14,005,185 times
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Hello!

I am chaperoning my school's NOSB team on an upcoming national academic competition in the Tampa/ St.Pete area this week and we are looking for something to do.

We arrive Thursday morning and it is our only "downtime" day. We have rented a minivan and have been looking at going to the beach during the morning. But due to a desire to not get totally roasted we are looking for something fun, cheap and maybe educational to do in the afternoon and are also looking for someplace good to eat that is fairly cheap (less than $20 per person for dinner) as we are on the school's dime.

I have been looking on tripadvisor but would also like a local's perspective.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 04-18-2010, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pinellas County
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Would FL aquarium be a bit passe for the group? It's a fabulous exhibit if you think it would work, based on the various water habitats in and around tampa, the beach/mangrove/bay and bridges/everglades.
Also Clearwater has the dolphin with the prosthetic tail - winter I think it's name is.

Downtown st pete has great museums, several of them. To eat, $20 pp for dinner, lots of places, The original Columbia Rest in Ybor, very historic and pretty inside, I am sure you can get entrees and a drink for less than that, their menus will be online to check out. That really is Tampa.
We have all the usual chains, outback/olive garden/carabbas etc., at Clearwater Beach there is Frenchy's thats a bit of a beach institution or the Johns Pass Village by Treasure Island has several eating places that might appeal, and it's waterfront too, with little shops (mostly tacky tourist stuff but fun to wander around) for a walk before or after dinner.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:42 PM
 
1,188 posts, read 2,042,994 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Hello!

I am chaperoning my school's NOSB team on an upcoming national academic competition in the Tampa/ St.Pete area this week and we are looking for something to do.

We arrive Thursday morning and it is our only "downtime" day. We have rented a minivan and have been looking at going to the beach during the morning. But due to a desire to not get totally roasted we are looking for something fun, cheap and maybe educational to do in the afternoon and are also looking for someplace good to eat that is fairly cheap (less than $20 per person for dinner) as we are on the school's dime.

I have been looking on tripadvisor but would also like a local's perspective.

Thanks in advance!!
Where is the hotel you are staying? Clearwater (Pinellas side) or Tampa (Hillsborough County side)? That would help people make recommendations for you. Great places on both sides of the bay. Also the age of the students? That info would be helpful so that the suggestions are appropriate and interesting to the age bracket.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Tampa
1,236 posts, read 4,036,068 times
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I was going to suggest the Clearwater aquarium. Winter is the dolphins name. My daughters school went on a field trip there.

You can go to chain restaurants anywhere. I would try a more local place like Frenchy's

How old are the kids?
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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Thanks for all the replies!

They are high school age. Three seniors and two juniors. We are coming for the National Ocean Science Bowl as USF on Sat-Sun. Its going to sound ironic but since we are a marine science school for gifted students sometimes they get a bit bored by aquarium stuff. I will check out the Clearwater Aq. though since we have never seen a dolphin with a prosthetic device. I think we are going to try Frenchy's too.

Which beach would you recommend, Treasure Island or Fort De Soto?
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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Ft. De Soto is fun and has a lot of history. If they are gifted students, look the history up before you leave and it would be a great place to have fun AND learn while they enjoy the sun and surf!

Be sure to bring water and plenty of sunscreen. You all will have a good time! Winter is Great, I think the kids would love to see him! Very inspirational !! Good luck to the kids at their Ocean Science Bowl.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Tampa
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I too vote Ft. DeSoto. They have a fort that they can explore. The north beach is the best part. You probably can't afford, but you can rent a canoe/kayak or even bikes ($8 or so). Check out for rentals: United Park Services at Fort De Soto Beach - kayak rentals, beach bike rentals, beach surrey rentals, canoe rentals, beach weddings, sunset weddings, wedding locations, receptions, banquet room, umbrella rentals, beach rentals, chair rentals.

You can bring snorkling stuff. I have seen people pulling out seashells and large sand dollars. Be aware though, it is illegal to take home any seashells that have a critter still in them.

It would be nice to bring stuff for a picnic. They have concession stands, though I don't know if they are open this time of year. You could easily spend all day there.

The nice thing about Ft. DeSoto beach is that they have trees for shade.

The aquarium is small. You can easily walk through pretty quickly.

By all means, do bring sunscreen and plenty of drinking water like Deef1 said! You can get a bad burn real fast.
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Old 04-19-2010, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pinellas County
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I had a daughter in gifted and IB and all she wanted to do when she hit a new town, if there was no beach, was to hit the nearest malls

Fort De soto is much lovelier than Treasure Island, but if they are old enough to walk about by themselves, then TI is better as they can find cafes, shops and Johns Pass to hang out in.
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Where ever you're at, that's where you are!
371 posts, read 1,043,993 times
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I love Ft. De Soto beach, as does my whole family, however...having an 18 yo old daughter that is a Senior in High School, if she were to pick only one beach, for only a few hours to be at, she would want one with more ...socializing. More people to see and be seen by, some shops to wander around in, more things that are happening at the beach area. She liked Clearwater Beach for that reason.
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:25 AM
 
34,240 posts, read 41,245,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Hello!



We arrive Thursday morning and it is our only "downtime" day. We have rented a minivan and have been looking at going to the beach during the morning. !!
Ft Desoto http://www.google.ca/images?hl=en&source=imghp&q=ft+desoto+beach&gbv=2& aq=0&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=ft+desoto&gs_rfai=
Nice beaches ,do bring water and snacks as its kinda sparse out there..

then a 10 mile drive north to Johns Pass for shopping and resaurants and more beaches if needed

johns pass florida - Google Search
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