TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay author looking to show off the “weird, wonderful and obscure” parts of Tampa Bay in a new book has offered his insight into the best of what our area has to offer.
Joshua Ginsberg is the author of “Secret Tampa Bay: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure.” The book dives in to culture, history and attractions.
He spoke to 8 On Your Side about the book and his future projects on Tuesday.
The book covers what Ginsberg said is a “good mix” of things. Ginsberg said his rule of thumb was to cover things, including interesting, restaurants, museums and other locations, within an hour of downtown Tampa.
Here are 8 of the “weird, wonderful and obscure” locations that Ginsberg suggested locals and visitors check out here in the Tampa Bay area that are featured in his guidebook:
Ginsberg recommends this museum, located on West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa, as the museum itself is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay hotel, a Victorian railroad resort that helped transformed the city into the major destination that it is today.
The Henry B. Plant Museum is a national historic landmark and contains original furnishings and artifacts.
This museum in St. Petersburg recommended by Ginsberg is the first and only exhibit and education center “devoted to elucidating the science, history, and art of mothers and the multicultural family in perpetuity,” according to its website.
The website states the museum is currently still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but according to the Museum of Motherhood’s Facebook page, numerous events are being held online.
“From pirates to pioneer priests to politicians and the reinterred remains of indigenous people, you can learn about the entire scope of Tampa Bay’s history here,” Ginsberg wrote in an email to 8 On Your Side.
The cemetery was created in 1850. Many Tampa’s pioneer families, in addition to 13 Tampa mayors, are buried here. The website touts a self-guided walking tour, and an online tour is available as well.
This location, created by artist Howard Soloman, features an advertised 80 interpretive stained glass windows and metal sculptures. Their website touts that they have been featured on national and international networks, including the BBC, CNN, Animal Planet and more.
“This is what happens when an outside artist, who was also known as the ‘Da Vinci of Debris,’ decides to take literally the phrase ‘a man’s home is his castle,'” Ginsberg said.
5. Egmont Key
Egmont Key is a breathtaking island and nature preserve with ruins of Fort Dade and the town where many lived during the Spanish-American War.
Accessible only by boat, Egmont Key features preservations for wild birds, threatened Gopher tortoises nest here and the sea shells are quite amazing for those looking to find that perfect piece or even a sand dollar.
A gem of St. Petersburg, Ginsberg calls the location “vintage America.” It’s St. Pete’s oldest operating museum at over 100 years old and features man than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. Sunken Gardens is also one of the last standing roadside attractions in the state of Florida.
Little Cooperstown features the world’s largest collection of autographed baseballs, with nearly 5,000. According to their website, the location has artifacts from the likes of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio and more.
This small Ybor City park is owned and maintained by the country of Cuba. The name translates to “Friends of Jose Marti Park.” Jose Marti was a Cuban poet, professor, journalist, and more, and is considered a hero for the country, dying fighting for his country according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Ginsberg will be attending a book fair event at Oxford Exchange on April 22 from 6 to 8 p.m., where he will be selling his books and greeting fans. The event is free and open to the public.
Those interested in the book who can’t make the event can order signed copies online at Ginsberg’s store.