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Gasparilla NHL Weekend
Posted January 26, 2018 | 2:32 PM

Scout Out Hillsborough's All-Star Attractions

There's plenty to savor before beads fly and the puck drops

Looking for a taste of Hillsborough County while you're in town for the Gasparilla pirate invasion on Jan. 27 and the National Hockey League All-Star Game on Jan. 28? Strawberries will sweeten your stay. Plant City, in eastern Hillsborough County, is the self-proclaimed Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. The bountiful fruit, now in season, is available at farm stands and in grocery stores.

Strawberries are among many things that make Hillsborough County special. Here are others:

  • Manatees, which frequent Florida waters, are prevalent this time of the year at the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. The animals, sometimes called sea cows, forage on aquatic plants and grow to an average length of 10 feet and weight of up to 1,200 pounds. They and other marine life gather in winter months in the warm waters of a power station discharge canal, which abuts the Center.
  • Get outside and enjoy wintertime in Florida. From springs to forests to playgrounds, Hillsborough County has conservation parks, preserves, and neighborhood parks that offer opportunities to exercise, relax, and observe nature.
  • The Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park & Museum honors U.S. military Veterans of all eras. The Park & Museum has memorials including seven dedicated to specific wars, and is a good place for reflection, reading, picnicking, and walking or jogging.
  • Flatwoods Conservation Park, east of New Tampa off Morris Bridge Road, has a paved, seven-mile loop road that's ideal for many activities. Bicyclist Amanda Coker set the one-year total mileage record here in 2017.
  • The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative has lots of activities for adults, teens, and children. Check the events calendar for sessions at a nearby library branch.

Heading to Gasparilla events? Here’s how to plot your course. Going to NHL festivities? Get information on events, transportation, and parking.

Photo information: Visitors observe the star attractions at the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. Credit: Tampa Electric Co.


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