You might not know this, but most museums in Tampa are open for business. They have COVID regulations in place, but you're still able to enjoy their exhibits and learn a bit about what they offer. There are three museums in Tampa that pay tribute to our military, firefighters, and police.
They are the SS American Victory Mariners' Memorial and Museum Ship, the Tampa Firefighters Museum, and the Tampa Police Museum.
Let's take a closer look at each of these museums.
SS American Victory Mariners' Memorial and Museum Ship
Photo of American Victory ship from Wikicommons
Entrance Fee: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors 65+ and Students, $5 Veterans and Children (4-12)
Hours: Monday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m, Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
Address: 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602
Description: The American Victory Ship boasts to be one of only four fully operational WWII ships in the entire country. This museum will transport you back into history as you tour the ship. You'll be able to see the mess hall, hospital, steering station, and more as you explore nearly every inch of the ship. Plus, you'll be able to see preserved documents and artifacts.
My Experience: This was a great historical ship that will transport you back into time to glimpse the life and conditions of those who were stationed on it. It's really cool to tour the exhibits and think about the men and women who not only built the ship but were also stationed on it and fought in WWII on it. This is a neat piece of history that you won't want to miss out on.
Tampa Firefighters Museum
Screenshot by the author from Tampa Firefighters Museum
Entrance Fee: Free but donations are accepted
Hours: Sunday and Monday Closed, Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Address: 720 E Zack St, Tampa, FL 33602
Description: The Tampa Firefighters Museum's mission is to preserve the heritage of Tampa Bay's fire department as well as education on fire safety and prevention. Because of this, there isn't an entrance fee but they do rely on donations to continue to educate others. The museum is great for all ages. It has a number of exhibits including life-sized mannequins in firefighter gear, a kid's area where they can interact with kid-sized gear and trucks, and even a memorial to the firefighters who lost their lives during the attack of 9/11.
My Experience: This museum is a great place to check out. There are lots of exhibits that show the day in the life of a firefighter and educate you on fire safety. This is one of the best museums to take kids, as they had a wonderful and hands-on display for children. Afterwards, you'll walk away educated and in awe of how far we've come as a society in terms of fire safety as well as in awe of our firefighters who have done so much for us.
Tampa Police Museum
Screenshot by the author from Tampa Police Museum
Entrance Fee: Free but donations are welcome
Hours: Sunday Closed, Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Address: 411 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602
Description: The Tampa Police Museum is actually located in the Tampa Police Department headquarters on the first floor. The entrance to the museum is on the west side of the building. Outside the museum is a memorial for police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Inside is another memorial room, but also many exhibits that display things such as wanted posters, firearms, and even a police car. It's a great place to take adults and kids alike.
My Experience: This museum is very cool for those interested in the work of law enforcement. It has a lot of great displays that show past and present uniforms, guns, equipment, cars, etc. This museum also does a great job of explaining how law enforcement work really looks, giving you an inside look at the profession. There are some great places to pay your respects to fallen officers, and I would definitely recommend the memorial outside of the museum.