So Long, September Attempt at Five to Try, Part II

When I last wrote, I had shared a little bit about two of my Five to Try experiences for the month and now we move on to what I expected to be my most intriguing and scaaaaary experience of the month. I would be wrong about that.

 Five to Try for September #3 – Historic Tampa Ghost Tour

 Let’s put it out there right now. I don’t believe in ghosts. I don’t believe in spirits, actually. But I am fascinated with history. I do believe in theater. And I was completely willing, open and ready for a night of spooky speculation that might question my beliefs.

Well, I didn’t actually get that.

Thankfully, the weather was BEAUTIFUL. Remember when we experienced our first cold front in September and how gorgeous that weekend was as autumn weather made an unexpected arrival about six weeks early? That was the weekend we went on this nighttime outdoor trot through downtown Tampa as the infamous Ghost Tour of Tampa began.

Our guide, her name escapes me now – that’s how memorable she ways – forewarned us of a few basic rules and tenets of the tour.

There would be no indoor sightseeing (which took the wind out of my sails since I thought we might get a chance to return to Tampa Theatre but step inside and see it in a new light…), the guide was NOT responsible for our safety (aha, typical attraction CYA announcement – got it!) and she shared with each of her trusting guests that oh, by the way, she liked to walk through intersections against the light.

I thought it was interesting that she led with the I’m-not-responsible-for-your-safety disclaimer and then proceeded to announce that she would be putting our lives in danger for the rest of the evening.

The ghost tour was less spooky and more a matter-of-fact delivery of accounts throughout history that reported ghost sightings or weird out-of-the-ordinary experiences. It would have made low-key theater veteran Hal Holbrook proud. But there were no theatrics whatsoever, and this to me was a little disappointing. I thought perhaps our guide might camp it up a little – after all, she had a Stevie Nicks vibe going on with the dark, draping garb.

But alas, she had nothing that exciting to say and even less exciting a delivery to say it. I’ve heard the St. Pete tour is a bit more lively and interesting. Certainly our Tampa history is quite vivid and intriguing and after starting near the outside of Tampa Theatre, we made stops in front of UT…ooh aah…

…in Curtis Hixon Park along the Riverwalk, Lykes Gaslight Square Park, and then traveled our way over to this lovely little place.


Spooky trees, huh?

Anyway, our guide was nice enough, but for me, it just wasn’t the eerie experience I was expecting. But I say if the weather’s nice and you like history, go and enjoy, but do not expect anything animated or spooooky or even a little bit creepy. Just some old legends, a looooooong stroll (ours lasted nearly 2 hours) through downtown streets,  and some serious jaywalking! As my brilliant husband so poignantly pointed out, the scariest part of the tour is crossing the intersections against the light. And let me tell you: in downtown Tampa on a Friday night, that can be pretty scary…

I will say this: the adventure does make me want to try out something similar the next time I visit another big city with plenty of history. Our good friends who joined us suggested places like Boston or Philadelphia might be particularly interesting – and I completely agree! Certainly New Orleans is known for its colorful Graveyard Tours which I’ve never gone on before but I’m sure are more interesting than this, too.

I’m not telling you to not go on the tour, because I really believe you should know everything there is to know about the city where you live, but just know what you’re getting before you go so you’re not disappointed.

And wear comfortable walking shoes.

Five to Try that I Tried to Try for September #4 and #5 – Grass Roots Organic Restaurant and The Glazer Children’s Museum

 So you’ll notice my heading implies that I don’t have any others to report on for September. That’s because I don’t.

You see I had plans to go to both of these places this month and even went so far as to show up at the first location, but here’s what happened.

Grass Roots Organic Restaurant officially closed their dining doors – at both locations – and now offers only catering services. (Leaving me in the dust with my Half Off Depot gift certificate for $20 of food for $10, I suppose…lucky me.) So that plan of trying a new vegetarian establishment in the area fell through for September.

 Then there’s the Glazer Museum and this one, I wasn’t happy about. I always love to try any new museum in the town where I live, and that includes a children’s museum. I want to see what all of these big sponsorships and donations create, I want to see what the area’s children are learning and how they’re learning it, I want to enjoy beautiful architecture and design, I want to explore the child in myself because no matter how old I become, I’ll always see that same gawky 12-year-old in the mirror. And  I also wanted to see if maybe it might be the kind of place that my grandson might enjoy but to see if it would be worth it beforehand.

 So my hubby and I planned to take advantage of a special the museum was running in September in honor of its first birthday but for a limited time. Five dollars admission for anybody through a particular day…until we learned something.

 Unless you have a kid with you, adults can’t go to the children’s museum.

 HUH? Say that again…

 Here’s the link to those “rules” at the Children’s Museum. Read RULE #1.

Now, I understand in this world of more kiddie porn and pervs running among us than ever before (at least that we know of now), that you might not want child molesters loitering at the local kids’ museum which is why I assume this rule was established. But tell me this: can’t you require folks without kids to show a photo ID of some kind like their driver’s license so you have on record who was at your museum? And don’t folks without little kids who may want to go possibly have friends with kids or grandkids they may want to bring back at another time? Or heck, maybe they even have MONEY they could potentially donate to your museum…do you REALLY want to exclude anybody from coming just because they’re childless?

Aren’t there other ways that a museum could enforce and regulate who comes in than simply not allowing folks to patronize a place because they arrive without being equipped with children?

Can you imagine Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo or MOSI not allowing adults in the door? Granted, they may have other activities and exhibits to appeal to people of all ages, but just imagine if you couldn’t pop in to the zoo or the aquarium for that matter because you didn’t have a child with you. How silly would that be? Honestly, it doesn’t even sound like the most savvy business decision for that matter.

Okay, I’m done with my rant.

So Grass Roots, I’m sorry that I didn’t get to meet ya. I’d heard plenty of great things about you, but I guess we’ll never know if they were 100 percent true.

And Glazer Museum, such is life. I guess I won’t be seeing you anytime soon, either.

And thankfully, with October here and this beautiful weather already here to accompany it, there will be plenty of new things to try (and let’s also hope that they either haven’t closed up yet or prohibit me from going…)


 Now get your own fanny out there and try something new this week… a new restaurant, a new museum, a new recipe, a new hobby…give it a go! You’ll be amazed at what you learn and what you can share with others, too.

1 Comment

  1. Jenni McKay

    As someone who’s been there, Glazer IS fun for the kiddos if you want to give it a try with children in tow.

    And add 2 more to the Pasco Democrat tally, though we are moving back to Pinellas soon. 🙂

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