POINTS OF INTEREST
1) Tarpon Springs Sponge Dock
2) Pier 60, Clearwater Beach
3) Clearwater Marine Science Center
4) Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
5) The Pier, St. Petersburg
6) Sunken Gardens
7) Safety Harbor Museum
8) Air Museum
9) Heritage Park
10) Great Explorations
11) Museum of Fine Arts
12) Salvador Dali Museum
13) St. Petersburg Historical Museum
14) Admiral Cruise boat
15) Europa Cruise boat
16) Starlite Princess Paddle Wheel Cruises
17) Countryside Mall
18) Clearwater Mall
19) Sunshine Mall
20) Bay Area Outlet Mall
21) Seminole Mall
22) Pinellas Square Mall
23) Tyrone Square Mall
24) Ruth Eckerd Hall
25) Bayfront Center
26) Florida Suncoast Dome
27) Eckerd College
28) University of South Florida,
St. Petersburg campus
29) St. Petersburg Junior College, Clearwater campus
30) St. Petersburg Junior College, St. Petersburg campus
31) The Coliseum
From Tarpon Springs to Fort De Soto, Pinellas County's 28 miles of beaches lure locals as well as tourists. The beaches in southern Pinellas County are heavily developed, with plenty of public access and some public parking. North of Clearwater Beach, the beachfront becomes less developed. Of note are Caladesi Island State Park, Honeymoon Island State Park, and Anclote Key. Caladesi, which you can get to only by boat, has two miles of undeveloped beach. To get there, you can take a ferry from Dunedin. Honeymoon Island has more than 10,000 feet of beachfront with dune walkovers and group facilities. Anclote Key is an undeveloped state recreation area three miles off the Tarpon Springs mainland in the Gulf of Mexico. The 3,000-foot-long beach is accessible only by boat.
1) Tarpon Springs Sponge Dock, along Dodecanese Blvd. west of Alt. U.S. 19, is made up of authentic commercial sponging operations. There also are shrimp boats, rental boat rides up the Anclote River, fishing trips and many retail shops selling souvenirs, gifts, clothing and other specialty items in the area. Parking lots are plentiful. Authentic Greek restaurants. Walking tours of historic Tarpon Springs, including the sponge docks, are available through the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center. The Coral Sea Aquarium and gift shop, which are new at the docks, as well as the gallery, offer exhibits and performances. Call 942-5605.
2) Pier 60, on Clearwater Beach at the west end of the Memorial Causeway, is a well-known fishing spot, but anyone can walk out as far as the bait shop without paying admission to the fishing area. It's a great place to watch sunsets or sailboats or enjoy an ice cream cone. Nearby are shops that sell beach-related items such as swimsuits, sunglasses and beach towels. City parking lots are adjacent.
3) Clearwater Marine Science Center, 249 Windward Passage, Island Estates, Clearwater, is a marine museum involved in captive breeding of endangered sea turtles, coastal research, rescue/rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals and turtles, and educational programs. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Admission: $3, $1.75 for children 3-11. Call 447-0980 or 441-1790.
4) Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, 18328 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores, is a hospital dedicated to the rescue, repair, recuperation and release of sick and injured wild birds. Hours: 9 a.m.-dusk daily, with wild-bird educational programs scheduled at 2 p.m. the first Sunday of each month. Guided tours: 2 p.m. Wed. and Sun. Admission: Free. Call 391-6211.
5) The Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, is a half-mile long. At the end of The Pier is a five-story inverted pyramid-like building that houses specialty shops, restaurants, an observation deck and an aquarium. In addition, there is a miniature golf course, water sport rentals and catwalk fishing. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. The restaurants are open until 10 p.m. and the lounges until 1 a.m. Valet parking is available and a free trolley service shuttles visitors between the parking areas ($1) and The Pier. Phone: 821-6164 (Pier); 895-7437 (aquarium).
6) Sunken Gardens, 1825 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg, features seven acres of tropical fruits, flowers and trees; walk-through aviary; tropical birds and animals; "Pirate Parrot" bird shows daily. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission: $6.95, $4 children 3-11; 896-3187.
7) Safety Harbor Museum of History and Fine Art, 329 S Bayshore Blvd., Safety Harbor, has dioramas and artifacts of the Safety Harbor area; prehistoric through aboriginal Indians, pioneers and Civil War. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 1-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Admission: $1, 50 cents for students, free for children under 12; 726-1668.
8) Air Museum, 16055 Fairchild Drive, Clearwater, features a collection of restored military aircraft. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues., Thurs. and Sat., 1 to 5 p.m. Sun. Admission: $2 for adults, 50 cents for children under 16; 535-9007.
9) Heritage Park, 11909 125th St. N, Largo, is a 21-acre park with 19 historical structures that reflect the turn-of-the-century lifestyles of Pinellas pioneers. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. Admission: free, donations accepted; 462-3474.
10) Great Explorations, 1120 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg, a hands-on museum with exhibits that include the pitch-black Touch Tunnel 2. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun. Admission: $5, $4.50 ages 66 and older, $4 ages 4-17, under 4 admitted free; 821-8885.
11) Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, has permanent collections that include ancient, Asian, American, pre-Columbian and European art; Jacobean and Georgian period rooms; Steuben crystal collection. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. Guided tours at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 2 p.m. Sat. and Sun. Admission: $4 suggested donation; 896-2667.
12) Salvador Dali Museum, 1000 Third St. S, St. Petersburg, features art from permanent collection. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat., noon-5:30 p.m. Sun-Mon. Admission: $5, $3.50 students and senior citizens (ages 62 and older), free children 9 and under; Call 823-3767.
13) St. Petersburg Historical Museum,(Reopens January), 335 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, has continuing exhibits of St. Petersburg history. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. Admission $4 adults, $3 senior citizens, $1.50 ages 7-17. Free six and under. Closed for renovations until January. Free on first Sunday of each month; 894-1052.
14) Admiral Cruise Boat, Clearwater Beach Marina at 25 Causeway Blvd., 462-2628 or (800) 444-4814. Dinner-dance cruises from 7-10 p.m. Tues.-Fri., $8.95 plus price of dinner ($8.95-$11.95), 7-10:30 p.m. Sat., $9.95. Sightseeing and bird-feeding cruises are scheduled from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tues. and Thurs., $5.75, $3.50 for children ages 4-12. Luncheon cruises are scheduled noon-2 p.m. Wed., Fri. and Sat., $4.50, $6.50, plus the cost of lunch ($5.25 to $6.75).
15) Europa Cruise docks at John's Pass in Madeira Beach, Fort Meyers and St. Petersburg Pier. The half-day cruises feature live entertainment, dancing and a casino. There are day and evening cruises and reggae brunch cruise on Sun. Cruises start at $39.95; Call 393-5110 in Pinellas or (800) 688-7529.
16) Starlite Princess Paddle Wheel Cruises, Hamlin's Landing, Indian Rocks Beach, 595-1212. Luncheon/sightseeing cruises cost $7.25, $4.90 children 2-12 (lunch additional, from $6.75-$7.95). A luncheon/dance cruise is available for $9.80, $7.25 children 2-12, (lunch is additional) and a dinner/dance cruise for $10.75 per person (dinners $10.95-$17.95) Also available is a six-hour Sunshine Skyway cruise, $33.75, includes breakfast and lunch. Call for complete schedules.
17) Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater
18) Clearwater Mall, 20505 U.S. 19, Clearwater
19) Sunshine Mall, 1200 S Missouri Ave., Clearwater
20) Bay Area Outlet Mall, 15579 U.S. 19 Boulevard, Largo
21) Seminole Mall, Park Boulevard and 113th Street, Seminole
22) Pinellas Square Mall, 7200 U.S. 19 N, Pinellas Park
23) Tyrone Square Mall, 6901 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg
24) Ruth Eckerd, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater; 854-1538 (Hillsborough), 791-7060 (Pinellas). This concert hall has a seasonal schedule that includes Broadway shows, international orchestras, dance companies, popular music, theater, children's programs, comedy and variety shows.
25) Bayfront Center, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg; 892-5798. The center includes an arena that seats 8,100 and the Mahaffey Theater, which seats 2,000. Typical offerings include family programs, conventions, concerts, orchestras, dance companies and trade shows.
26) Suncoast Dome, One Stadium Drive (16th St. S), St. Petersburg; 825-3100. Sporting events, concerts and trade shows are typical fare at the dome.
31) The Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg; 892-5202. Dances with music from ballroom to country and sock-hops are this dance venue's usual fare. Available for rental.
Pinellas County has three institutions of higher learning: 27) Eckerd College, a four-year private liberal arts college; 28) A branch of the University of South Florida; and St. Petersburg Junior College, a two-year college with campuses in 29) St. Petersburg and 30) Clearwater.