Whether you’ve lived in the Tampa Bay area all your life, or you’ve just moved here from “up North,” chances are a little bit of the Tampa Bay lifestyle is rubbing off on your kids. So, from collecting Gasparilla treasures to qualifying as Walt Disney World experts, here are 10 signs your little ones are truly Tampa Bay kids.
10. They root for our sports teams, but they have a back-up.
From the Buccaneers to the Lightning to the Rays, Tampa Bay sports fans have known the joy of victory, but a whole lot of agony of defeat. Since our teams can be a bit inconsistent, Tampa Bay kids choose a team to cheer for in addition to the home team. For me in the ’80s, it was the San Francisco 49ers. Now, my little Tampa native is a Miami Dolphins fan.
9. They’ve ridden a streetcar to Ybor City. Also, they know how to pronounce “Ybor City.”
The TECO Line Streetcar System is part transportation and part attraction. Certainly, an afternoon at the Florida Aquarium followed by a ride on the little yellow cars to Ybor (that’s EE-bor) for a popsicle is a very Tampa way to spend the day.
8. They can name all four bridges over Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay kids know our bridges are the Courtney Campbell Causeway (we’ll accept “the Causeway,”); the Howard Frankland (kudos if they know it’s “Frankland” and not “Franklin”); the Gandy; and the Sunshine Skyway.
7. They have a favorite shortcake booth at the Strawberry Festival.
The annual Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City offers up berries galore, with multiple spots to get your shortcake fix. Since each booth is a little different, strawberry aficionados head straight for their favorite. (Check out this post to see ours.)
6. They count the seconds between hearing thunder and seeing lightning.
Living in the lightning capital of the U.S., Tampa Bay kids need to know how to stay safe from a strike. Accordingly, they learn to count the seconds in between the thunder and lightning to figure out how close it is. Too close together, and it’s time to get inside, pronto.
5. They could be tour guides at Walt Disney World.
Spending nearly every weekend at Walt Disney World means Tampa Bay kids can tell you the best places to eat, attractions to ride, and characters to meet. Bonus points if they call employees of every grocery store, mall, restaurant, and office you visit “Cast Members.” (My son actually does this.)
4. They’ve taken a school field trip to MOSI, the Florida Aquarium, or the Tampa Theater.
3. They have a Publix bag full of Gasparilla beads.
Kids love pirates, and the lucky Tampa Bay kids get to meet some every winter. That’s when the Gasparilla pirates invade our fair city, leaving a trail of plastic beads and coins in their wake. In fact, just one visit to the Gasparilla Children’s Parade is enough to net a bagful of treasure that your kids will stash away like – well, pirates.
2. They look forward to “hurricane days.”
You had snow days up North – we have hurricane days in Florida. Of course, we all hope a hurricane doesn’t actually hit us, but school boards will cancel if it looks like a storm might threaten the area. Consequently, to Tampa Bay kids, all that means is NO SCHOOL!
1. They have no idea what seasons are.
It’s been said Florida seasons are hurricane season, lovebug season, football season, and summer. However, the ones you knew up North are foreign concepts to your little Floridians. You may have moved here to escape the cold, but your kids really have no idea what that means. After all, Florida kids of all ages know that anything below 70 degrees is cold!