Do you believe in fairy tales?

Why are these fairytale characters sitting on the grounds of a cool contemporary restaurant in Tampa? I had to find out. I vaguely remember hearing stories about going to Fairyland when we were visiting the grandparents in the Tampa bay area back in the 60’s. My dad had taken a few pictures of us when we were there. I was a toddler so I don’t remember being there. The original Fairyland Park was at Lowry Park which sat next to the zoo. It closed in the early 90’s and was torn down but some of the characters were stored in a warehouse in Tampa and forgotten. The owner of the restaurant (who also owns the famous Columbia Restaurant) grew up going to the park and when he found out there were characters that had been saved and stored, he was able to buy them and have them restored. It’s a little piece of Tampa history that was saved from oblivion.  Story of the characters being restored here.

A picture above of the original park taken from the Tampapix website. 

Above are some of the statues from the restaurant. The bust is of Princess Ulele, who the restaurant is named after. She lived in the Tampa Bay area in the 1500’s.

We wanted to get out on Thanksgiving morning for a walk before stuffing ourselves so we headed to downtown Tampa to walk along the water.

My Corner of the World

Across the Hillsborough river

Shots taken while on my walk along the river front in downtown Tampa in July. The above shows the University of Tampa. The main building was originally the Tampa Bay Hotel that opened in 1891 by Henry B Plant (the railroad magnate).

Looking over to Bayshore Boulevard and out towards the bay.

Lots of rowing going on this morning.  Kayakers, paddleboarders and members of the Dragon Boat Rowing club were all out on the water.

A different view at the convention center.

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Being a tourist in my hometown.

In July, I decided to take a break from walking around in the parks and headed to downtown Tampa to take a walk along the riverfront. I headed out early since it was going to be a hot day. Not many people out that early.  Just me and a few joggers when I first got there. The downside is that the sun was behind the buildings so it made sunny shots a challenge. The upside was that I was walking in the shade for the first part.

Along the Tampa convention center.

Lots of activities on the water. You can rent boats of all sizes or take a water taxi around the area.

The old Cass street bridge that was built in 1926.  Everyone is wondering when they are going to tear it down. It adds a bit of history to the area even if it’s an eyesore.

When I got back to Riverwalk Park, they had turned on the water fountain. I really wanted to walk through there.

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More from downtown Tampa

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One last post from my walk along Riverwalk in downtown Tampa on Thanksgiving weekend.  The white tent with the Bucs sign is the ice skating ring, set up for the holidays. The orange and yellow trimmed building is the Children’s Museum.

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Across the river is the University of Tampa. The main building was the former Tampa Bay Hotel built by Henry B Plant and was finished in 1891.

Able to leap tall buildings

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Okay, so they’re not that tall. And there’s not that many of them. A view of downtown Tampa from the river.

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The Rivergate Tower, nicknamed the Beer Can building” is the 6th tallest building in Tampa. It sits right on the river.

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A view of south Tampa.

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New tall buildings behind the museum.

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The Marriott hotel sits right on the water.

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The history center has a great view of the water and south Tampa.

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A reminder to stay out of the lakes and ponds in Tampa.

More pictures from our afternoon walk along Riverwalk in downtown Tampa.

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Being a tourist in your own hometown.

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The view of Harbour Island from Riverwalk.  We sat outside and had lunch nearby.

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Vultures on top of the Arena where the Lightning hockey team plays.

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A cruise ship docked nearby.

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A view of Tampa from Riverwalk.

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Looking across the water at Harbour Island, Davis Island and south Tampa, it was a busy Sunday afternoon. The weather had finally cooled off and everyone was out having fun.

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Tampa General Hospital across the water.

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One of the most popular dogs of the afternoon.  I’m not sure what kind of dog this is but he looked bigger than a great dane.  He was very well-behaved and everyone was taking his picture.

The weekend before Thanksgiving was perfect. High of 65 degrees. We headed out to have lunch outside and then walked the Riverwalk path in downtown Tampa. The walking path is wide and runs from the port of Tampa to the museum across from the University of Tampa. There are stores, restaurants and lots of activities along the way. It was packed with people, tourist visiting, locals walking their dogs, jogging, biking and getting on boats. If you want to be outside in a downtown area, this is the place to be.

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