Nestled on Florida’s west coast in Hillsborough County, Tampa is the state’s third largest city with a population of 335,709 as of the 2010 Census. Some historians dispute the origins of the word “Tampa,” but most believe it means “sticks of fire” in the language of Calusa, a Native American tribe that once lived south of Tampa.
Tampa was first settled in 1824 when the US Army established Fort Brooke at the site of today’s Tampa Convention Center. The village of Tampa began when pioneers settled near the fort for protection of the Seminoles in the area.
The median household income in Tampa from 2005-2009 was estimated to be $44,755. A number of Fortune 1000 companies like Raymond James Financial and TECO Energy call Tampa home, and MacDill Air Force Base is a major employer in the area.
The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and Veteran Expressway bring traffic to and from Tampa, and Interstates 4, 275 and 75 run through the city. Rail service is available through the historic Tampa Union Station, as well as the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The HART bus system’s main hub is the Marion Transit Center in downtown Tampa and serves nearly 30 local and express routes. Tampa’s main airport is Tampa International Airport, while Peter O. Knight Airport, Tampa Executive Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport are nearby.
Public, primary and secondary education in Tampa is operated by the School District of Hillsborough County, ranked as the eighth largest school district in the nation with approximately 190,000 students in 208 schools. 12 of the district’s 25 high schools are included in Newsweek’s list of America’s Best High Schools. The University of South Florida, the University of Tampa and Hillsborough Community College are also in Tampa.
You’ll find yourself on the edge of Africa at Busch Gardens as you experience up-close encounters with amazing animals, a safari across the Serengeti, pulse-pounding roller coasters and live entertainment. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been rated the Best Zoo In America by Parents Magazine, and the Florida Aquarium is recognized as one of the top 10 aquariums in the country. Possibly the most anticipated annual event in Tampa is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a mock pirate invasion. Held since 1904, Gasparilla now draws more than 400,000 spectators.
The Tampa Bay area is home to professional teams in three major sports – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League, the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League. College football’s Outback Bowl is also played on New Year’s Day at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
To learn more about what Tampa, FL has to offer, from cultural and community events to local business and government, visit the official website of the City of Tampa, FL.