The Henry Plant Museum in Tampa lets visitors stroll through time to the turn of the twentieth century, Victorian lifestyles, and an era known as the Gilded Age. Originally, the museum was the old Tampa Bay Hotel, built in 1891 by Henry B. Plant, who was in the business of building railroads, steamships, and hotels throughout the area.
During the Spanish-American War, Tampa was the official port for troops heading to Cuba, and the old Tampa Bay Hotel was the headquarters for army officers and generals planning their campaigns on the veranda. Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders trained nearby.
There are two types of tours at the Henry B Plant Museum. The self-guided tour provides a brochure detailing the rooms, or a hand-held audio device is available for a small additional charge. Guided tours are available Tuesday through Friday at 1 pm, and reservations are not required for the tours.
The rooms visitors will tour at the Henry B Plant Museum include the Grand Hall, Writing & Reading Room, Garden Room, Parlor Suite, and the Women & Their Pastimes room. Numerous sculptures from France originally decorated the hotel, and one of those pieces, the Spinning Girl, still resides at the Plant Museum.
The annual Victorian Christmas Stroll adds an extra historic dimension, as visitors touring the rooms will see each one decorated with trees decked out in turn-of-the-century themes. The stroll takes place December 1 through December 23, and it's worth adding to your list of Tampa attractions if you're considering when to go to the city.
The Henry Plant Museum in Tampa is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and on Sunday from noon to 4 pm. The Plant Museum is closed Mondays January through November, and on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas day. A small donation from January to November is the admission price to tour the museum. If you're looking for other things to do in the city, consider checking out some of the other museums or historic areas such as Ybor City—you're sure to learn a lot about Tampa history.