One Tank Trip: Ybor City Museum State Park

- Did you know there are only two national historic landmark districts in Florida? One of them is in Ybor City.

Walk through the doors of the Ybor City Museum State Park and it's like you're going back in time. Dozens of exhibits in this 2,000-square-foot museum take us to a time when Ybor City was at the center of the cigar world.

"Tampa was the cigar capital of the world, but the cigar industry started in Ybor City in the late 1920's.  They were making 500 million cigars a year in about 150 factories," said the president and CEO, Chantal Hevia.

Ybor City's rich cultural history can be seen throughout the museum, including the building itself. It was built in the 1920's and was the old Ferlita Bakery -- a staple of the community for almost 75 years. The museum still has the original wood burning ovens.

The tour continues outside in the Mediterranean-style garden.

"There is so much different things you can do out here in the garden.  You can relax and enjoy the beautiful ambiance. You can play games like dominos. People come here to each their lunch.  And most importantly, some people have their weddings," said Hevia.

New this year across the street is the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House.  It was carefully moved here a couple of years ago.  This new addition is a big part of the city's history because as immigrants moved to Ybor they brought with them the love of baseball. It was an important part of their culture. 

The museum is not open to the public yet but will be closer to December.

"The exhibits will include a tremendous number of artifacts from today's players  as well as some from a long time ago," Hevia added.

For under $5 there's a lot to see at the Ybor City Museum State Park, making it a worthwhile One Tank Trip.


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