Tarpon Springs is about 10 miles north of Clearwater, on the Gulf Coast. If you’re in the Clearwater/St. Pete’s area for a while and feel the need for a little half-day trip, this might just be the place. The sponge docks are the main focus, and the main drag is a Greek community reminiscent of Greektown here in Toronto, only with easier parking 😉 The town was essentially built by Greek immigrants that brought the tradition of diving for sponges to the bountiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This tiny town is one of the biggest sponge industries in the world.
My father-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephews are here. It’s a pretty sweet deal to have a place to stay when you head South, but staying at someone’s place with a baby – when they don’t have a baby – is not easy. This time around it was a bit better as she no longer needs a crib or a high chair, but a quick sweep and relocation of various delicate glass ornaments was a necessary bit of prep work! I’m pretty sure nothing was broken or ruined – which is in itself a feat!
We headed down to the docks for lunch one day, and decided to make a quick trip to the Tarpon Springs Aquarium. It’s tiny, but they have shark and alligator feedings throughout the day. After the gloss and sheen of Disney, it was a bit refreshing to visit an attraction that was a little rustic, but no less fascinating. In fact, you feel closer to the marine life in this little place than you would at a big, fancy, attraction…
You can pet and feed stingrays (decidedly less formal than the Stingray Bay exhibit at The Toronto Zoo this past summer) as well as feed bits of shrimp to baby sharks off of a long stick. They have 2 big gators, a big giant turtle, various snakes, eels, lobsters, and the requisite (albeit small) clownfish and coral tank.
We had a great time!