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More things you probably didn't know about Tampa Bay

Did you know that when dragonflies mate, their tails form the shape of a heart? Ok, that's a random bit of information, but since it's so close to Valentine's Day, I couldn't help but sing about it. And I'm not wearing a bathing suit, so I'm doing nothing illegal. Erm...yeah, I found out that in Sarasota, it is illegal to sing while wearing a bathing suit, and unmarried Florida women who parachute on Sundays may be jailed. LOL.

Tampa Bay aerial view
Maria Rabinky Wikimedia Commons

There are tons more things you probably didn't know, including these fun facts about our beloved Tampa Bay:

Tampa is Florida'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.

Portions of motion pictures including Blood sport, China Moon, Cocoon, Edward Scissorhands, Lethal Weapon III, My Girl, Wilder Napalm, Sneakers, Parent Trap II, Once Upon A Time In America, Forever Mine and Oceans 11 were filmed in the Bay Area.

Bern's Steak House in Tampa has the largest working wine cellar in the world.

The first Florida brewery, the Florida Brewing Company, was built in Tampa in 1897

Famous rhythm and blues singer and pianist Ray Charles began his career playing dance-hall gigs in Tampa.

Plant City, the "Winter Strawberry Capital of the World," holds the Guinness record for the world's largest strawberry shortcake. The 104-by-8-foot, 6,000-pound cake contained over 100,000 strawberries, 450 pounds of sugar and 600 pounds of whipped topping.

According to Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Tampa is home to the "world's smallest park" - Snow Park.

I got scads of great material from this Mental_Floss post: 25 Things you probably didn't know about Tampa

Their favorite facts about the Big Guava:

  • When it comes to sports, the city is no stranger to futility. It took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 years to return a kickoff for a touchdown.
  • Babe Ruth hit his longest home run during an exhibition game in Tampa—it sailed 587 feet.
  • The Salvador Dali Museum in nearby St. Petersburg is an incredible place. To test the strength of its freestanding staircase, two rugby teams danced on it—to disco. Dali would have been proud.
  • During Prohibition, Tampa was one of the top sellers of illegal liquor in the country.
  • In the 1980s, the city moved on to other hobbies. It was widely considered the death metal capital of the music world.
  • Tampa’s number one export? Phosphate.
  • Farmers love Tampa because all that phosphate is invaluable for fertilizer production.
  • Although back in the day, it was probably cigars—it’s still known as the “Cigar City.”
  • In 1929, the factory at Ybor City rolled approximately 500 million stogies!
  • It can get hot in Florida, but the temperature in Tampa has never hit 100 degrees.
  • Still, it’s nice to stay cool. In 1851, Tampa native John Gorrie invented the first mechanical refrigeration system—paving the way for air conditioning.
  • The delicious Cuban sandwich? Not Cuban. It was likely invented in Tampa.
  • The world’s first scheduled passenger flight flew from St. Pete to Tampa in 1914. -Tickets cost $5!
  • Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base may be the second most important government building outside of the Pentagon. It’s home to U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. action in the Middle East.

Read the rest of them here: 25 Things you probably didn't know about Tampa.

More things you probably didn't know about Tampa Bay:

Tampa Bay is the largest open-water estuary in Florida, encompassing nearly 400 square miles and bordering three counties -- Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas. The bay's sprawling watershed covers a land area nearly five times as large, at 2,200 square miles.

More than 100 tributaries flow into Tampa Bay, including dozens of meandering, brackish-water creeks and four major rivers -- the Hillsborough, Alafia, Manatee and Little Manatee.

On average, Tampa Bay is only 12 feet deep. Because it is so shallow, manmade shipping channels have been dredged to allow large ships safe passage to the Port of Tampa and other bay harbors. The largest of these, the main shipping channel, is 43 feet deep and 40 miles long. - Read more from fast facts about Tampa here.

Or visit the official website of the City of Tampa, FL.

More Tampa Bay facts here.