Tampa Bay's rainy season has arrived.
If you're feeling a little soggy, step inside the dry and inviting walls of one of these Tampa Bay spots:
MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry: While away an afternoon in the IMAX Dome movie theater and the planetarium, then roam the exhibits for Kids in Charge, built a robot or experience the cooling breezes of the hurricane simulator. The new driverless car will transport you to around the lobby in comfort.
Glazer Children's Museum: Downtown's sprawling children's museum has three floors of activities to keep the whole family busy and dry. The enormous water table on the ground floor lets the kids do hands-on exploring; the climbing maze gets them to the second floor while having an adventure. Let them spent the day pretending to be firefighters, veterinarians, Publix workers, airplane engineers, construction workers, and much more. Visit the third floor through September to explore the world of the Wizard of Oz.
Tampa Museum of Art: Next to the Glazer, you'll find Tampa Bay's floating jewel box filled with artistic treasures. The modern museum currently hosts a traveling exhibit featuring the works of pop art founder Andy Warhol. It also has its own collection of art ranging from ancient Greek to thoroughly modern. The museum's 46-foot-deep overhang creates a great outdoor space where you can sit and watch the rain fall while staying high and dry. The museum is home to Sono Cafe, which has al fresco seating under the building's overhang -- a shady spot where you can catch a breeze and avoid the liquid sunshine. After sunset, the museum itself comes to life with a shimmering light display: "Sky (Tampa)" by artist Leo Villareal.
Tampa Bay History Center: 12,000 years of Tampa Bay history waits for you under one roof. Explore the roots of the unconquered Seminoles along with the industry that gave the Cigar City its nickname. Upstairs, you'll learn that about Tampa Bay's contribution to cowboy culture and to U.S. military history. Hands-on exhibits bring the region's deep history and diverse culture to life.
Florida Aquarium: The only things that are wet here are the fish. Pondering the denizens of the deep blue sea will help you forget the rain outside the Florida Aquarium. Discover Florida's watery environment, from springs and swamps to mangroves and the open bay and see 20,000 sea creatures along the way. Touch a horseshoe crab. Get your picture taken with a shark. Or when the rain does let up, don your swim gear and conquer the aquarium's outdoor water park, Explore A Shore, and get wet with a purpose.
Tampa Theatre: Lose yourself in another time when you settle into your seat at downtown's historic movie palace, built in 1926. The ornate plaster work, the balcony and the giant organ make this landmark a Tampa Bay treasure. Check out their regular offerings as well as their Summer Classics series for a way to beat the rain and enjoy a great piece of cinema at the same time.
Still itching to get outside? Get soaked on purpose at Tampa Bay's outdoor attractions and a little rain makes no difference.
Busch Gardens Tampa/Adventure Island: Lets just get this out of the way: Both parks are great places to visit even on a rainy day. Just beware: the rides close temporarily if lightning is near. Go whipping along on Cheetah Hunt or get soaked as your raft sluices through the Colossal Curl. But night time offers an entirely different view of both parks. During Summer Nights, which starts this weekend, Busch Gardens stays open until midnight with rides, shows, concerts and activities all under the night sky. Island Nights, which is already running, lets you enjoy the water park until 9 p.m.
Tampa Riverwalk: When the weather breaks, downtown's signature destination takes on a whole new light -- especially after the sun goes down. Colored lights add dimension to the Riverwalk, along with downtown's bridges (lit by "Agua Luces," an art installation from 2012), the minarets of Plant Hall, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and the Tampa Museum of Art. And if it does rain, well that's what an umbrella is for.
Ybor City: Pull up a chair at one of the restaurants lining Seventh Avenue for dinner. Tampa Bay's historic Latin district has plenty of places to eat, drink and watch the rain fall. Try a craft beer at Coppertail Brewing Co. or sip a cider at Cigar City Cider & Mead.
Tampa Bay's got so many ways to beat the heat, you'll probably break a sweat trying to do them all!