When Tampa became a professional sports city in the 1970s, nearby St. Petersburg wanted a piece of the action. The city thus began working on designs for a multi-purpose stadium and baseball park that might attract a Major League Baseball team. In 1986, construction began on Tropicana Field, originally called the Florida Suncoast Dome
Many people don't know that officials hoped to entice the Chicago White Sox to move to Florida. The White Sox never left Illinois, but the Tropicana Stadium has become one of the country's most desirable stadiums, attracting millions of visitors each year.
The Journey of a Multi-Use Stadium
When the stadium was finished in 1990 it had no hometown tenets. There were tons of prospective teams, ranging from the Seattle Mariners to the San Francisco Giants. However, the first home team was actually the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm, and then the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning. This shift from baseball to other sports prompted a rename to the Thunderdome. But when Major League Baseball team the Devil Rays finally took root in the stadium, it underwent several massive changes and was renamed the Tropicana Field in 1996. It now serves primarily as a baseball stadium and host stadium for St. Petersburg's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, a highly attended college football bowl game sanctioned by the NCAA.
Attractions at Tropicana Field
In 2006, Tropicana Field uniquely partnered with the Florida Aquarium to open the Rays Tank- making it the only professional sports facility in the world to feature live cowrose rays. This 10,000 gallon tank contains over 30 rays that visitors can touch and feed. Admission is free, but proceeds from the "ray food" goes to the Florida Aquarium and the promotion of local Florida marine life.
The Tropicana Field also has an excellent carnival addition. Located on the Right Field Street, this Rays Baseball Carnival includes a number of popular kid-friendly attractions, including enticing games like Ring Toss and Tip-a-Jug, the Raymond's Art Studio, and a Rookie Challenge batting cage and pitching arena. Families also can enjoy picnic-style seating near the Papa John's Bullpen.
On Center Field Street, visitors can wander a mix of specialty restaurants, bars, and the exciting Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall-of-Fame. These museum attractions feature memorable player displays and exciting Major League Baseball memorabilia.
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