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Tourism

Tourism

Webster’s definition of retirement certainly doesn’t apply at Sun City Center.

By definition, retirement is “withdrawal from one’s occupation; withdrawal into seclusion.” Well, Sun City Center residents may have retired from their occupations, but they certainly haven’t withdrawn into seclusion.

As a matter of fact, many would probably tell you that they are more active now than they ever have been. In part, this is thanks to all the recreational opportunities that Sun City Center offers its residents and its convenient access to just about anywhere in central Florida.

For starters, those who are new to the area will probably hear from the Hi Neighbor Club, an organization established by developer Del Webb back in 1962. This group is the official welcoming committee for all newcomers.

There are now more than 200 clubs and organizations readily available — from crafts, service and support, athletics and various special interests. The area is also home to many local branches of national and international civic and fraternal organizations — such as the Kiwanis, Lions, Elks, VFW, Masonic, Knights of Columbus, Rotary and numerous retirement associations (including AARP).

If you have an interest in computers, you’ll find a club dedicated to this technology. Like to play cards? You’ll find a club that specializes in poker, bridge and more. Love to get out and tend to your yard? You’ll find a garden club with members who share your passion. There are even clubs named after the state from which people relocated — such as the Wisconsin Club, Pennsylvania Club, Ohio Club and more. There are also ethnic clubs — including Italian-American, Jewish, Polish and Panhellenic.

Enjoy being active in sports? Then look no further than clubs devoted to swimming, golf, tennis, volleyball, aerobics, walking, lawn bowling, fishing and more.

Enjoy watching sports? It’s a quick trip to watch the home games of professional teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Super Bowl champions in 2003), the Tampa Bay Rays and the Tampa Bay Lightning (Stanley Cup winners in 2004).

Living in Florida’s climate affords its residents numerous beautiful beaches, and the Sun City Center area is no exception. With more than 300 days of summery weather, there’s always plenty of time to enjoy the mix of sand and water.

And with this balmy weather comes a fervor for golf. Approximately one-third of the residents are active golfers, and they can find all the challenges they desire at the more than 160 holes of golf in Sun City Center, which is also home to the internationally known Ben Sutton School of Golf. In addition, there are numerous beautiful courses in neighboring towns.

Outdoor recreation is plentiful at the Little Manatee State Recreation Area, about four miles south of Sun City Center. This parcel of land (which totals more than 1,600 acres) includes campsites, picnic areas, shelters with grills, canoe launching areas, fishing, horseback riding and a hiking trail. Simmons County Park is also nearby and includes beautiful bayside beaches, swimming, fishing piers, picnic pavilions and boat ramps.

The Tampa Electric Company Manatee/Tidal Flats Walk provides visitors with an opportunity to walk along a boardwalk through the tidal flats, see wild manatees and learn more through the environmental education center. Beautiful vessels also await those who would like to gaze up at the stars on an evening cruise along the inland waterways near Tampa. These cruise ships also provide dinner, entertainment and lunchtime trips.

Thoroughbred horses run at Florida Downs from January through March, and greyhound racing takes place at Tampa Greyhound Racing and Derby Lanes in St. Petersburg from January to June.

There are dozens of entertainment and cultural activities available in Sun City Center, as well as within a 50-mile radius of the community. Stage and screen entertainment is featured at the Kings Point Borini Theater and Sun City Center Community Association Rollins Theater, and there are locally produced theater presentations, art festivals, concerts and museums within commuting distance.

Fairs and festivals are a celebration of the area’s culture, heritage, history and lifestyle. These events include the Strawberry Festival, the Seafood and Arts Festival, Guavaween, the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion, the Yacht Club Boat Parade and a state fair.

The Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce presents outstanding events each year. In the spring, there is a trade show, which showcases exhibits by chamber members. The fabulous Business Expo takes place in the fall and our Chamber Cup Classic Golf Tournament is every May.

At our trade shows and expos, you can get various free exams. A bloodmobile is on the premises, food and drink are available and an antique appraiser will tell you what Aunt Maybell’s tea set is worth. Some 4,000-plus visitors come to these events. In early December, the world-renowned golf cart parade is held, which the Chamber last sponsored in 2003. The 2002 parade set a record of 191 carts attested to by a certificate from Guinness World Records. The 2003 parade had 306 carts ... another world record!

Cultural activities are available at the Tampa Museum of Art, Florida International Museum, Henry B. Plant Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Salvador Dali Museum, Buckley Moss Museum and Florida Aquarium. The Straz Center provides music lovers with live performances, Broadway shows and more. The Tampa Bay and Southshore Symphonies have been called marvelous community resources.

Sun City Center residents are also within a two-hour drive of many world-class attractions — including Disney World, Epcot Center, MGM Studios, the Kennedy Space Center, Busch Gardens and Universal Studios. It’s also a short distance to visit the Channelside District, Bok Tower Gardens, Discovery Cove, the Lowry Park Zoo, Silver Springs, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary and the Pier-St. Petersburg.

All of these opportunities help to keep Sun City Center one of the most active communities in the world.

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