• Last modified 497 days ago (Dec. 7, 2022)


"We're not in Kansas anymore"

Staff writer

Parrots, pink flamingos and pirates, oh my!

My mother, Virginia, and I are part of a contingency of 95 Tampa residents invited to enjoy Tampa, Florida, on that city’s and Southwest Airlines’s dime.

Our group was up at 3 a.m. Monday to meet buses that would take us to Kansas City for our flights to the other Tampa.

We were split into two groups, and our flight departed at 10 a.m. We had two layovers but didn’t have to change planes in Austin or Houston. We arrived at Tampa Bay right at sunset.

The second group left at 10:30 a.m. Monday with a direct flight to Florida. We’ll be switching things up for the return flight.

Southwest employees welcomed us to Tampa Bay with sunflowers and signs such as “There’s no place like Tampa.” They passed out swag bags with Southwest socks and other goodies.

Tampa’s mayor greeted us warmly Monday evening, and we enjoyed drinks and food.

We spent Tuesday going to Busch Gardens, where we saw flamingos and parrots, and enjoyed Tampa Riverwalk.

We plan to spend part of Wednesday at the Tampa Zoo and have passes to activities at Tampa Riverwalk.

Tampa news crews have followed everywhere we’ve gone.

Everybody is having fun, and the kids on our trip have been troupers.

Last modified Dec. 7, 2022