If rainy days and Mondays always get you down, I can think of no better place to brush away the blues today than the Tampa Bay History Center, particularly if you’ve got children in tow. Three floors of fun facts and fascinating only-in-Tampa experiences await you and yours in a beautiful building in the heart of all the Channel District/Water Street hubbub, exploring the Florida you may not know much about (in the Crackers and Cowboys exhibit) as well lore more familiar (Cigar City). Right now, I’d say head immediately to the fourth floor, where you can not only dive into the museum’s newest permanent gallery — Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks — you can also catch two new exhibitions, On Track: A History of Florida Railroads (through 9/22) and History by the Pint: Beer and Brewing in Tampa Bay (through 9/29). And for this cartophile (means “fan of maps,” I just looked it up), I can imagine no place better to hang out on a rainy afternoon than the Touchton Map Library, home to thousands of maps, charts, atlases and other cartographic materials. And when it gets time to think about lunch, you could brave the weather and head over to the waterfront’s deservedly popular Sparkman Wharf, with its gourmet chefs serving great grub out of converted container cars, or better yet, just stick around the museum for a meal at the Columbia Cafe, an outpost of the famous Ybor City restaurant serving up local, Cuban-inflected cuisine. A word about the aforementioned hubbub: yes, there’s a lot of construction going on in the Water Street area, so check out the museum’s traffic advisory before you go. Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m., tampabayhistorycenter.org.
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