A Bass Pro Shop is scheduled to open in Tampa on Wednesday, July 29.
The store’s doors will open shortly after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m.The new store, which is located at 10501 Palm River Rd. in Tampa near Brandon, is the company’s 10th store in Florida.
Bass Pro Shops are customized for their region and are often considered to be part museum, art gallery, antique store and aquarium. Area artifacts, antiques, period pictures, state record wildlife moutns and memorabilia will be on display at the news store, according to a news release.
The store will also feature an 11,000 -gallon freshwater aquarium which will be home to largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, hybrid striped bass, chain pickerel, longnose gar, Florida gar, bowfin and channel catfish. The aquarium is constructed to look like a sinkhole with water pouring into it and is surrounded by various wildlife mounts and exhibits including wild boar, a black bear, and white-tailed deer. A mural near the aquarium portrays white-tailed deer jumping through the Hillsborough River.
Hand-painted murals wrap the store’s interior and depict familiar scenes of the region. One gets the sense of traveling through west Florida’s landscape as the murals transport the viewer through a series of panoramic vistas.
The lobby is designed to resemble an old Florida trophy room, and features native fish and wildlife mounts from Florida and species from other areas of North America. The King of Bucks display, a collection of world record white-tailed deer mounts, will include the James Stovall buck that was taken in Green Swamp not far from Tampa. Vintage photographs and antique artifacts highlight the area’s original sportsmen and women.
Other murals and exhibits throughout the store include:
- A diorama in the clerestory (area near the high, overhead windows) main aisle shows an offshore fishing scene with dolphins and other pelagic fish in the Gulf of Mexico.
- The clerestory murals and dioramas transition into shore fishing scenes with tarpon and kingfish; mangrove estuaries with snook, redfish, spotted sea trout and other inshore fish; and culminate in the pine forests with palmettos, oak trees, cabbage palms, Osceola turkeys, black bear, and a Florida panther.
- “Uncle Buck’s Bait Shack” –a building that replicates an old Florida stilt shack—sets above the footwear department. Set on a cypress tree- filled lake, a vintage 1982 Bass Tracker fishing boat hangs suspended next to the building and appears to float on the lake.
- The fishing department mural represents the Little Manatee River in its freshwater beginnings and its transition to saltwater where it ends in Tampa Bay.
- The hunting counter will display white-tailed deer, coyotes, and a diorama of two wild hogs battling. The mural behind the counter is of the Green Swamp.
- The mural in the marine department is of an old nautical map with two areas of Tampa Bay represented.
The store will also be home to the Islamorada Fish Company restaurant, which began in 1948 as a marina snack bar in the Florida Keys. The 8,000-square-foot restaurant will serve fresh seafood and steak entrees.