Gasparilla Guide 2023: Everything You Need To Know

  I t's that time of year! Gasparilla season. The pirates have taken over.  Me and another pirate, 2017 Another year has come and that means it's time for another season of Gasparilla. Lets get some of the more important questions out of the way real quick: How much does it cost? Nothing. Gasparilla is a free event. They do offer paid upgrades, but the parade itself is free. Where is it? The Children's parade and Day parade are off of Bayshore Ave in South Tampa into the Channel District in Downtown Tampa. The Knight Parade is on 7th Ave in Ybor City. Where do we park? I've found that the easiest place to park is the parking garages in Ybor. They offer parking + a bus into Downtown for a reasonable price (note: This has not been announced for 2023 as of now. This will change as the event draws nearer.).  You can also park on neighborhood streets. You'll get a few individuals who will try to scare you away. Keep in mind that they do not own the road and you are free

Chamber of Terror: A Haunting on the Hillsborough River

Warning: Graphic content ahead. Reader discretion is advised.

 Chamber of Terror, 2017

It's that time of year again! Time for all the local haunts to start kicking it up. And when it comes to local haunts, none are better than Courtney McIntyre. Chamber of Terror started as a home haunt until the city forced McIntyre's hand and he took his haunt professional in 2015. Last year he secured a deal where he was able to put his haunt on the S.S. American Victory, a World War II era battleship. Stormy and I first heard of the Chamber of Terror a year before McIntyre went professional. At the time, we weren't able to go. We later went on to form Exploring Tampa on the YouTube and Chamber of Terror became one of our most watched videos. People love Chamber of Terror, Exploring Tampa loves Chamber of Terror, and you will love Chamber of Terror also! Lets get to it.

Yes, this one, 2017

This year, Captain Berwick returns from the dead to lead his former crew, hellbent on torturing the living, into battle against the mortal world. Was that a scream? Whose body is this? What's that smell? Are all questions you'll be asking yourself. You'll encounter dead crew members, zombies, cannibals, and the captain himself in Florida's only nautical haunt! And watch out for the doctor... Their experiments are killer. Prepare yourself! The crew has been dead for quite a while... And they're hungry.

Yes, the house is killer!, 2017

Lets get this out of the way first and foremost: This house is in an old WWII ship. There are a lot of stairs and random steps thrown in. You need to be very careful with where you step. On the bright side, you can skip leg day after this house! For the few shortcomings that I noticed last year, McIntyre seemed to up the ante on this year. The sets are more detailed, the props help compliment the feel and flow of the house, and the open deck doesn't feel as open as it truly is, which I can only imagine is the biggest challenge to the ship concept. The actors are all very passionate about their respective roles and the scenes come alive when you enter them.

Need a tour guide?, 2017

While the ship provides some challenges, such as narrow halls and unexpected steps, the actual structure gives off a creepy vibe before you throw actors into the mix. If the walls of this ship could talk, they'd scream. Or maybe that's just the sound of the people in front of you. The crew corridors create an interesting array of hiding spaces for the actors and the common corridors create an even more interesting space for scenes and scares. Keep an eye out in the kitchen. And I'm bringing all of this to you as someone who has yet to see the full house (by the time this is posted, the whole house should be open). I can't imagine what lurks in the halls and rooms that we didn't see.

Join us?, 2017

We at Exploring Tampa have always considered McIntyre the Picasso of the haunt world, painting vivid haunted scenes together with his tool belt. This year is no different. The scares are as organic as they come. Around every corner lurks a new crew member. Are they coming for you? In typical Chamber of Terror, the hallways are all incredibly dark with the little light that is there adding to the ambiance. Some of the house rely solely on the ship to create the scene, whereas some rooms have been built up. The beginning scene of the house was put together beautifully, with one of the former crew members leading you to safety in the upper decks on the ship. The first few rooms set the tone for the house instantly and the scares tend to get more frequent as you go along. We weren't given access to the end of the house, so we can't comment on that just yet. We look forward to seeing it, though!

 A survivor, 2017

Things you should know before you go:
- We would personally put this house at 13+.
- The ship is incredibly hot. Wear something in preparation.
- The hallways are incredibly tight and there are a lot of stairs and random steps. Watch where you're going!
- Have fun! This is a haunted house, not a death chamber. You're meant to enjoy the experience. 

Did you do Chamber of Terror last year? Are you looking forward to seeing what's new this year? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. If you'd like to meet other people who love Tampa, consider joining our Facebook Group. Thank you all and I will see you next time!