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

RELOCATED: Mouse Trap Escape Room: Family Fun in Ybor

Looking to try something different while in Ybor? This is perfect!

Mouse Trap Escape Room, 2018

First thing's first, let me apologize about our absence. Our computer crashed and it took me a while to get it back up, then I had to re buy some products I use to make this blog work. We're not back to 100% just yet, but I should be able to get by until we are! But alas, we came here to discuss the Mouse Trap Escape Room! I had gotten wind about this place about a year or so ago. I had never actually experienced an escape room (unless you count last year's Vault of Souls). This would be a whole new experience for me! I started planning to cover this place then. Unfortunately, life got in the way. That wasn't a problem for me on Saturday, however, as Stormy and I made our trip over to the Mouse Trap Escape Room. If you're like me, you want to check this place out, but you're not sure where it's at. Have no fear! I'm here to tell you. If you're driving east on 7th Ave, you make a right onto 14th (by The Bricks) and Mouse Trap will be one block up on your left. They have a sandwich board up, but it's hard to see while driving and the sign they have on the outside of their door is near impossible to spot. Trust me, it is there! But you didn't come here for that.

Treasure, 2018

The room we were in (the Jose Gaspar room) is intended for four people. Stormy and I are only two. Needless to say, we were at a disadvantage from the get go! So, the idea of an escape room is that you're locked inside a room and it's your job to solve the clues and puzzles to eventually get yourself out. The puzzles, riddles, and clues all build on top of each other and the riddles you struggled with originally pale in comparison to the riddles you'll get later in the game. The Jose Gaspar room, while seemingly pretty bare, manages to hide plenty in plain sight. The room has the perfect mix of history, lore, and props to make the experience immersive. Pirates come to life as you try to find Jose Gaspar's treasure before he returns to his ship. Inside the haul of the ship, there are rum bottles, treasure chests, and maps. Once you open the giant skull door, you're home free... Or are you?  Do you know how to read an old timey map of Tampa? Is this book a clue, or merely a distraction? Is that key you just found going to open something new, or is it merely a key to the city? Luckily for us, the team member who locks you in the room can communicate with you through the screen displaying your time and can provide additional clues. While I'd like to say that Stormy and I managed to get out in the allotted time, we did not. We were three clues away. That said, the last clue you needed in order to get the code to get out of the room was very well hidden, and I highly doubt we would have gotten it. 

Skeleton and Rum, 2018

While we didn't make it out (and were caught by Jose Gaspar), the room was a lot of fun. My love of pirates came to life with the historical documents, maps, books, etc thrown around the room. While the room was a lot of fun, the staff also add to this event. I can't state for certain how many staff they do have, the two we met were both personalities and helped add to the overall experience... Which is a good thing considering you do a lot of communicating with them while in the room. The downside to this place comes when there are multiple groups waiting for rooms. There were only two staff members and they had to get each group into their rooms and each group had to go through the introduction, etc. What I'm trying to say is, while you may have an appointment, it might be a few extra minutes prior to getting into your room. Come with some patience. There are little puzzles scattered around the main lobby to keep you entertained until showtime, but I would've also liked to have seen a shop with some t-shirts, drinks, and snacks. It'd not only help them make some extra money, but it'd be fun to go through while waiting for your room or after escaping. You do get an opportunity to sign the wall afterwards, though... Given you can find space. A lot of people have been there here.

Another Room of Theirs, 2018

Overall, it had pirates. I was already going to like it. The clues, while incredibly challenging, kept the room fresh and fun. The theming fit perfectly! If I'm not mistaken, their pricing is $99 a room, up to eight (8) people. I can imagine this place is incredibly popular for birthday parties, Halloween, and other themed events. This is a nice stop to make in Ybor before grabbing something to eat, then hitting the bars and clubs. This is the type of place you come to to feel stupid, and then laugh at yourself with friends. It's one of the more unique offerings that Ybor has and it will keep you entertained for at least an hour. I had a lot of fun, I look forward to going back, and Exploring Tampa is currently in talks with Mouse Trap to do some cool stuff come Halloween! Stay tuned for that.

Wall, 2018

Things to know before you go:
- This is in Ybor. This means that parking is essentially in garages or paid lots.
- It's across 14th St from The Bricks. It's not easy to find.
- The rooms are a lot more challenging than they appear.
- This is fun for the entire family. One of the few places off of 7th I'd feel comfortable sending someone with kids.
- Just go. Seriously, go and have fun! Leave comments letting us know if you made it out!

Do you feel confident that you can make it out? Are you as much of a pirate freak as we are? 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!