The Current

Sunday Mornings 6:00am

TAMPA, FL (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

I’m a proud Tampa native. Born at St. Joe’s. The Christmas Eve dinner menu for our family is always: a pork roast, black beans and rice, plantains…True Tampa.

I was excited to check out this list that was recently put together by Mental Floss: 25 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Tampa. I put myself to the test.

Because I’m a Tampa sports junkie, I actually knew most of the fun sports facts:

~The Tampa Bay Lightning got the name from our lightning storms.

~It took the Bucs 25 years to return a kickoff for a TD.

~Babe Ruth hit his longest home run in Tampa Bay during an exhibition game.

Yep. I knew all those fun facts. And I also knew the weather stats, like the fact that we’ve never hit 100 degrees in Tampa. (We got close on Friday…99. Whew!) I knew all the questions about pirates, Rough Riders, Cuban history, port history, MacDill Airforce Base, Big Cat Rescue. (Well, everyone knows about Big Cat Rescue now, whether you do or don’t live in Florida.) Overall, I scored myself 19 out of 25. Not bad, but could be better for someone born and raised.

Here are the fun facts I did NOT know about Tampa. And boy are they interesting.

1. Tampa is a Calusa phrase that means “Sticks of Fire.”

2. The Salvador Dali Museum (not actually in Tampa) was built years ago, and to test the strength of the cool freestanding staircase, rugby players (two teams of them) danced on the stairs while listening to disco music.

3. Tampa was thought of as the death metal capital of the music world in the eighties.

4. Tampa was one of the top sellers of illegal liquor across the nation during the Prohibition years.

5. In 1914, the world’s first scheduled passenger flight was from St. Petersburg to Tampa.

6. Tickets were only $5 roundtrip!

You can test your Tampa knowledge here.

#GenoAteTampa: Geno’s pizza tour of Tampa Bay

Let me show you around Detroit, New York City and Chicago… without leaving Hillsborough and Pinellas County.