Monday, December 9, 2019

Sunshine Skyway Bridge’s New Light Display

St. Petersburg Fl
Photo Essay
By author/contributor: Robert Neff

In August 2019, a light display was added to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. From dusk until dawn seven days a week, over 1,800 LED lights illuminate the Skyway’s 1.7 miles of columns and both sides the bridge deck.  

The shows or animated routines are organized by themes. There is “Patriotic,” “Sunset,” “Verdant Green,” “Waves and Water”” and “Purple Majestic.” For Breast Cancer Awareness Month the bridge was pink. For Veterans Day, the bridge was red, white and blue.

The light display is now a tourist attraction. This is not only an exciting moment for cruise ship passengers passing under the bridge and vehicular traffic crossing the bridge, but for anyone who wants to enjoy the view from the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. 

There are two fishing piers, the north and south. The approaches to the old bridge were converted into fishing piers. On Interstate 275, look for the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park signage. The respective rest areas and fishing piers use the same exit. Follow the signs for the fishing pier. 

There is an entrance fee to sightsee or fish. Be sure to let the attendant know you are there to enjoy the light display. The fee to sightsee for an hour is $3.21. If you are fishing, the fee is more. This includes a fishing license and 24-hour pass that is good for both the north and south fishing pier. If you have a Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass, there is a discount.

The Tampa Bay side of the South Rest Area has great views. To reach the Tampa Bay views from the north side, exit the North Rest Area’s ramp but turn right at the ramp’s stop sign. Pass the gate and park along the road to enjoy the light display on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You may want to bring a pair of binoculars to get a closer view.

If you check the Port Tampa Bay cruise schedule, you can plan your visit to watch a cruise ship pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Once the cruise ship leaves the port, takes approximately two hours to arrive at the bridge. 

In the above photograph, Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas is passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Passengers on the ship's bow can be seen enjoying the spectacular view.

Photography: ©2019 Robert Neff. All rights Reserved

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