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Tampa/St. Petersburg Pop Culture

Tampa Bay is no Hollywood—it’s not even South Beach—but it does have some history in books and movies. Ron Howard’s Cocoon was shot here, along with scenes from The Punisher, Ocean’s Eleven, A Time To Kill and Edward Scissorhands. The scene from Goodfellas where they threaten to drop a guy into the lion pit was filmed at the Lowry Park Zoo. Going back a bit further, the 1953 thriller Beneath the 12-Mile Reef depicted the golden era of sponge diving in Tarpon Springs. Author Randy Wayne White’s Tampa Burn is a more recent take on the region; the 11th book in his Doc Ford series has some nice details about the area. Tim Dorsey, a former reporter for the Tampa Tribune, did a fine job of covering the high-society Gasparilla high jinks in his novel Florida Roadkill, and he’s produced nearly a dozen Tampa-centric tomes since, including Atomic Lobster, Cadillac Beach and Hurricane Punch.