A Big Flamingo Friend Is Coming to the Tampa International Airport

Main Terminal Station at Tampa International Airport, Florida U.S.A. - Photo by PeterTitmuss/Shutterstock.com

There’s a very big flamingo coming to Tampa soon.

What state do you associate most with flamingos? Your answer is probably Florida, and for good reason. Florida is pretty much the only place in the United States where you have any realistic hope of coming across a flamingo in the wild, and the state fully embraces its tropical side.

The open arms Florida feels for the flamingo will be on full display shortly - a giant flamingo sculpture is set to be unveiled in the Tampa International Airport (TPA) in spring of this year.

Tampa International Airport Welcomes Massive Flamingo Sculpture

The Main Terminal of the airport will have a massive greeter for those visiting or coming home to Tampa. A 21-foot pink flamingo that will stretch from floor to ceiling will show a flamingo dipping its head underwater to signify one of the most iconic actions the beautiful bird often takes. The cost has been quoted at $520,000.

Called “HOME,” this piece of art will finally start life in the airport this year after it was originally announced in March 2020 with a November 2020 unveiling date. Then the pandemic pushed the release of the sculpture back to the spring of 2021 at first, then continued to move it back until its current release date.

The flamingo sculpture is part of a large art push the Tampa International Airport is embracing. It has commissioned nine different artists to help beautify the airport, and the goal is to showcase things that are uniquely Florida - a giant flamingo only felt right.

“I like to think that people really notice and enjoy all the artwork,” Kelly Figley, TPA’s public art program manager, told FOX13 News in November. “Traveling through the airport is busy. We’re coming up on our busiest time of year and I think that the artwork really gives us an opportunity to pause for a moment and take a look at something beautiful and interesting.”

Matthew Mazzotta is the artist responsible for the work, and his sculpture’s name is derived from his goal: connecting travelers to an epicenter of ecological life, which we humans call Florida.

“The idea of ‘home’ in Florida is not only for people, it is also home for the abundance of wildlife that lives here as well,” his website reads. “‘HOME’ is a site-specific art installation in the Central Terminal of the Tampa International Airport which gives time and space for travelers from all over the world to take a deeper look at the bird whose image is literally all over Florida. However, the story of HOME is not about whether someone or something is originally from here or not. The exaggerated scale of the flamingos in HOME puts the lives of these birds in the focus, and puts us, as humans, in awe as they tower above us, reminding us that we all share the same home.”

So, if you happen to travel to or from Tampa later this year or in the future and have some extra time, go take a walk to the Central Terminal and experience this larger-than-life piece of art dedicated to the most beautiful bird located in one of the many homes our favorite fowl holds across the globe.