MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB

Vet Clinic on MacDill AFB!

September 01, 2014 By: Laura Category: Pets

Can Moving Day Be Less Stressful?

If you are getting ready to PCS to MacDill AFB and you have a pet, one your biggest concerns is where to find a veterinarian! There are a lot of good vets out in town, but the MacDill Vet Clinic may be the first place to stop at.

You can get reasonably priced care for your family’s cats and dogs at the Vet Clinic on MacDill AFB! They do not do any major surgery, but they do provide a basic care at very reasonable prices. The clinic provides immunizations, heartworm testing, microchipping and outpatient treatment for some diseases.

If you are ready to move with your pet, then you might want to check out an article on MilitaryByOwner on “Moving with Four-Legged Family Members“.

The Clinic carries items such as Flea & Tick control, Heart-worm prevention, shampoos, tartar control chews, vitamins, and prescription medications.

Services are by appointment only, so call 828-3558. The clinic is located at 7804 Blackbird St, Bldg 936, just behind the Exchange Mall.

A Military I.D. is required for all services!

If you are unable to care for your pet or are looking for a pet, then there are two location facilities that you could consider as a option. C.A.R.E. in Ruskin is a no-kill facility that takes in pets and offers them up for adoption. Dogs on Deployment is available to help out active duty service members who must deploy and need help with care for their pets.

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More Labor Day Weekend Fun!

August 29, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, News

This weekend is an opportunity to get out enjoy the last traditional weekend of the summer! It’s a little different in Tampa, because school has already started and the best weather of the year is just a few weeks away. No snow, but great outdoor weather will soon be here! And there still a lot of great things to do here.


Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays

  • The Tampa Bay Rays start a 4-game series against the Boston Red Sox tonight.  The first pitch is at 7:10pm and Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.  Go Rays!
  • Tonight at MOSI admission is $5 after 6pm for the “After Dark and Food Truck Rally”.
  • On Saturday, the Capitol Theater in downtown Clearwater will show two classic disaster movies from the 70′s “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno”.  Start time is 7pm.
  • This is also the last weekend for active duty military families to take advantage of the Blue Star Initiative for free admission to various museums.
  • All weekend long is the Tarpon Spring Docks Arts and Crafts Festival with plant, food and of course Arts and Crafts.
  • On Sunday after 5pm, the Florida Aquarium is offering $15 admission!

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Labor Day Weekend Fun

August 28, 2014 By: Laura Category: Dining, Events, Things to do


Labor Day weekend is here and for most of us that means a three-day weekend to enjoy. How will you relax this weekend? Do you have a fun event planned? If not here are few ideas to get you out of the house:

  • Light The Night Labor Day celebration. You can enjoy a lighted boat parade starting at  followed  by fireworks from Channelside Bay Plaza starting at 8:45pm. Live entertainment along with food trucks can be found at The Sail Pavilion next to the Tampa Convention Center. Fun begins at 6:00pm on Sunday August 31st.
  • GeckoFest in Gulfport.  Take the short drive over to Gulfport and celebrate the town’s unofficial mascot, the Gecko. Live entertainment, food and over 200 vendors will be in attendance. You won’t want to miss the Gecko walking  parade. Dressing in costume is encouraged!! Event takes place Saturday August 30th from 10:00am until 10:00pm.
  • The Florida’s Largest Home Show will take place from Friday August 29th until Sept 1st at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Go and check out the over 900 exhibits.
  • NEON XTREME The World’s Largest Glow Party! Sunday August 31st at the Fairgrounds Amphitheater . This glowing event takes place from 9:00pm until 3:00am.
  • And another of home show is being  held at the Tampa Convention Center. The Tampa Home & Garden Show will be held from August 29th until August 31st.

You also might want to try one of the three new restaurants in the MacDill AFB/Tampa Bay area:

  • Max  & Chz located at 117  S. Hyde Park Ave. If you love macaroni and cheese then you will love this menu! The Taco sounds so good!!
  • Graffiti Junktion a burger joint recently opened near USF in Temple Terrace. You can get a burger or a great salad. This fun restaurant is located at 11401 n 56th Street.
  • Ulele recently opened on the Tampa Bay Riverwalk. The menu features “native-inspired” dished made with locally grown food. The Ulele is one of many businesses popping up in the reviving Tampa Heights area.

Lots of fun and interesting things to do this weekend. The weather looks great for this Labor Day weekend so enjoy and relax. Please enjoy the weekend safely and always have a designated driver for both your driving and water adventures.

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MacDill AFB Base Gate Construction

August 27, 2014 By: Laura Category: News

MacDill AFB gate-courtesy of de. wilkipedia

Have you experienced a long wait coming on to MacDill AFB? Part of it is due to having to scan ID cards, but part is due to gate capacity. Well base officials are hoping the new construction projects going on in the are will fix the capacity problems. You have probably already seen the orange cones at the Dale Mabry gate but look for projects at all the gates including the Tanker gate.  This construction is scheduled to be completed in November 2014. Here is what is going on:

  • Tanker gate will have an additional incoming traffic lane added. This will also allow for a vehicle rejection straight on to Manhattan Boulevard.
  • The Bayshore gate will extend Zemke Ave to connect to Bayshore Boulevard. Bollard will be place at CENTCOM Avenue .
  • The Dale Mabry gate will see new traffic calming measures to slow allowing for and extended reaction time should a threat arise at the gate.

For more information on this construction and any road closures that might occur keep an eye on the MacDill AFB website. I will try and share any information I may see here and on our MacDill Happenings Facebook page. If you have any information you would like to share please share it here with us on the blog or share it on the Facebook page. How about sending us a Tweet at @MacDillHappenin .

On a side note if you are new to the area and a first time reader of this blog you might want to check out this post: Newcomer. Also if you have an event or a subject you would like to see on the blog please let us know here in the comments section or message me on the Facebook page.

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Tips For Being A Landlord

August 26, 2014 By: Laura Category: Self Improvement

rental sign courtesy of mennard

For some of us becoming a landlord happens by accident. We buy a home and then suddenly we are faced with military orders to another installation or we need move because of a job relocation. For others being a landlord is an occupation. Whether you are an “accidental” landlord or a “professional” landlord you need to make sure you are doing everything right to get your property rented. Here are some tips to help you out. These tips come from an article I read at MSN Real Estate and some from first hand experience with renting my own home and working with members.

  • Update your home-make sure the home is up to code and is healthy and safe for your tenants. Make sure all required smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors are in place. Check with your local code officials.
  • Make sure the property is clean-to me this is just a respect issue if the home is clean and well kept hopefully the new tenants will keep it that way.
  • Check the laws for your state regarding painting and new carpeting. Some states require new carpet and paint after each tenant.
  • Change your home’s status-inform the mortgage company that the property is now being used as a rental.
  • Update the homeowner’s insurance on the property-you will now need landlord property insurance specifically designed for rental properties.
  • Deciding on how much to charge for rent. If you are renting in the military community you will want to know what the local BAH is and start from their. Looking at what other properties in your neighborhood is also a great way to determine rent. For example you can go to and use the advanced search feature and use your zip code to see what home are listed near you and what they are renting for.
  • Make sure you are using an up to date lease agreement. Many changes have occurred in the last few years regarding lease especially when it comes to renting to active duty and veterans. A great source for legal lease documents can be found at US Legal Forms.
  • Do your homework! Research is key. A great resource for information on being a landlord or finding a Property Manager can be found on the resource page of

Congratulations your are a landlord!! Now to get that property rented. If you own a property in the MacDill AFB or Tampa Bay area you may want to check out the products has to help you get your home rented.

Also, if you have any tips or suggestion on being a landlord please share them with us here on the blog or on our MacDill Happenings Facebook page. Maybe you can be my next guest blogger!!

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How To Unpack Like A Pro

August 25, 2014 By: Laura Category: Self Improvement

 moving truck courtesyof4x4trucktrailers



Summer is coming to an end and the military PCS season should be winding down. I have seen on social media sites that a lot of military families are still on the move. For most of us who have moved quite often we have the planning for the move thing down, but  we seem to forget to plan for the unpacking stage!

It took three days for us to be packed up and loaded on the truck but it only took 7 hours for the truck to be unloaded. Luckily I do have a little bit of a plan when it comes to unpacking.  Here are a few tips I use:

  • Have boxes that you will not need immediately stored in the garage etc..
  • Get the washer and dryer going. After traveling and not having my things nothing makes me happier than clean sheets and towels!!
  • Decide which room you will unpack first and set a goal to finish that room in a specific time frame.
  • Before the movers come make sure you have basic items to help with the unpacking. For example shelf paper, hammer, screw driver etc..
  • I actually set up the bathroom first; put up a shower curtain liner (until shower curtain is found) put out towels and soap. After a hard day of unpacking or traveling a hot shower or bath is the best.
  • Break the unpacking process down into easy chunks. For example plan to have the kitchen done and unpacked on the first day.
  • Let the movers set up the beds. Hopefully you have made sure the linen box was marked well so you can get the beds made.
  • Let the spouse and kids help! You can always go back and organize it to your liking but at least it is out of the box.

Check out some more great tips at Another great source to get you motivated in your unpacking adventure is an article by Karina staff writer for in her article 3 tips for Finding Post-PCS Unpacking Motivation she shares a great incentive to get the packing done- an unpacking celebration dinner! Our blog is filled with useful ideas for moving and unpacking.

Do you have some great unpacking tips you would like to share? Then please leave a comment here on the blog or share with us on our MacDill Happenings Facebook page. You can also send us a Tweet at @MacDill Happenin.

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Traveling Via A Space “Hop”

August 24, 2014 By: Laura Category: News, Things to do

MacDill AFB Pax terminal courtesy of MacDILL AFB

Space-A Travel


It is Summer Vacation time and we are all trying to think of ways to save money on our vacation travels. Well if you are an active duty military member or retired a retired military member, then choosing to take a “hop” on a Military flight is a great way to save. This so called “hop” is actually taking advantage of space available on Military transport flights. In the MacDill AFB area, we have a unique opportunity to catch a flight from MacDill or even driving up to NAS  Jacksonville to  try out a Space-A “hop”.

Check out these great articles by our staff writer Monica who at this moment is enjoying England and Ireland via a Space-A flight.

“Space-A Adventure”

“Space A Travel-Tips for Traveling Overseas”

“Space A Travel-Getting On a Flight”

For information on the MacDill AFB Passenger terminal and flights available you can go to MACDILL or to FACEBOOK  which will actually give you information on other Passenger Terminals in the area.

So with this money saving tip, there is no excuse to get out there and have a great Summer vacation!  If you have any tips on using Space-A, please share them with us here or on our Facebook page.

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Things to do in Tampa Bay

August 22, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Dining, Events, News, Things to do

Courtesy of the Plant Museum
Lots of fun things happening this weekend August 23rd and 24th. For most of us in the MacDill AFB area it was back to school this week so some school shopping might be in order. Or maybe you just want to enjoy some family time enjoying the Tampa Bay area. Here are some great events going on:

  • Saturday is the Tailgate Taste Festival in downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park. Purchase wristbands for $25 to take a taste of area restaurants best tailgating food. Get ready for football season with everything from chicken to sliders to ribs with entertainment, and family fun. The event opens at 11am with a live video showing of the Tampa Bay Bucs taking on the Buffalo Bills at 4:30pm.
  • This is the second to last weekend of the Blue Star Museum initiative for active duty military members and their families. MOSI and the Henry B Plant Museum are participating along with several St. Pete museums.
  • Saturday evening at Al Lang Park in downtown St. Pete, the Tampa Bay Rowdies professional soccer team take on the Carolina Railhawks at 7:30pm. It’s also $2 hotdog night!
  • On Sunday at 3pm, the Tampa Theatre will play the 1926 silent movie “The Black Pirate”. This classic movies stars Douglas Fairbanks in the lead and will be accompanied by music from the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ just like when it was originally released.
  • If you want to play golf this weekend, the Bay Palms Golf Complex on MacDill AFB is offering a $5 discount off of green fees if your driver’s license has a Brandon, Riverview, Valrico or Lithia address. This offer is good during August.

Speaking of golf have you checked out the great listing of golf course homes on This site can also help you find homes near the beach or with a pool.

Have a great time this weekend and please share with us any fun events you are going to attend. Share them here in the comments section or on our MacDill Happenings Facebook page. You can also Tweet at us at @MacDillHappenin.


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Food Truck Rally at MacDill AFB

August 21, 2014 By: Laura Category: Dining, Events, Things to do


MacDill AFB will host a Food Truck Rally today August 21st and Friday August 22nd.

Take your lunch break and enjoy some great food from either the Wicked Wiches, Slow and Low Barbeque or Buddy Brew Coffee.

The trucks will be in the parking lot of the Diner’s Reef Club form 11:00am until 2:00pm.

The menu’s include barbeque sandwiches , gourmet burgers, Cantina bowls, Tacos and a variety of drinks including iced coffee’s and latte’s. For more information you can call 813-828-3055.

This sounds like such a delicious event that I may have to stop by and try it!! If you have a favorite Food Truck in the Tampa Bay area leave us a comment or share it with us on our Facebook page.

Also, don’t forget it is Thursday so that means free movie night at the MacDill AFB theater. Tonight you can see “Rio 2″. The movie starts at 5:30. You can bring in your own snacks and beverages but please clean up after yourselves when you leave.

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The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportuntiy For Military Children

August 20, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, News, Schools


Yesterday marked the first day of school for many children in the MacDill AFB and Tampa Bay area. For a lot of our military children this may have meant the first day in yet another new school. A lot of these students have already started at a new school 5 to 6 times. This can be especially challenging for our middle and high school students who need to meet a certain criteria to graduate. Thankfully the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission was formed to address some of these issues.

The Commission’s goal is to help school districts maintain policies that would help military children with the transition from one school to another. Policies such as placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation requirements are addressed in the Compact. Military children of active duty members, National Guard and Reservist on active duty orders and service members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year can gain assistance under the  Compact.

I recently spoke with Karen who serves as the Deputy Director of Government Relations (Military Family Issues) for MOAA. I asked Karen why this Compact is so important to our military families and her response was “This is a great win for military children! On average a military child will attend 6 to 8 different schools between the grades of kindergarten through 12th grade. These highly mobile military children need legislation that helps level the playing field for seamless transition. We are so pleased to see that all 50 states are now participating with the compact. But, now parents must do their homework and read the legislation and understand who is covered and what is covered. As a parent if you come up against a situation this legislation would cover make sure you armed with the right tools so you can effectively advocate for your children.” If you would like to read more on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children take a look at Karen’s blog on the this subject. Her blog shares more details of why this legislation is so important to our youngest heroes.

Another great resource when moving to a new school with a military child is your school liaison office. Nelly Richards is the liaison officer for MacDill AFB. She will be able to help you with information on the Compact and how it works with Hillsborough Public Schools.

Tips to Enroll in Hillsborough County Public Schools” is another great resource for information on schools in the MacDill AFB area.

Karen and I have both experienced moving a high school student to a new a school in fact my youngest son attended 3 high schools in 4 years. I was lucky enough to not have to use any of the guarantees the Compact protects. Please share with us your experiences and how moving to a new school has impacted your child’s education.

You can comment here on the blog page or leave a comment on the MacDill Happenings  Facebook page.

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