MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB

Mac”Thrill”ville Haunted House Tonight!

October 17, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events

Scary Halloween

You don’t have to go to far tonight for a good scare!  MacDill AFB has its own haunted house, the Mac”Thrill”ville Haunted House is open for business this evening.  Unlike those haunted houses out in town, you can get scared for free. The haunting starts at 5pm and runs until 8pm.  The haunted house will be at Bldg 65 which is across the street from the Bay Palms Golf Complex.  There will be plenty of parking.  This is a free event and is open to everyone.  The house isn’t too scary so little children should be okay with the house.  It’s a place to have fun!  There will also be a children’s activity and crafts area!

If you do want to see what is available out in town, then you have some great options.

      • Zoo Boo at Lowry Park Zoo runs from Friday to Sunday.  It’s $18 for adults and $14 for children ages 3-11.
      • Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens is great place for a scare!  Tickets run from $65 to $50.
      • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World starts at 7pm this weekend.
      • Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios offers some great thrills!

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Things to Do in Tampa Bay

October 16, 2014 By: Laura Category: Concerts, Events, Pets, Things to do

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

The weather has started to cool down and it looks like there is no rain in the forecast.  Looks like a great time to get and see the sights and event in Tampa Bay!

  • The Clearwater Jazz Festival starts today and runs through the weekend.  This is one of the biggest Jazz events in the country with some of the biggest names in music.
  • On Friday,  the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is having a Pumpkin Patch for Dogs. You can bring your pets for photos among pumpkins, gourds and Halloween decorations.  It’s free.  You only pay for the cost of pumpkin if you want to take one home.  Proceeds from the pumpkin sales support homeless pets.
  • Hyde Park Village in south Tampa has a pumpkin patch that open all week at various times.
  • On Friday, Tampa Theatre starts its 15 nights of fright during as part of their A Nightmare on Franklin Street Series with a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • On Friday night and Saturday afternoon, Collective Soles in New Tampa will present their first mixed repertory concert of the 2014-2015 season titled, Unmasked, to celebrate the Halloween season.
  • On Saturday, take a ride on the streetcars during the TECO Streetcar Fest with rides only costing a quarter from 10am to 1:30pm.
  • On Sunday, the Tampa Bay History Museum will host “A Night at the Museum: Family Trick or Treat” from 4pm to 7pm.
  • On Sunday evening at 7pm, River Tower Park in Seminole Heights will be the location of the Florida Orchestra’s Pops in the Park. It’s free, so bring some chairs and dinner and enjoy the music.

Hope you enjoy the weekend! Share with us any fun events you are hosting this weekend.

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5 Money Saving Tips

October 14, 2014 By: Laura Category: News, Self Improvement, Things to do

piggy_bank courtesy of takeiteasyinlife

With the Holiday season just around the corner you may be looking at ways to save a little cash. I recently saw a few articles on tips on saving money and came up with a few of my own that apply to those of us living here in the MacDill AFB area. I was also inspired by recent articles posted on the blog. One article discussed how to learn to  save with the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program. My niece actually took a class on this subject.  Here is my take on saving a combination on several sources;

  1. Eat at home.  I used to budget my grocery bill around a 7-day a week menu. I soon realized I needed to rethink that and budget in my dinners out. I also try to find restaurants who offer a military discount or a kids eat free deal. PDQ has recently started offering a military discount on the first Monday of every month.
  2. Shop wisely. Look for stores that offer a military discount, senior citizen discount or any discount that might apply. For example I believe Joanne’s and Micheal’s both offer teacher discounts. Old Navy, American Eagle, Lowe’s and Home Depot are just a few of the stores that offer military discounts. Ask everywhere you go what discounts are offered. Use the commissary, this is a great place for your bulk items, cereals, meats and canned goods. Use your local produce markets for produce.
  3. Watch the thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great way to keep utility bills down.
  4. Prepare a budget. While preparing your budget be realistic. Don’t tighten your purse strings so tight you do not have any money to enjoy a night out etc.. One tip I saw is pick two days a week that you  would not spend any money. No Starbucks Tuesdays could be a possibility.
  5. Educate yourself. See what courses are offered on base, through your work place, community college or your church.

What tips do you use to save money?  Do you have a favorite restaurant or store that offers a military discount? I would love for you to share you ideas here on the blog or on our Facebook page.

If you are saving money to buy a home take a look at all the great home has listed in the MacDill AFB area.

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Use Your VA Home Loan to Buy a House!

October 13, 2014 By: Laura Category: News

sold courtesyofactiverain

A VA home loan is one of the best benefits that a veteran or as an active duty service member is entitled to use.  The VA doesn’t provide the mortgage but they guarantee a portion of the loan so that the lender can provide you with more favorable terms.

With a VA home loan, you can purchase a house without a down payment. There is not a private mortgage insurance premium requirement. There is a limit to the amount you can be charged for closing costs. Closing costs may be paid by the seller. The lender can’t charge you a penalty fee if you pay the loan off early. You don’t have to be a first-time buyer and you can reuse the benefit. And the loan is assumable as long as the person assuming the loan qualifies.

Your real estate agent will work with you on using a VA loan. With the large number of veterans and active duty service members in the Tampa Bay area, you will find many real estate agents and mortgage brokers experienced in using VA loans. There may be a little more paperwork involved with a VA loan, but not having to put any money down is too good to pass up.

This article by a guest blogger on the MilitaryByOwner website will provide more info on VA loans.

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Hockey and a Movie in Tampa

October 12, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Sports


Courtesy of the Tampa Theater

Columbus Day is a Federal holiday, but kids still have to go to school on Monday.  But parents if you have the day off there are some things that you can go to during the school day or even wait and take the kids. Later in the week, take in a free movie.

If you’re a golfer, then during the day would be a prefect time to play a few holes of golf at MacDill AFB’s Bay Palms Golf Complex.  Don’t forget about the excellent Fairway Grill for a great breakfast or lunch.

If you want wait until after school, then the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Montreal Canadians at 7:30pm at Amalie Arena in the Channelside District. The ticket special tonight is the Bolts BBQ Package which includes your choice of 2 Promenade (lower level) or 2 Terrace (upper level) seats, 2 BBQ sandwiches and sides and 2 non-alcoholic beverages. Regular ticket prices start at $34.75.

Help the Tampa Theatre celebrate its 88th birthday by attending a free screening of the “The Grand Budapest Hotel” on Wednesday. Start time is 7:30pm. Built in 1926 as one of America’s most elaborate movie palaces, the Tampa Theatre is designated a historical landmark. The theatre has a lavish, romantic Mediterranean courtyard, replete with old-world statuary, flowers and gargoyles. This is definitely a must see place of Tampa.

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Things to Do in Tampa Bay

October 09, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Dining, Events, Sports, Things to do


There are always a lot of things to do in the Tampa Bay area especially during the weekend. Lucky we live near MacDill AFB because that allows us to start the fun early with the opening of the National Hockey League season tonight.

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning kick off their season tonight against the Florida Panthers at 7:30pm at Amalie Arena.
  • For USF alumni and college football fans, this Saturday is the Homecoming game for the USF Bulls as they take on the East Carolina Pirates at Raymond James Stadium at 7pm.
  • What’s October without Oktoberfest? Curtis Hixon Park on the waterfront in downtown Tampa is the location for the 5th Annual Oktoberfest which runs from Friday to Sunday. Admission is free for active duty and retired military personnel with an ID card. It’s $10 for a daily admission for everyone else.
  • On Friday and Saturday is the Head of the Hillsborough Rowing & Paddling Regatta Festival, featuring a time-trial rowing competition and a race for paddle boards, kayaks and dragon boats.
  • On Saturday from 4pm to 10pm, St Pete hosts the Downtown Food & Wine Festival at Straub Park. Over twenty area restaurants will showcase their signature dishes, all in small-sized portions so you can enjoy as many as you’d like. With plates priced from $2 – $8, it’s easy to create your own “culinary tour” of our local flavors. For all the wine lovers and craft beer enthusiasts, grab a glass at one of the Liquid Lounges

Hope you enjoy the weekend! Share with us any fun events you are hosting this weekend.

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Craft Classes on MacDill AFB

October 08, 2014 By: Laura Category: Self Improvement, Things to do

MacDill Hobby Shop courtesyoffacebook

Do you want to learn a new craft? Did you get a new camera and need to learn how to use it? Do you have pictures hanging out in your camera or phone? Well if you said yes to any of these questions then you need to check out the great classes being held at the MacDill AFB Hobby Shop.

Here is a listing of some of the great classes they offer:

  • Zentangles- controlled doodling. This class has been held already but if you are interested stop by and check out the Zen Quilt.
  • Personalized Calendars created through digital scrap-booking.
  • Scrap Saturdays!! Get those scrapbooks completed.
  • Canvas & Cocktails. Learn to paint while enjoying your favorite beverage and snack.
  • Do-It-Yourself Frame Class. Learn how to make you own custom frames.
  • Basic Photography. Learn to use your point-and-shoot or DSLR camera. More pictures to  scrapbook!!
  • Subway Art using digital scrap-booking techniques. This look is very popular right now.
  • Pinterest Project of the Quarter: Decorative Mason Jars. Another popular decorating theme.

So many of these classes sound fun!! I am definitely thinking of doing the photography class. For all the dates, costs and times click the link above or give the MacDill AFB Hobby Shop a call at 813-8128-4413. You cannot beat the prices. The Canvas and Cocktails is only $10, other places offering similar events charge at least $35.

The Hobby Shop is also looking for volunteers to teach a craft. If you have a crafty talent you may want to give them a call and offer your services. I would love to hear what craft some of you do or teach. Share your talents here with me on the blog or on our Facebook page. (just click the link).

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6 Great Halloween Attractions Near MacDill AFB

October 07, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Dining, Events, Things to do

mickey  halloween courtesy of piniterest

Halloween is just around the corner and lucky for us living in the MacDill AFB/Tampa Bay area we have numerous Halloween attractions to visit! Along with the great pumpkin patches, corn mazes, craft fairs and haunted houses we have some great amusement parks nearby. Here is a list of these fun Halloween attractions:

  • LegoLand- Brick-or-Treat, weekends thru October. Don’t forget your costume for the contest with Emmet!
  • Disney World- Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Fun for everyone. I suggest buying a pass and visiting the other parks also because the Fall decorations are beautiful. (You will need a separate ticket for the party).
  • Lowery Park Zoo- ZooBoo, now thru November 1st. Something for everyone in the family. The Zoo has included a “Skull rating” on all of the activities. Seven skulls too scary for me!!
  • Busch Gardens- Howl-O-Scream Cursed, now thru November 1st. Don’t forget to get the Cursed App!!
  • Universal Studios-Halloween Horror Nights, now thru November 1st. 8 Haunted houses in one spot!
  • Sea World-Halloween Spooktacular, weekends in October. Trick or treating, dancing and pumpkin fish will keep everyone entertained.

So many fun things to do for the young and the old! Most of these events require and extra ticket and do not include admission to the park for all the details on tickets click on the links above. I would suggest  checking out the IT&T office at the MacDill AFB Exchange to check out the military discounts offered. I did see that IT & T offer discount tickets to Howl-O-Scream and Universal Horror nights.

Please share your scary stories and pictures with us on our Facebook page.

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The Sesame Street/USO Experience Coming to the MacDill Area

October 06, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events, Things to do

sesame street courtesyof uso facebook

On October 25th The Sesame Street /USO Experience for Military Families will be here in the MacDill AFB area. This great event will take place at the Marine Reserve Center located at 5121 W. Gandy Blvd., Tampa. The Reserve center is on your right before you cross the Gandy Bridge going towards St Peteresburg.

Sesame Street will present three shows that day one at 10:00am then at 1:00pm and the last one at 3:30pm. The tickets are being distributed starting today October 6th by the Airman Family and Readiness Centers both on MacDill AFB and the Brandon branch. The Brandon location is located at 710 Oakfield Drve, Suite 153 and the MacDill Branch is located next to the Post Office at 8105 Condor Rd., Builidng 18. You must have a valid Military ID to receive the free tickets.n For more information on ticket requirements please contact the Airman Family and Readiness Center at 813-828-0145.

This is the sixth year the USO has partnered with Sesame Street to bring Military Families this fun interactive show. The show features Katie who was created for this tour and was first introduced to families in 2011 by the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street characters pitch in to help Katie make new friends and to adjust to once again living in a new town and having to make new friends. This amazing show has been viewed by more than 412,000 military children at over 144 military bases!

If you love Sesame Street and its characters as much as I do and my children did (I think even as old as they are they still love them!) then you will want to get to the AFRC and grab some tickets before they are all gone!! If you are planning to attend the show or have attended one in the place please share your experiences with us here on the blog. I would love to see your pictures posted to our Facebook page.

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Things to Do on MacDill AFB

October 03, 2014 By: Laura Category: Dining, Events, Sports


There are a lot of things to do out in the Tampa Bay area this weekend, but there are also a lot of things to do on MacDill AFB!

    • MacDill Lanes is hosting Pizzarama tonight from 5pm to 8pm. Games are $.50 for all bowlers under the age of 15. Mike the Magician will be there. And if get a strike, then you get a free milkshake!
    • Catch Football Frenzy at MacDill Lanes on Sundays at 1pm!
    • At SeaScapes on the MacDill beach, Friday is Crab Night & Family Night from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday is Steak & Date Night from 5pm to 8pm.
    • Why pay for gym membership in town, when you can use the MacDill Fitness Center for free!  There are some classes that have a small fee, but you can use the weights, treadmills, or stationary bikes for free.
    • At SeaScapes on the MacDill beach, Friday is Crab Night & Family Night from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday is Steak & Date Night from 5pm to 8pm.
    • On Saturdays from 8:30am to 9:30am, the Bay Palms Golf Complex offers a Junior Clinic for $3 a child.
    • Every Wednesday at Boomers Bar & Grill is “Bash Wednesday”. From 4pm to 8pm, there will be free bar snacks, drink specials and Bar Bingo. While you are waiting for your golfer, have a little breakfast at the Fairway Grill.

Hope you enjoy the weekend!

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