MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB
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Archive for February, 2012

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Open 24 Hours 29 February

February 29, 2012 By: maclaura Category: News No Comments →

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As part of the Leap Year Celebration, the Magic Kingdom will be open for 24 hours on 29 February! Officially known as “One More Disney Day”, the Magic Kingdom in Orlando will open at 6am today and stay open until 6am on 1 March! For military families Walt Disney World has extended it offering of discount tickets during its Armed Forces Salute until September 2012. During this period Military Members are eligible for twelve total “Salute” tickets. They may never purchase/activate/utilize more than six per day. There are block out dates when the tickets cannot be used. From 1-12 April, tickets cannot be used at the Magic Kingdom. Also on 4 July 2012, tickets cannot be used at the Magic Kingdom, but can be used at Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Active and Retired U.S. Military, including members of the U.S. Coast Guard and active members of the National Guard or Reservists, may purchase 4-Day Walt Disney World Armed Forces Salute Tickets for themselves and up to five (5) family members and/or friends. There is the Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $138 each, the Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Parks Fun and More Option for $138 each, and the Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More Options for $165 each, plus tax”  The MacDill ITT office located at the MacDill Exchange mall has these tickets for sale. Make sure you buy them on base because if you buy them at the gate you have to pay tax! If you don’t have time to stop at MacDill, then Shades of Green, the Armed Forces Recreation Center located in Disney World, also has these military tickets for sale. Don’t forget to include the price of parking when budgeting for your trip. Disney lets you bring in snacks in a backpack or stroller. So make sure you bring snacks because although park food is very tempting, it is also very expensive!

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Free Online Tutoring for Military Families

February 27, 2012 By: maclaura Category: children, Schools No Comments →

Military families can receive free online tutoring support 24/7 at Tutor.com! The Department of Defense MWR Library Program and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program have funded access for military families to Tutor.com! Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible to use this support. When you have school age children and you have to move around a lot due to PCS moves, children can find it difficult to adapt especially as they get older. There is a lot of upside to moving to new places every couple of years, but children can miss the comfort of knowing that they will always go to the same school and know what to expect. My son is in his Junior year in high school and is also attending his third different high school after PCS moves from Florida to Guam and to Virginia. Each high school had its own graduation requirements and each class is slightly different. Algebra classes in Guam were slightly different than the algebra taught in Virginia. So a little help in academics will go a long way. You can even use your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to get access. Help is available for K-12, college students, and service members going back to school. K-12 students can receive help in 16 academic subjects, including algebra, chemistry, calculus, and physics. Adults can get back-to-school and career help, including GED prep and resume writing. You will work with a tutor in a secure online classroom, where you can chat, draw on a shared whiteboard, upload files, and browse the web together.

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Oscar Night at the Tampa Theatre 26 February

February 26, 2012 By: maclaura Category: Events 1 Comment →

 Courtesy of the Tampa Theater

Not everyone gets to go to Hollywood to see the Oscars.  But don’t let something like not getting an invitation to the Hollywood show, stop you from getting to walk on the red carpet!  The Tampa Theatre is having its 13th Annual Oscar Night Party where you are the star! The Red Carpet and Reception starts at 6:30pm and the live telecast of the Oscars starts at 8pm.  This event is one the only 49 nationwide officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This will be a fun-filled evening featuring red carpet festivities, delicious food and wine samples, and exciting merchandise. Plus, free popcorn, soda and coffee throughout the show! All proceeds benefit Tampa Theatre’s artistic and educational programs. This is not you not your run of the mill Oscar party. For this event, you’ll be whisked around the block in a limo, cheered by fans on Tampa Theatre’s red carpet, surrounded by fans for your autograph, hounded by the paparazzi, interviewed by our own zany red carpet hostess, “Roan Jivers”, treated to delicious food and wine samples from area restaurants, tempted with merchandise like jewelry and shoes from local vendors and finally get to see the 83rd Annual Academy Awards live on Tampa Theatre’s Big Screen. Cost is $30 for General Admission with no program and $15 Student with valid student ID at Tampa Theatre box office only. Admission includes popcorn, soft drinks and coffee. Wear your best Hollywood dress up or dress down! Built in 1926 as one of America’s most elaborate “movie palaces”, the Tampa Theatre today is a historical treasure of Tampa. Located in downtown Tampa, the Theatre is easily accessible from I-275 and I-4. Designed by famed theatre architect John Eberson, the Tampa is a superior example of the “atmospheric” style of theatre design. Inside the Tampa, audiences are transported to a lavish, romantic Mediterranean courtyard replete with old world statuary, flowers, and gargoyles. Over it all is a nighttime sky replete with twinkling stars and floating clouds. Tampa Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, is a Tampa City Landmark, and is a member of the League of Historic American Theatres. There is on street parking nearby and parking lots within walking distance. Remember the street parking meters are not in service during the weekend so parking at street meters is free. It’s a tradition to hang out at The Hub, downtown Tampa’s classic dive that’s located two doors down, before or after a theater outing.

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Mardi Gras in Ybor City Tonight

February 21, 2012 By: maclaura Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Although not an official Ybor City wide party, two restaurants in Ybor City, Bernini’s and Green Iguana Ybor, are throwing a huge Fat Tuesday party inside the restaurants and on the sidewalk cafe areas. Both restaurants are located on the main avenue of Ybor City, 7th Avenue. The Green Iguana is housed in two historic red brick buildings on two levels w/ 5 full bars, 12 TV’s, Stage, Lighting and Audio visual system, 2 Full dance floors, a second level DJ booth and a full service kitchen every night until Midnight and numerous tables on the sidewalk cafe area. Bernini’s is an Italian bistro with fantastic food, drinks and a lot of room. There will be a free Creole buffet, king cakes, a Dixieland band and a cash bar. It’s probably a good idea to make reservations otherwise just be ready for a crowd or be ready to stand around and enjoy the fun. The partying starts around 6:30pm and it’s probably not a good idea to bring the kids along. But if you do want to bring the kids along then there Ybor City is wide open for the family to enjoy. Ybor City you can choose from a variety of cuisine – Spanish, Cuban, Italian, Greek and French – just by strolling down La Setima, the main street of the Historic District. Share authentic tapas and a pitcher of Spanish sangria in a café atmosphere reminiscent of a Mediterranean village. Founded by Vicente Martinez-Ybor as a cigar-manufacturing center, Ybor City today is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. Red brick buildings, wrought iron balconies and narrow brick streets give it an old-world charm. The Columbia Restaurant located in Ybor City is must place to eat at in Tampa. This Tampa classic is over 100 years old and food is fantastic! Even with all the vistors to Ybor City, there is always plenty of parking.

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Newcomer Info: Driving, Voting & Taxes in Florida

February 12, 2012 By: maclaura Category: News No Comments →

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AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE
Florida law requires that all automobile operators have No-Fault Insurance. Under No-Fault Insurance, one’s insurance company pays for treatment of any personal injuries received as a result of an auto accident, no matter who is at fault. Proof of this insurance must be shown to obtain automobile tags.  Non-residents – such as tourists, students and military personnel – who have a car in Florida for more than 90 days during a year are required to have No-Fault Insurance. (The 90 days do not have to be consecutive.) For more information on the state’s insurance laws, call 1-800-342-2762.

AUTOMOBILE TAGS
Within 30 days of moving to Florida, one must obtain a Florida license plate if one:
• Is employed here.
• Has children who attend school in the state.
• Claims a homestead exemption.
• Registers to vote.
To get your license plate, a vehicle registration, proof of insurance and automobile title must be taken to any tag office. For more information, contact the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office at 635-5200.  One of the best places to get a license plate is at the downtown office at County Center.  I’ve been there numerous times at different times of the day and it is always empty.

DRIVERS’ LICENSES
If one becomes a resident of Florida, is employed here, or enrolls children in area public schools, one must have a valid Florida driver’s license within 30 days. The license is good for 6 years and is renewable by the driver’s birth date. If one possesses a valid license from another state, only a sight test is required. For more information or to make an appointment, call 740-7534.  The Dept of Motor Vehicles offices are always crowded.  The best thing to do is call and make an appointment or make an appointment online.

RESIDENCY
Simply moving to Florida does not make one a legal resident. One must register to vote or file a Declaration of Domicile with the circuit court. For more information, contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court at 276-8100, ext. 7844.

TAXES
There is a 7% sales tax in Hillsborough County. Florida has no state personal income tax. The state offers a Homestead Exemption to Florida residents who own and occupy a home as of January 1 of any given year. The exemption is $25,000 off the assessed valuation of one’s home. The homeowner must file for the exemption with the County Property Appraiser’s Office between January 1 and March 1 for the first time. The exemption will renew automatically on an annual basis. The county will send the renewal by mail. No action is required on the homeowner’s part. For more information, call 635-5200.

VOTER INFORMATION
One must be at least 18 years old (with proof of age) and be a permanent resident of the State of Florida to register to vote. Registration must be at least 30 days prior to an election in order to vote in that election. For more information, call the Supervisor of Elections at 272-5850.

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Visit The Tampa Bay History Center

February 09, 2012 By: maclaura Category: children, News No Comments →

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If you’re new to Tampa or even if you’re not, come out the Tampa Bay History Center to learn about local and state history. Located in the Channelside district near Fort Brooke and behind the St. Pete Times Forum, the Tampa Bay History Center was built to teach visitors about the history that has shaped the Tampa Bay area. At the Center, there are hands-on activities, crafts, performances and more. Learn about Pioneer Life in Hillsborough County.  Find out what daily life was like, how homes looked, what people did for a living and find out what children did for fun.    The Center provides  historical and educational services and programs. A current exhibit is “Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America”. Learn that terrorism is not a new occurrence in this country. This exhibit tells the forgotten tales of over 200 years of spies, domestic terrorists, radicals and saboteurs. See 145 historic photographs and documents and view a timeline tracing more than 170 different events   The two story Center contains 60,000 square feet of exhibits which show almost 500 years of recorded history and 12,000 years of human habitation in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay History Center is housed in Hillsborough County government’s first “green” building. Normal admission cost is $2 for ages 4-12.  Adults are $12.  The Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. There are several parking lots within a short walk of the Center.

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Wild at Heart at Lowry Park Zoo 10 & 11 February!

February 07, 2012 By: maclaura Category: children, News No Comments →

Logo courtesy of Lowry Park Zoo

If your trying to think of what to do with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, look no further than the Lowry Park Zoo. Lowry Zoo is hosting a “Wild at Heart” event for singles, friends and couples on 10 & 11 February. On Friday 10 February start time is at 6:30pm and on Saturday 11 February start time is at 5:30pm. A great event for animal lovers! Guests will receive a dinner and tour of the zoo along with tales of the pairing, partnering and mating habits of zoo’s residents. Guests will receive champagne, up-close views of the animals and then a romantic dinner. Dessert will be served at various animal habitats. This includes an open bar and should last around 3 hours. Reservations are required with a cost of $65 per person. You can register online. Located in the northern part of Tampa off of W. Sligh Ave, it is easily accessible from I-275. The zoo is about a 40 minute drive from MacDill AFB. Lowry Park Zoo has been named the #1 zoo in America by “Parents” magazine and “Child” magazine. There are more than 2000 animals on 56 acres of natural habitats in seven main exhibit areas. There is a combination of natural habitat exhibits and caged exhibits in each area. The seven exhibits are Asian Gardens, Primate World, Manatee and Aquatic Center, Native Florida Wildlife Center, Free-Flight Aviary, Wallaroo Station children’s zoo and Safari Africa. At some exhibits you have the opportunity to feed the animals. There are two water play areas and you can see educational shows. Check out the Zoo School for exciting programs for everyone, from tots to teens, adults, families, teachers and more. The Zoo’s conservation education programs are designed to meet Sunshine State curriculum objectives for Florida state schools. There are also rides for an additional fee. Expect to spend at least 4 hours to see all exhibits during a normal visit to the zoo. You can bring a picnic basket to enjoy before or after the visit at Lowry Park. Of course, there are plenty of restaurants in the zoo. Parking is free.

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Largo First Friday Street Festival 3 February

February 03, 2012 By: maclaura Category: Communities, Events No Comments →

Downtown Large is hosting the First Friday Street Festival today from 6pm to 11pm. Enjoy free live music, street performers and art vendors. This month celebrates the opening of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival with a Renaissance themed street fair with drum circles and music by Noah Broe and the Groove. Noah Broe & The Groove Co. incorporates a fusion of styles, including reggae, rock, blues, funk and hip-hop grooves. First Friday Festival will be on 1st Ave Southwest, between Clearwater Largo Road and Ridge Rd. Over the last 10 years, the Largo has developed such landmark projects as Largo Central Park, the Largo Cultural Center, and the new Largo Public Library. Downtown redevelopment is currently underway, as evidenced by the changes to West Bay Drive and the upcoming Clearwater-Largo Road Streetscaping project. Tucked away on tree-lined Vonn Road is the Largo Golf Course. This par 62 executive course was renovated in early 2007 to offer USGA standard greens and an enhanced golfing experience. Largo Golf Course’s 3,335 yards of family fun features eight par 4 and ten par 3 holes, great for the beginner or the pro looking for an exciting round. Bi-weekly Saturday morning Golf Scrambles offer a chance to join in the fun and take a swing at some great prizes. Largo is across the bay from MacDill AFB and is easily accessed by using the Gandy Bridge and is a 30 to 40 minute drive depending on traffic.

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