MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

August 14, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Concerts, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

The weekend is here and there are plenty of things to do in the Tampa Bay area.  It may be rainy this weekend, but don’t forgot the sunscreen. Maybe just a quiet weekend at the beach is in store for you if it doesn’t rain!

  • Ace Golf driving ranges in Brandon and Riverview are offering one free bucket of balls to children up to age 15 every day. Nothing like some free summer time fun for the kids!
  • Enjoy your Friday evening on the Hillsborough River at Brews and Bites by the Tampa Convention Center. There will be beer and food trucks on hand to help you enjoy the outdoors. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate!
  • Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is offering a $15 admission to the zoo for Florida residents. The final day for the $15 admission price is this Sunday.
  • The Rays are out on a road trip, but the Clearwater Theshers take on the Tampa Yankees in minor league baseball in Clearwater on Friday at 6:30pm. There will be a free concert by a Dave Matthews tribute band following the game. Tickets range from $5 to $9.50. Bright House Field in Clearwater is just on the other side of the Courtney Campbell Parkway.
  • If you’re a veteran or active duty military member, make sure you sign up for the Rays Honor Pass so that you can receive 2 free tickets for the next home game!
  • On Saturday morning starting 9am, check out the Ybor City Saturday Market for fresh produce, baked goods and live entertainment.
  • On Saturday starting at 2pm, it’s the Patel Conservatory End-of-Summer Music Blowout at the TECO theater at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa. Students involved in Rock School, Jazz Improvisation and Patel-A-Cappella will display their talents. If you are interested in the Patel Conservatory, then this is a great opportunity to see what they have to offer!
  • FishHawk Ranch  in Lithia is having a Food Truck Rally on Saturday evening from 5pm to 9pm. It will take place at the Osprey Club. One of my favorite food trucks, Aloha to Go, will be there!
  • On Sunday, the Tampa Theatre will present a classic mafia movie “Goodfellas” starting at 3pm.
  • Finish up your weekend at Yoga in the Park at Curtis Hixon Park from 6pm to 7pm. It’s free, just bring your mat!

If you have ideas for the weekend, please share it with us.

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Back to School Tips

July 21, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events, Military Life, Military Spouse, News, Schools, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

back to school #2

Where did the summer go? Hillsborough County schools will resume classes on August 25th. Some parents are counting the days and others may be dreading that first day! Getting the kids ready to go back to school early instead of at the last minute will let you enjoy more of your summer. Here are some tips to get you and the kids ready.

  • Check your kids medical records and make sure all of their immunizations are up to date.
  • Go to the Hillsborough County School district site to get all the information on the first day of school. This is also a great place to check out the site for your child’s school and get information such as school supplies and summer reading lists.
  • Check in with the MacDill AFB school liaison for details on getting your military child enrolled in school.
  • Check out one of the many back to school fairs held by Hillsborough County Schools. This is also great opportunity to get your child their immunizations.
  • You will also want to check out the Back to School Fair being held August 8th at Westshore Plaza.
  • Back to School Tax free week! This year you get an entire week to shop. Shop from August 7th until August 16th.Visit the Florida Department of Revenue for a list of what will be tax exempt
  • If you have recently made a PCS move to the area you may want to check out these articles: “Ease the PCS Transition with the Youth Sponsorship Program” and “Tips to Enroll in Hillsborough County Schools“.
  • If you are living near MacDill AFB you may even want to get your kids involved with activities through the Youth Center so they can meet other kids in the area and get them out of the house for awhile!

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4th of July Fireworks in the Tampa Bay Area

July 03, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Military Life, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

flag-fireworks courtesy of crazycrawfish

You will not have a problem finding 4th of July fireworks in the Tampa Bay area! From the coast to Orlando and every place in between, there will be fireworks displays.

  • Clearwater will start celebrating at Coachman Park at 4pm with family friendly events and fireworks at 9:30pm.
  • St Pete will have their fireworks display start around 9pm depending on the weather.  North Staub Park is a great viewing location. These fireworks should be viewable from the MacDill AFB beach.
  • Largo will start celebration at 6pm with fireworks around 9pm.
  • Brandon Blast will take place at the Brandon Mall starting with live entertainment at 6pm at the outside restaurant courtyard and fireworks starting at 9pm. Brandon will have its annual 4th of July parade from 10am to noon.
  • Channelside will have a fireworks display over Garrison Channel around 9pm.  Before hand the Plaza will have live entertainment and activities.  The American Victory Ship will be selling tickets to get a special vantage point to see the display.  The Florida Aquarium will be great place to also see the fireworks display.
  • In Orlando, Disney World parks and Universal Studios will have huge displays.
  • Busch Gardens in Tampa will have a great display around 9pm.

All displays will be dependent on the weather, so you may have to be a little patient and remember that depending on where you go you might encounter a crowd.

Hope you enjoy the displays! And if you have any events or ideas to share, please let us know.

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Boating and Water Safety Tips

June 02, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Self Improvement, Sports No Comments →

boater and water safety courtesty of activistangler

With the first day of Summer coming up soon, many of us will be finding ourselves participating in some kind of water activity. Whether you are spending the day at the pool or a taking your boat out for an afternoon excursion, safety should be a priority. Take a look at some boating and water safety tips.

Here are some great tips from the Red Cross on how to keep your family safe near and in the water:

  • Only swim in areas designated for swimming with a lifeguard present.
  • Use the buddy system, even at a public pool or life-guarded beach.
  • Make sure the entire family can swim. Enrolling in Red Cross swimming lessons is a great way to spend some family time and keep everyone safe.
  • NEVER leave a young child unattended near water. Teach your children the importance of asking permission before going near water. Establish rules! Decide who and when the family is allowed near the pool or other water sources. Never let children play near drains and other water hazards, and explain to the family why these rules are important.
  • Children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Be cautious around natural bodies of water. A fall into a lake or stream can be very dangerous.
  • Avoid alcohol!
  • If you own a pool, make sure you have approved safety barriers around your pool and hot tub. The Red Cross offers an online training course for pool safety. Take it! Put all pool toys away and out of sight these can be an attraction for young kids to venture out to the pool unsupervised.
  • Supervise, supervise, and supervise children and inexperienced swimmers near any body of water.
  • Lastly, know what to do in an emergency. Make sure there is appropriate safety equipment in the event of an emergency. Know when and how to call 911. If you own a pool and your child is missing, check the water first. It only takes a few seconds to drown.

If you will be out on a boat this summer here are some great tips from the U.S. Coast Guard on boating safely:

  • Do a vessel check.
  • Take a boating safety course. You can rent a boat at the MacDill Marina. It is a requirement to pass a boating safety course before you are allowed to rent a boat.
  • Educate yourself on the dangers of carbon monoxide.
  • Again, avoid alcohol. According to the USCG, a boater is more likely to become impaired than a driver of an automobile. You do not want to be charged with a BUI.
  • Wear your life jacket at all times. In the event of an accident, stowed life jackets are almost useless. The Coast Guard would like to see everyone on every boat wear their jackets at all time.
  • Prepare a Float Plan. This is not just for boaters but kayakers, jet skiers etc…
  • Take a boater safety class. For a list of Coast Auxiliary classes here in the MacDill AFB, area go to CLASSES.

I hope these tips will encourage you to review what safety plans you may have in place in regards to swimming or boating. If you do not have a plan, now would be a great time to sit down with the family and go over water safety. Remember to wear your life jackets, and another great tip is to use sunscreen!

Have a fun and safe summer and please share with us any safety tips you may have. You can share here on the blog or share on our MacDill Happenings Facebook page. You can also send us a Tweet at @MacDill Happenin.

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Rising Flood Insurance Rates Starting Today!

April 01, 2015 By: Laura Category: Communities, Finances No Comments →


It’s not only April’s Fools Day today, but unfortunately you can expect rising flood insurance rates starting today. Because FEMA is about $24 Billion in the red due in part to hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Congress ordered full implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 which will make homeowners in flood areas eventually pay for the actual risks of flooding instead of being subsidized by the Federal government. The full implementation has been delayed since 2012 because of the effect it would have on home sales as well as the effects of increased insurance costs to homeowners. Not everyone will see rate increases because only about 20% of flood insurance policies are subsidized. However if the home is a second home, then rates will increase by 25% every year until the rates match the actual costs of the insurance. If the home is occupied full-time by an owner, rates will increase 10% a year until the rates match the actual costs of the insurance.

FEMA has designated the entire state of Florida as a flood zone with varying levels of risk. Hillsborough County flood maps are available online. Hillsborough County residents enjoy a 25% discount on their flood insurance policies each year because of its excellent FEMA Community Rating System (CRS 5) rating. The Class 5 CRS rating saves the average property owner more than $100 per flood insurance policy each year in high risk areas.

Hurricane season starts on 1 Jun in Florida. It’s a great idea to discuss flood insurance requirements with your insurance agent, but it’s also important to discuss flood insurance with your real estate agent.

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