MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

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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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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

June 11, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Concerts, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

It’s almost the weekend and there are plenty of things to do in the Tampa Bay area.  The weather should be fairly pleasant this weekend, but don’t forgot the sunscreen. Maybe just a quiet weekend at the beach is in store for you!

  • Today is the start of the four day long Metrocon! It will take place at the Tampa Convention Center. There will be some competition for parking on Saturday since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals will also be going onat Amalie Arena on Saturday.You might wish to park in Ybor City and take the TECO streetcar to the Convention Center.
  • On Saturday on MacDill AFB, the Surf’s Edge club will host a Daddy/Daughter Dance from 6pm to 9pm.
  • Starting on Sunday and running till the 2oth, the Pro Shop at Bay Palms Golf Complex will have a Father’s Day sale with 15% off of any men’s apparel.
  • The Rays take on the White Sox on Friday for the start of 3-game series. The first pitch is at 7:10pm. They are giving out a Tampa Bay Rays MLB Network Reusable Tote bag before the game while supplies last. After Saturday’s game, there is free concert from country music star Lee Brice.
  • If you don’t have tickets to the hockey game on Saturday, then do the next best thing and go to Ferg’s across the street from Amalie Arena!
  • It’s Star Wars Weekend at Hollywood Studios at Disney World in Orlando. Get discount tickets at the MacDill AFB ITT or at Shades of Green.
  • On Sunday at 3pm, the Tampa Theatre will present the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall classic movie “Key Largo.” Come early and wander around this historic theatre which was built in 1936.

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

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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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Inside MacDill AFB

March 09, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events, Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move, Schools, Self Improvement, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Inside MacDill AFB

Inside MacDill AFB

A look “inside” MacDill AFB for all of those new and seasoned military families in the area. I have seen on the social media circuit that a lot of military families have recently moved to the MacDill AFB area or will soon arrive. A PCS move is always a challenge and getting information on your new duty station is just one more task added to the never ending PCS check list. Take a look inside MacDill AFB and gain information on base facilities, housing, schools and recreation opportunities.

MacDill AFB is located 8 miles South of the city of Tampa and is surrounded by beautiful Tampa Bay. Even though the base is an Air Force base every military branch of service is located on base. MacDill AFB is home to CENTCOM along with many other command units. You can find a large AAFES store along with a commissary on base. The base also has 2 clinics one located on base and one located in the near by town of Brandon. The base has the typical facilities including a chapel, library, pools, bowling alley, golf course and dining facilities. A unique feature to MacDill AFB is the beach which is also home to the family camp grounds. The 6th Support Squadron manages many of these facilities and host great events including a base community appreciation party March 14th from 4pm-6pm. This party is a great opportunity for newcomers to check out the beach and make new friends.

Finding suitable housing at a new base is definitely on the check list of things to do. MacDill AFB does offer very nice base housing. Harbor Bay at MacDill is a base community offering amenities such as pools, community centers and play grounds. If base housing is not available or you choose to live off base has many listings in all of the surrounding areas of MacDill. The site also offers information on Realtors and Property Managers with expertise in the Tampa Bay area.

Schools in the MacDill AFB area fall under Hillsborough County Schools. Besides offering traditional schools the district is also home to magnet schools. The MacDill AFB school liaison representative can provide you with information on the school district, charter schools and private schools available in the area.

MacDill AFB with its great location on the bay is home to many recreation opportunities. Visit the marina and find out about paddle boarding, kayaking and renting a pontoon boat. If golf is your game then you will want to stop by the Bay Palms Golf Complex to check out all it has to offer. MacDill Bowling lanes, the fitness center, skeet range and the base pool also offer great recreation events. The Airman and Family Readiness Center is also a great resource for information, events and activities on base.

That was a look at the “inside” of MacDill AFB. Whether you are a newcomer or have been in the area for awhile this information will be helpful in enjoying your stay here in the Tampa Bay area. If you have any insider tips to share about the MacDill AFB area please leave them in the comment section of the blog.

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photo credit: ”Greetings from MacDill Field Tampa, Fla – Keep ‘Em Flying” via photopin (license)

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