Looking for a family-friendly Halloween event in Tampa? ZooTampa at Lowry Park is serving up fun at its annual Creatures of the Night event throughout October, and we got a sneak preview. I’m excited to share our experience with you!
This was our first visit to Creatures of the Night, so I cannot compare it to past years, but my family of five really enjoyed it! ZooTampa told us that they added the Stone Cold Ocean attraction with Medusa and the Fairy Frightful Forest, so even if you’ve attended previously, there will be new attractions to explore.
The best part of any zoo is always the animals. My boys and I loved the extra animal mingles to see the animals up close, and I especially loved the extra instruction from the zoo employees and from the special show, Pigpimples School of Mystery and Mayhem. We had an owl fly right over the audience! I loved seeing the porcupine waddle around on stage too.
We took our chances to explore the new thrills. The Stone Cold Ocean was very dark (inside the manatee exhibit), and was a bit too spooky for my little guys. They made it through, but they told me they did not want to go back. There was a Medusa that surprised them as they walked by, but it was behind a glass so they knew they were safe. Their favorite part of the cave were the snakes that the animal experts were holding and teaching about.
We also braved the Fairy Frightful Forest, and ZooTampa did a great job of setting this up for all audiences. Beautiful fairies welcomed us to the forest. I can’t think of another place you can go to see fairies, so for anyone with fans of fairies, this can’t be missed! After the portion of the forest with the fairies and brightly colored flowers, a ZooTampa employee told everyone on the path that they could exit the forest or continue through to the “dastardly & diabolical” part of the path. My boys surprised me and insisted we continue on the path! I was pleased to see that they scariest part was actors jumping out, and there was no gore.
One tip at this point – make a plan! At this point, we were running out of time, so we hurried to the Pumpkin Palooza in Wallaroo Station. We were excited to see the fruit bats in action at nightfall, and the Bat Chat did not disappoint.
ZooTampa’s Creatures of the Night has many special shows and animal mingles throughout the night including a Pirate Storytelling, Mummy Boogie, and Painted Dog chats. If you want to plan your night to include something really amazing, on October 13th, there will be a Komodo Dragon feeding scheduled!
Plan Your Visit
Find all the event details from ZooTampa on their website.
Ticket prices vary from $24.95 to $27.95 for After 4 pm tickets on the Creatures of the Night event days.
Pay for a Day, Get the Rest of 2018 Free ticketholders receive free entry on Fridays and before 4:00p.m. on 10/13, 10/20 and 10/27. Pay for a Day, Get the Rest of the 2018 Free ticketholders can enjoy the event after 4pm on 10/13, 10/20 and 10/27 for only $10 - available for purchase at any ticket window!
Creatures of the Night admission is included in all Zoo Memberships with no blockout dates!
Sesame Street Live! is coming to the Tampa area in three different locations this October! Everyone’s invited on an amazing journey with Elmo to discover the “power of yet” in Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic. Building on a successful tour with Feld Entertainment’s inaugural Sesame Street Live! show last season in partnership with the non-profit educational organization, Sesame Workshop, this production features favorite Sesame Street pals Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, and more in a brand-new, magical adventure live on stage. Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic visits Tampa from October 12th –14th for four performances at Sun Dome and visits Lakeland from October 19th –20th for three performances at RP Funding Center and visits St. Petersburg on October 21st for two performances at Duke Energy Center for the Arts - Mahaffey Theater. Tickets went on sale June 12th, 2018.
Elmo is inspired to learn a magic trick when he meets magician extraordinaire Justin, who has come to Sesame Street to perform a magic show. But there’s one problem... Elmo doesn’t know how to do magic! Through Justin’s encouragement to practice, work hard and never give up, Elmo embarks on an extraordinary journey. He learns that it’s okay to make mistakes and that magic can be found anywhere when you believe in yourself and the power of what’s yet to be. Cookie Monster and Gonger uncover the science and fun of baking while Abby Cadabby experiences the transformative abilities of caterpillars. Big Bird learns about the magnifying magic of shadow puppetry while Rosita orchestrates a rhythmic beat using everyday objects around her. And artist Grover mixes up the pigment power of the three primary colors. With high-energy dance numbers and a soundtrack that’s sure to get everyone out of their seats, Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic is an inspirational introduction to live theater and the art of illusion that the entire family will enjoy.
Tickets for Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic start at $15.00. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available for Tampa at the Sun Domebox office, and for St. Petersburg at the Mahaffey Theater box office or by calling (800) 745-3000. For Lakeland at the RP Funding Center box office, by phone (863) 834–8111. Tickets available on line www.sesamestreetlive.com. For group rates and information, contact Feld Group Sales 866-248-8740.
Stay current on the latest developments through social media:
Twitter: @SesameStLive # SesameStreetLive
Our charity spotlight for this month is a relatively new non-profit based here in Tampa, Moms on a Mission. I have had the pleasure of knowing their founder, Natashia, for the past year and I have learned about her passion and calling for this cause. Moms on a Mission focuses on solving a major problem by equipping low income, working single mothers with the tools that they need to improve their lives, increase their earning power and learn essential financial and life skills that will benefit the communities in which they live in the Tampa Bay area.
Natashia and her Moms on a Mission team strive to focus on a few key areas that they have seen to make the largest impact on the lives of these women and their children. By focusing on education, financial literacy and life skills, a single mother living in poverty or pay check to paycheck can improve her life and teach her children so that generational wealth and success is a likely possibility.
According to the US Census Bureau, the second most common household is a single mother household with approximately 17 million single mom households in the United States.
Per the Census Bureau, “During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent and the percentage of children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent. The percentage of children not living with any parent increased slightly from 3 to 4 percent.”
Single-parent families are among the poorest in the nation and as such, are extremely vulnerable to homelessness. Among all homeless families nationwide, over three quarters were headed by single women with children; two fifths were African Americans (43%). (Source: Singleparentguide.com)
How You Can Help
Low-income, working mothers need to provide for their children all on their own. Moms on a Mission strives to ease this burden. You can donate directly on their website, and we are also asking for some items at our next event at Cantina Laredo on August 16. It is Back to School time, and moms have reported needing help with not only school supplies, but uniforms. To that end, a gift card in any amount to a store such as Target or Walmart that sells uniforms would be a huge help. Please consider donating if you can!
My family and I spent the morning checking out the newest attraction at ZooTampa at Lowry Park (formerly Lowry Park Zoo), and I am excited to share all the details with you! Situated near the carousel next to the Sweet Shoppe, Roaring Springs is a revamped area that pays homage to Florida with amazing food, a fun family ride, and of course, animals!
Joe’s Diner serves classic Florida favorites with a twist, such as fish tacos, strawberry shortcake, and key lime pie parfait. We sampled many of their menu items, but can't wait to return to try the fried oreos! My husband raved about Joe's fish tacos, and I personally enjoyed the churros with strawberry topping!
The main attraction is of course Roaring Springs itself. The boat ride begins calmly with a gentle drift, followed by a three-story drop that soaks everyone in the boat and on the observation deck! My family loved being able to find a way to cool off from our Tampa heat on this ride, and the little guys followed it up with play time in Wallaroo Station, the family area with a splash zone.
The ride has a 36" height requirement to ride with an adult, and children must be 42" to ride alone. My 8 year old LOVED the ride, while my 5 year old chose to only ride once. He enjoyed it, but he felt the drop was a bit too much for his enjoyment.
Making the Most of the Zoo
Roaring Springs is located in the Florida Life area of the zoo. Along with their name change (from Lowry Park Zoo), ZooTampa has put a lot of care and time into new signage and a modern update. Follow the brightly colored signs to view many animals around the zoo, and keep an eye out for the impending opening of the Florida Life area with many local animals!
Plan Your Visit
ZooTampa is one of my favorite things to do in Tampa! Roaring Springs will open to members on June 7 and 8, then will open to the public on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
For locals or those visiting Tampa often, I recommend the zoo pay-for-a-day ticket option so you can come back all year!
Address: 1101 W. SLIGH AVENUE TAMPA, FL 33604
Video Sneak Peek of Roaring Springs
May brings Mother's Day, and it's a wonderful time to celebrate those special moms in your life - especially if it's you! If you and your family want to celebrate Mother's Day on May 13 at a fantastic restaurant in the Tampa area, check out our favorites below!
Treat Mom to a delicious Spanish inspired Brunch or Dinner on Sunday, May 13th and she'll receive a complimentary glass of our freshening Cava! Reservations are available 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
930 S Howard Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33606
Tampa's famous Columbia Restaurant is offering a special Mother's Day menu. Reservations at each of their restaurants can be made at ColumbiaRestaurant.com.
Golden fried yuca tossed with sea salt and topped with a spicy tomato jam and drizzled with garlic alioli. 8.95
Scallops “Costa Del Sol”
Colossal scallops sautéed with Serrano ham, piquillo peppers
and tomatoes, in a spiced butter sauce. Served over Manchego cheese polenta. 28.00
Adobo spice rubbed Lamb loin medallions served with a black cherry mint sauce spiked with balsamic, sautéed spinach and olive oil mashed potatoes. 31.00
Dulce de leche Chocolate cake
Cuban Espresso chocolate cake , with a dulce de leche mousse and vanilla crème. 8.00
Tradewinds Resort - St. Pete Beach
Show how much you care by treating your mom to our popular Tradewinds Mother's Day brunch. Enjoy a variety of Breakfast Offerings, Carvery Station, Chef's Table "Pho" style, decadent dessert table and more! Mother's Day Brunch will be held in the Grand Palm Colonnade at TradeWinds Island Grand - May 13th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Reservations required by calling 727.363.2258 or see Lobby Concierge.
Waterline Resort - Anna Maria Island
Treat mom to coastal cuisine for this Mother's Day! Mom knows best, and mom deserves Crawfish Eggs Benedict. In addition to the already fabulous brunch menu at Eliza Ann's Coastal Kitchen, our chefs have prepared specialty items just for the occasion.
Reservations recommended. Please call (941) 238-6264 or find us on OpenTable!
Mother’s Day Brunch Specials
Blue Point Oysters | Bloody Mary Granita $20
Avocado Toast | Maine Lobster | Breakfast Radish | Poached Eggs $24
1855 6 oz Beef Tenderloin “Steak & Eggs” $32
BBQ Short Rib Potato Hash | Fried Egg | Béarnaise Sauce
5325 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217
For gorgeous views of the Hillsborough River from this Riverwalk hotspot, bring Mom to Ulele on Mother's Day! Visit www.ulele.com/reservations or call for reservations.
Bananas Foster French Toast
Thick cut white bread dipped in custard and cast iron seared, topped with fresh berries, banana rum caramel sauce, fresh whipped cream and maple sausage. 12
14 oz slow roasted rib loin, white cheddar popcorn mashed potatoes, natural au jus, and broccolini. 29
Seared Spring Corvina
Meyer lemon scented fresh Fava beans, roasted spring leek and creamer potatoes, lobster sauce. 24
Golden Beet Carpaccio
Warm Quinoa ,Kale and chick pea saute, heirloom tomato vinaigrette. 14
Vanilla custard, caramelized sugar top and fresh berries. 10
Visit American Social on Harbour Island to enjoy their amazing patio space and views of Tampa Bay! We will be serving a Brunch Buffet to include an Omelette Station, Carving Station, Pastries, Sausage, Bacon, Home Fries and more. Additionally every mom will receive a complimentary Rose glass of wine and chocolate covered strawberry.
Phone: 813 605 3333
Want to Avoid the Brunch Crowds?
Our favorite mattress company, Allswell Home, is running an amazing contest to #BanTheBrunch on Mother's Day this year! Moms everywhere can post their own videos or photos on Instagram sharing their dream Mother's Day plans with the #BanTheBrunch contest. One grand prize winner will receive an Allswell mattress with white glove delivery and two runners-up will receive a $500 gift card to redeem at www.allswellhome.com. To participate, follow @allswellhome on Instagram and to enter, tag @allswellhome and include #BanTheBrunch and #AllswellContest in the caption of your post. The contest runs through 11:59PM EST on May 13, 2018. For all of the rules, visit www.allswellhome.com/banthebrunch-rules.
In celebration of all moms and to make your day in bed luxe and comfortable, Allswell is offering a $100 off the Supreme Queen mattress from May 1 – 13, 2018. Visit www.banthebrunch.com and use discount code BanTheBrunch at checkout.
I received a mattress and bedding through my relationship with Allswell Home. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
As I recently started shopping to upgrade our queen mattress to a king mattress, I realized there were endless options, and few stood out. I could spend hours shopping at multiple stores and being approached by salespeople, or I could brave the Internet and select a mattress based on online reviews. Neither option sounded great, but with our family of five, a king sized mattress has become a necessity.
With our first home purchase resulting in many renovations, I realized I did not have the time to go from store to store to shop for a mattress. I started to shop for a mattress online and reading reviews when I came across a new brand, Allswell Home. I was instantly drawn to their "Supreme Queen" mattress, formerly known as (FKA) the King. Because ladies, who is really in charge of shopping?! Who decorates and makes the bedroom a sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of our daily lives? We do!
Luxury Bedding, Perfectly Curated
To add to my excitement about the Allswell brand, I saw that they have even worked with four incredible designers to assemble limited edition bedding collections that will look like they are straight out of a showroom (or Instagram!). With one click, you can add the entire look to your cart! Of course you can later customize, but for the design-impaired like me, this was a phenomenal and easy way to shop!
Luxe Mattresses to Meet Any Need
Allswell Home has two mattress options: softer or firmer. Despite the fact that I love a soft mattress, I went with the firmer because I have been struggling with back pain for the past four years, and keep hearing that a firm mattress is best for your back. I also loved that the Firmer One mattress has both memory foam AND coils!
So, how does ordering a mattress online work? I expected delivery to take a week or so, but I was pleasantly surprised that the box appeared on my doorstep just 3 business days after I ordered!
I didn't want to deal with finding a box-spring (are you sensing a pattern here? I'm all about time-saving!), so I purchased a platform bed frame with wooden slats to support the mattress. All I had to do to set up my new Allswell Supreme Queen mattress was unbox it! Followers of my social media and blog know that I like to keep it real, so you are welcome to check out my Live unboxing of this mattress:
I had NO idea what to expect when unboxing a mattress of this size, and I definitely got a little flustered there at the end. The good news, however, was after one more pass of the included opening tool, I had a beautiful, luxe mattress!
Customer Service That Sets Them Apart
Shopping online can be a bit nerve-wracking if you are making a big purchase like a mattress. What if something goes wrong? What if you don't like it? Allswell Home Allstars have you covered. My original shipment included the mattress, two Euro pillows, and a mattress cover. The mattress cover I received was actually for a Queen bed, so I had to work through an exchange. I emailed their support team, received a personalized response within an hour apologizing profusely for the error, and had my new, correct, Supreme Queen mattress cover within a couple of days. They included the shipping label for my return, and I just had to drop it off at UPS.
In addition to an easy ordering process and painless return, they included some amazing swag with their shipment. Check out that mask!
Sleeping on an Allswell Home Mattress
It has been almost three weeks sleeping on our new mattress, and our entire family loves it! No, we don't all sleep on it every night - my three boys have their own beds, but the struggle is real, friends! Nearly every night, my husband and I have someone sneak in to join us at some point, and the Supreme Queen keeps us all happy! I don't even notice when one of my boys comes in - the mattress doesn't transfer their movement and wake me up.
Florida friends - I was also concerned about memory foam making me hot. If you're looking for a mattress that doesn't make you sweat, I've been comfortable every night so far on my Allswell Home!
Connect with Allswell Home
The Suncoast Credit Union Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) brings the movies to Ybor City‘s Centennial Park. Family Fun Day is a free community event created to expose, inspire and engage children through the art of film!
Family Fun Day will feature a variety of tasty treats from participating local vendors including Zaxby’s, Let Them Eat Cake, the 92.5 ice cream truck and of course… free movie popcorn! Strike a pose at the Suncoast Credit Union photo booth, craft your own puppet with Kids on the Block, experience the Tampa Bay Buccaneers activation and much more! Family-friendly entertainment will be provided by DJ Kitty along with a screening of the movie Sing (2016). The first 300 kids to arrive will receive a "Future Filmmaker" t-shirt!
Find all the details on their Facebook event.
Sunday, March 25th 2018
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Family-friendly entertainment & vendor samplings
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Sing (2016) Screening
4115 West Spruce Street
Tampa FL, 33607
Take adventure to new heights as Mickey, Minnie and your friends from around the Disney Kingdom come together when Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars comes to Tampa from March 22-25, 2018 at Amalie Arena. Tickets are on sale now!
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy set the stage for a star-studded talent extravaganza as Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars. Unleash the magic with royal sisters Anna and Elsa and the hilarious snowman, Olaf, as they sing captivating songs like “Let it Go” and “In Summer.” Life is the bubbles when Sebastian strikes up his hot crustacean band and the Daughters of Triton make a splash as they introduce Ariel in an ‘80s pop montage. Get tangled up with a chorus of harmless hooligans when they get a visit from the spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally, Flynn Rider, on their journey to see the floating lights. Relive a “Tale as Old as Time” when Belle opens her heart to new adventures and the Beast’s enchanted objects take center stage for a dazzling skating spectacle inviting audiences to “Be Our Guest.”
Experience unforgettable feats of strength and heart with the whole family when Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars debuts your hometown! Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars go on sale now! All seats are reserved, and tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000. For group rates and information, call 866-248- 8740.
Performance Schedule at Amalie Arena:
Thursday, March 22 – 7:30pm
Friday, March 23- 7:00pm
Saturday, March 24- 11:00am, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Sunday, March 25- 11:00am, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Stay current on the latest developments through social media:
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #ReachForTheStars
We have been waiting to visit Legoland until my oldest son’s birthday in April, but when we saw that they are hosting special LEGO Ninjago Days in January and February, we knew we needed to go now! Legoland has already built a special Ninjago land within the park, but these special event days include everything your Ninjago fans could possibly want! This special event will take place on January 27 and 28, and February 3 and 4.
Special Character Appearances
At special scheduled times, my boys were able to meet and take pictures with Kai, Nya, Lloyd, and for the first time in Legoland, Master Wu! The line was efficient and the characters posed for such fun pictures!
We kicked off our day with the premier showing of the new 10 minute show LEGO Ninjago – Master of the 4th Dimension. This amazing 4D theatrical experience was great for the whole family!
The most exciting entertainment of the day was the Martial Artistry outside of Ninjago world. The real-life ninja were kicking, jumping, and showing off all kinds of exciting skills! The first couple of rows surrounding the show were left for the kids to sit near the action.
I also have to tell you that I had no idea that Legoland is built on the old Cypress Gardens. The botanical gardens remain, as does the ski show! We loved watching the Brickbeard’s Bounty water ski show with skis, boats, and jet skis!! We decided to sit on the adjacent lawn because of my squirmy little guy, and we still had a good view of the show.
There was also a great build competition that was very engaging! The kids were able to choose between building a ninja or a baddie, and they could submit their final creations for a daily prize. My guys didn’t participate but loved checking out everyone else’s creations!
In one of my personal favorite areas of the park, MINILAND USA, you could participate in a Master Wu scavenger hunt. Ballots can be found at LEGO Studio Store, and you keep a tally of the number of Master Wus you find among the models in MINILAND.
Fun for all Lego Fans
My 7 and 5 year old boys are huge LEGO fans right now, so this trip came at the perfect time for us. They brought a supply of mini-figures of home to trade with the “model citizens” (people who work at Legoland), and had a blast checking out everyone’s collection on their name tags. However, I can say that even if you have kids who aren’t obsessed with LEGOs like my boys are, there is plenty to enjoy at Legoland for the whole family! We will definitely return, and I’m hoping to check out their waterpark next!
Find more about Legoland online:
The Florida State Fair – always in Tampa, always in February – will be held on February 8-19, 2018. The Florida State Fair attracts more than 500,000 people over the course of its twelve-day event. Covering fifteen acres, the Florida State Fair boasts the largest Midway in North America with 110 different rides. The Florida State Fair was founded 114 years ago in 1904 and was originally housed at the Tampa Hotel, now known as The University of Tampa.
The Florida State Fair employs 65 full-time staff members and nearly 800 seasonal staff to ensure guests have the most fun, educational and entertaining experience possible. In 2018, the Florida State Fair is unveiling thirteen new attractions including meet and greets with Paw Patrol and Rusty Rivets; Teen Stars Live; Florida State Fair Dance Championships featuring stars of Dance Moms; Little Farm Hands presented by Mosaic; BMX/FMX Freestyle Madness, The Ninja Experience, Mini Monster Trucks and so much more. The ever-enticing Fair foods for 2018 include a Surf N Turf Sundae, Southern Catfish Sundae and Barbeque Pulled Pork Ribbon Fries. Musical acts at the Florida State Fair include Country Gold Tour, Kazual, Screaming Orphans, Fuel on Fire, Dennis Lee, Vocal Trash and local Tampa bands including Kenzie Wheeler, Reverend Barry & the Funk, Alex Lopez, Nathan Hager, Taylor Reed and many more.
Tickets can be purchased at any participating Publix Supermarkets in the Tampa Bay area or online at www.floridastatefair.com.
For more information, please visit:
Website | www.floridastatefair.com
Facebook | www.facebook.com/floridastatefairgrounds
Instagram page | www.instagram.com/flstatefair
On January 22, the Florida State Fair launches its Half-Price Hookup featuring one all-you- can-ride armband plus Gold Access, good for any one Fair day for only $25. The all-you- can- ride armband plus Gold Access is valid to ride any ride in the largest Midway in North America with 110 different rides and the largest traveling Ferris wheel – the Midway Sky Eye. Gold Access will enable guests to use special express access at midway rides and 10% off on selected food and beverage – a $15 value (only on Saturdays and Sundays)
Hi! I'm Diana. I love the beach, my family, chocolate, coffee, and meeting new people. I host monthly events in the Tampa area and cannot wait to meet all of you!