I received complimentary camp for my boys in exchange for this blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Summer is here, so parents all around Tampa are looking for ways to keep their kids busy, engaged, and happy while school is out. I was thrilled when I came across a summer day camp that met all of those requirements! Code Ninjas Carrollwood has an amazing line-up of camps this summer, and my boys had a blast at their week of Game Builders Camp!
What is Coding?
If you don’t know, code is what is written to tell a computer program, software, a robot, a website, etc. what to do. Learning how to think and problem solve is where the real value of Code Ninjas lives. But it's not only about teaching children to be problem solvers. Game Builders Club at Code Ninjas is a great place for kids to learn how to build their very own video games! Every day your kids' skills at game building will progress further, and they will have a blast while they learn how to code. Games are made on MIT's Scratch coding platform.
About the Camp
Upon arrival at Code Ninjas, we checked in and met the staff. The boys loved their name tags and were so excited to find their own laptop station ready for them! My husband and I are former educators, so my hubby had already spent some time showing the boys a couple of coding games, but neither of them have received formal instruction before. They just knew how fun it could be!
The “curriculum” at camp followed a great workbook that provided my boys with the opportunity to complete multiple activities each day. For my sometimes easily-distracted or easily-frustrated son, he was SO PROUD to share what he had created each day. They had a great ratio of “senseis” to students, and the staff were all so supportive and kind.
Do You Have a Roblox Fan?
Code Ninjas also offers a Roblox Create camp! In this camp, kids learn how to build and create in Roblox (a family-friendly, user-generated online gaming platform similar to Minecraft). By learning to use Roblox Studio, your child can create much more than just a game. Every student will design, plan, and build their own 3D world!
Would We Return to Code Ninjas?
We ABSOLUTELY would return to Code Ninjas Summer Camp! Every day, my kids asked if they were going back, and there was no whining or complaining about being away from home. I was a little worried that they would get bored doing the same thing every day, but they were able to create something different every day, and they also took breaks to use some of the other STEM toys and materials in the room.
Camp Details - How to Sign Up
The Roblox Create and Game Builders Club camps at Code Ninjas Carrollwood are offered as both half day (9 am – 12 pm) and full day (9 am – 4 pm) camps for kids ages 7 - 14. They are filling up fast, so reach out today if you’d like to sign up, and tell them Tampa Housewives in the City sent you!
Text/Call: (813) 603-6509
Also – available for our Tampa Housewives’ audience, we have the opportunity to book a free 30-minute intro to coding lesson at the Carrollwood center to learn more about their programs (especially their summer camps)! Visit http://bit.ly/housewivesinthecitycodeninjas to sign up!
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!
Summer is right around the corner, and our kids need enriching experiences to make this the best summer yet! Check out these camps in the area!
For ages 6-18, Camp Weed Summer Camp helps campers experience God and experience nature through our core values of love, enthusiasm, open-mindedness, creativity, and faith.
Barrett School of Music
Join us for our second annual Music Summer Camp in Brandon!
Students will try out a variety of instruments including the piano, percussion and their singing voice in several different settings such as drum circles, garage band, songwriting and choir. Join us at the end of the day on Thursday for our talent show and Friday for our final group performance.
In addition to a our amazing lineup of music activities, students will alos get to spend plenty of one-on-one time with our awesome teachers and professional musicians. They'll make new friends with fellow campers, and everyone will enjoy age appropriate crafts to develop into well-rounded musicians.
Group rates, one day drop in rate, sibling discounts and bring-a-friend specials are available upon request.
Camp Dovewood is a non-profit dynamic Interdenominational Christian camp for girls 7-17 in North Florida. This year will be our 41st! We offer one of the most fun-filled and best all- round equestrian programs in the Southeast featuring: Western pleasure, Rodeo, English Equitation, Dressage, Trail rides, horse shows, vet care, grooming and stable management. We also have 22 other great activities for the girls: archery, tennis, ballet, cheerleading, gymnastics, art, drama, swimming, water ballet, music, photography, river rafting, volleyball, softball, baton, cooking, basketball, leadership and great books . Dovewood is accredited with the American Camping Association ,Certified Horsemanship Association and Christian Camp and Conference Association.
Directors: Jim and Roberta Richmond
Phone 386-935-0863 or 386-209-1908
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
For more than 25 years, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has provided children with inspiring and educational experiences with some of the best Tampa summer camp options found anywhere! Busch Gardens offers two exciting options for campers: Day Camp or Resident Camp. Home to more than 12,000 animals and world class coasters, Busch Gardens has camps for both animal lovers and thrill seekers alike.
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
The Florida State Fair, always in Tampa, always in February – announced a one-day flash sale for the upcoming fair, February 8-19, 2018. In celebration of four months until opening day, the Florida State Fair is offering a combo package of one admission and ride armband good for unlimited Midway rides for only $20. The combo package is good for any day for a savings of up to $28! Limited quantity available.
The Florida State Fair is 12 Days of Fun featuring rockin' rides, amazing agricultural exhibits featuring over 5,000 animals – and fantastic Fair food. The Fair also showcases great games, superior shopping, cultural exhibits and FREE entertainment. Go to www.floridastatefair.com for more info.
Flash Sale begins Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.
TICKET INFO: To purchase the flash sale combo package, visit the Florida State Fair Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/floridastatefairgrounds/
Our spotlight charity for September is Grow Into You Foundation, a Tampa-based non-profit that supports teens who have been part of the foster care system. Erin NeSmith is the founder who has a strong desire to make a positive impact on at-risk youth through relationship building, coaching and mentoring to support them in reaching their full potential. She holds a Professional Coaching Certification as a Life Coach and her passion for helping these teens shines through as she speaks of her work with them.
Learn More About Their Work
The majority of teens that find themselves in foster care live in residential facilities rather than traditional homes because families are fearful of taking in a teen.
These same teens often age out of the foster care system at 18 years old with little to no support. The possibilities ahead of them don't look like college, starting a family and financial stability. Their possibilities look more often like homelessness, human trafficking, hunger, drugs, jail and returning to the same foster care system- this time as a parent.
Think of a teen you know...can you imagine he or she stepping into the world alone knowing that they don't have a soul to turn to? No family support system that cares about where they go or what they do?
These teens need guidance. They need support. They need someone to empower them to pursue education, employment and shelter. They need the perspective that allows them to seek out wise choices, create healthy plans for the future, learn life and leadership skills, implement coping strategies and experience what success can and does look like for them.
How Does Their Coaching and Mentorship Help the Teens?
It can be difficult to know what kind of difference you are making with teens. They may not open up or express themselves. Grow Into You Foundation has direct feedback from those they have worked with, and it truly shows how important their work in our community is!
How Can You Get Involved?
Grow Into You Foundation would love your help and support as they guide these teens into adult life. They are seeking volunteers, donations for their organization, and gift cards for their teens. Additionally, they are hosting a Halloween Masquerade Ball on Oct. 27th with the Fred Astaire Dance Studios. Plan to support them if you can!
Please plan to meet Erin at our Roux Girls Night Out on September 25 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. She can answer all of your questions and is excited to share more about the foundation with you. If you are able to donate, she will be collecting gift cards for the teens. Gift cards can be for anything from Publix to fast food, to restaurants, etc. Erin uses them to celebrate “little wins” that the teens accomplish and to provide them with when they are struggling.
Get a break from our summer heat with Disney On Ice presents Frozen, coming to Tampa's Amalie Arena from Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017! You’ll be magically whisked away into the wintry world of Arendelle, where you will be dazzled by amazing special effects and astonishing skating. Sing and dance along to inspiring songs, including “Let It Go.” Join royal sisters Anna and Elsa, the hilarious snowman Olaf, Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven and the mystical trolls as they journey to discover that true love is ultimately the most magical power of all!
Hosted by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, with special guest appearances by your most beloved Disney Princesses and characters from favorites like Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King, this unforgettable celebration of love and friendship will leave your family with memories to last a lifetime.
Ticket prices start at $18!
Sep 29, 2017
Sep 30, 2017
11:00AM , 03:00PM , 07:00PM
Oct 01, 2017
11:00AM , 03:00PM
Purchase tickets by phone:
Group Sales Info:
To create a completely immersive experience for the audience, the set design will encompass the space from the ice surface up through the air, drawing everyone into the story and closer to the characters. Families will feel that they are trekking up to the North Mountains with Anna, Kristoff and Sven, and they will tangibly experience the storm inside Elsa. Elsa’s magic will be enhanced by state-of-the art special effects while her emotions will be conveyed through powerful skating.
Producers Nicole Feld and Kenneth Feld have selected the brightest and most creative minds in the industry to put together this spectacular show.
The Artist - Nathan Sawaya
When you arrive at The Art of the Brick Tampa, you are welcomed into a small area to watch a 3 minute video about the artist behind the exhibit, Nathan Sawaya. It was fascinating to learn all about his passion for LEGOs and the journey that led to creating the exhibit after being a corporate lawyer in NYC.
After the video, you have a self-directed walking tour of the gallery that houses the exhibit. Each area has a theme, such as the first room with famous art recreated by LEGOs. I loved checking out the title of each piece and the number of bricks that it took to assemble it. The Mona Lisa and Starry Night were my favorites in this gallery!
I will include some photos of the exhibit, but I don’t want to ruin it for you! My boys loved seeing how LEGOs can be assembled to create amazing things of all shapes and sizes. I was in awe of the artistic component. Sawaya truly found ways to take a novel medium to create pieces that were able to evoke emotion and feeling.
At the end of the tour, there is an interactive area with LEGO bricks for everyone to assemble their own creations. There is even a spot for the littlest ones to have fun with the Duplo larger blocks! Everyone will have the chance to be inspired and explore their creativity.
Know if you go - And you should go!
Designated parking is available, but it is a bit of a walk from the museum. There are plenty of lots downtown, just follow signage and pay as posted.
The exhibit is FREE to view, courtesy of the Vinik Foundation, through September 4 at 802 East Whiting Street in Downtown Tampa (District 3 Arts and Event Center). The exhibit is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
For Little Ones to Love
The hoodies are highly functional. The sleeveless jumper we have is a great balance of cool for summer and still great for being in the air conditioning in a museum or mall.
While baby boy is probably too young to have a preference on his appearance, his big brothers LOVE the spikes on the hoodie. They can’t agree on whether he looks like a dino or alligator, but they love the design!
For Adults to Love
The Purl Lamb Hoodie Company produces clothing that is organic and ethically made by Fair trade artisans with organic dyes and processes. They are thick, durable, and true to size. My guy is about 20 pounds and close to a year old, and he fits perfectly in the 6 - 12 months size. I love the variety of unique designs! Check out the donuts or French fries!
I happily dressed my little guy in the jumper, and I think these styles would be a wonderful gift to someone with children for any occasion.
Purl Lamb offers free domestic shipping on orders over $75, and a money back guarantee.
FInd Purl Lamb
While all thoughts are my own, I received a complimentary Purl Lamb jumper for my review.
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!