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
I had the immense pleasure of attending the Tampa opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA, and I loved it! It was my first Cirque du Soleil show and I had really no idea what to expect. The name implies a high energy show, and it delivers on that promise throughout the entire show!
The story of WAZ, a successful game show host who has found sadness in his fame, was one exciting performance after another. I found myself asking, “what will they do next?” and being blown away by the talent and artistry of the performers.
I don’t want to give away the show, so I’ll share some photos of my favorite parts:
My husband and I attended the show with two friends of ours. We were unsure if the show would be appropriate for our 5 and 7 year old boys. While they would have LOVED the acrobatics and definitely the bmx bike stunts, they would have likely been scared by a few moments of darkness and my oldest may have not liked the loud crowd at certain times. Cirque du Soleil is meant to entertain the whole family, so use your own discretion when deciding about your children.
Don't Miss the Show!
VOLTA is here in Tampa through March 18, 2018 with multiple showings each week. The show takes place under the big top in the lot adjacent to the Tampa Greyhound track. You can even see the massive, beautiful tent from 275.
General public tickets are also on sale now by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). Tickets are available starting from $37.
I received complimentary tickets in exchange for my review.
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Exciting news, Supercross fans! Monster Energy Supercross is coming to Tampa at Raymond James Stadium on February 24! Supercross is the most competitive and highest-profile off-road motorcycle racing championship in the world. Featuring innovative track designs and attracting impressive crowds set inside recognizable and prestigious stadiums. The world’s most elite athletes, Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb, Jason Anderson and more battle it out for the esteemed 450SX Class crown.
Event Times: Doors Open/ Practice & Qualifying – 12:00 p.m. Pit Party – 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. Main Event – 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: Tickets starting at $20
Purchase Info: Tickets available for purchase at the Stadium Box Office, online at www.SupercrossLIVE.com or www.ticketmaster.com or by phone – (800) 745-3000
Discount code: Save $5 off select seats for Monster Energy Supercross in Tampa with discount code SXFEB. Hurry for the best available seats! Code expires February 23, 2018.
For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to SupercrossLIVE.com, the official website of Monster Energy Supercross, or follow via social channels:
• Facebook: facebook.com/supercrosslive
• Twitter: twitter.com/supercrosslive
• Instagram: instagram.com/supercrosslive
• YouTube: youtube.com/supercrosslive
I received complimentary tickets in exchange for promoting this event. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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)
We attended our first Monster Jam show on January 13 at Raymond James Stadium, and now we have a family full of monster truck fans! Our boys have always loved vehicles of all kinds, but with our oldest being sensitive to loud noises, we never wanted to bring him to a show. Wow, were we missing out! We all had so much fun!
Pre-show Pit Party
The Pit Party took place in the field adjacent to the stadium (parking area) from 2:30 - 5:30 pm. We had the chance to meet the drivers, and they were so wonderful with their fans! Our boys (ages 7 and 5) were amazed with seeing the trucks up close. They then became ‘experts’ and were familiar with all the drivers. It gave them a real connection to the rest of the show even though we had never seen any of the cars or drivers before this event.
The Pit Party had a ton of ‘extras' such as food, merchandise, build your own monster truck out of wood, ride on a mini Grave Digger (like a Power Wheel), ride in the back of a full sized Grave Digger, a bounce house and a slide. The extras cost extra, but our boys enjoyed just walking around, seeing the drivers, and doing the free things at the different vendors. The free activities included making a pit party sign from Dairy Queen, playing corn hole and winning a free pizza from Papa Johns, free tattoos, and there were many vendors who gave out fun swag.
There were 3 parts to the event. In the first part, the trucks raced each other around the track and one winner was crowned. We loved cheering on our favorites! In the second part, the trucks did tricks on 2 wheels and the crowd did the scoring. I thought this was such a fun, engaging way to get the audience involved! The final part of the show was a freestyle event when the audience was able to provide the scores again.
We were surprised to see how many trucks needed repairs during the show. They show them on the big screen getting fixed and rush them back in from outside like its WWE - so fun!
Tips and Tricks!
As long as you have ear plugs or headphones, it is better to sit closer to the action. The jumps would be amazing to see from the 100 or 200 level. Being higher was better for us because it was not as loud, but it’s a tradeoff. They were also doing some great giveaways in the lower section!
Make sure to bring food to tailgate before/after the pit party. People were partying at this event like it’s a football game! I saw people with grills, tables of foods, pop up tents, and drinking games. Packing your food and drinks is a great way to save a bit of money, but also can ensure you have your kids' favorite foods. I stopped at the store on our way and bought a delicious Publix Cuban Sandwich and my boys' favorite- popcorn chicken. I also let them each pick out a few special treats for the show. It was the first time we have gone somewhere and they didn’t ask for food.
Remember that this event is outdoors. It was an unusually cold Tampa night for our show, and we showed no shame and wore many layers along with our winter coats from our time up north! I saw people with blankets, wool caps, and gloves!
My family and I recently had the opportunity to stay at the new Marriott dual-branded Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites on Clearwater Beach and LOVED our experience! We spent one night in the Residence Inn side of the property and my boys are already asking to return.
The brand-new property opened in the summer of 2017 and boasts oversized guest rooms with a coastal vibe, flexible living, working and sleeping space, stunning views of Clearwater Bay and a wide array of shared amenities. Both brands stay true to themselves: SpringHill Suites offer stunning décor from West Elm and comfortable features, while Residence Inn offers a kitchenette and ample space for extended stays and families. They share the lobby, pool, business features, and exercise room.
Our family of five was very comfortable in the Residence Inn room. My husband and I were able to share the king sized bed, and our boys enjoyed the sofa bed. We still had room for the Pack n Play for our baby too. We had a beautiful view of Clearwater Harbor and the Intracoastal, and were just across the street from the beach.
We started our evening with an appetizer and drinks in the lobby. The wings were delicious – we ordered 10 and asked for a box when they arrived… then we didn’t need the box because we ate them all!
I was worried that the kids would be unwelcome in the beautiful lobby, but there were numerous families and the staff was particularly accommodating. Cecil at the front desk even taught us a new trick to keep my son’s shoelaces tied (a double bow instead of double knot!). We decided to pick up a pizza for dinner and were referred to King’s Pizza just a block away from the hotel. We walked there and brought it back to our room for a delicious pizza picnic! With it being the holiday season, we used the in-room Smart TV to access our Netflix account and watch Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was the perfect ending to our evening!
The next morning we enjoyed a delicious hot breakfast in the lobby. The staff did a phenomenal job of keeping up with the Sunday morning high-demand, and we all enjoyed our own breakfast choices. They offer scrambled eggs, both pork and turkey sausage, make-your-own waffles, toast, yogurt, fruit, juices, and more! I was especially impressed by the coffee bar with a selection of flavored syrups to add to your coffee.
After breakfast, we took a walk on Florida’s award-winning Clearwater Beach, just across the street. Our stay was during the coldest weekend in December, so we bundled up and went exploring. Living in Tampa, it sometimes is easy to forget how lucky we are to live so close we to these beaches. We will be planning many more return trips!
SpringHill Suites Clearwater Beach
Residence Inn Clearwater Beach
The properties share their address:
309 Coronado Dr.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites provided me with a complimentary stay in their hotel in exchange for this blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
During the first weekend of December, my husband and I attended Clearwater Beach Uncorked and it was so much fun! We were not sure what to really expect, but I can tell you that you will never go wrong with unlimited food and drink tastings on the white, sandy Clearwater Beach!
Our VIP experience started an hour before the General Admission began with a meet and greet with Norman Love. I had personally never heard of this talented chocolatier, and now I’ve already ordered his unique, delicious chocolates as gifts for family members! We were also treated to a presentation from Duncan Hines about some of their new products (have you checked out their Perfect Size cakes yet??).
Although there is no better way to start the day than with dessert, we loved our next opportunity to make our way around the other chef’s tables with the smaller crowd. My husband and I usually have different tastes – he loves seafood but doesn’t care for veggies, I’m the opposite – so a tasting tent is perfect for us! He is still raving about Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s sushi and their shrimp, and I loved Dandy’s corn gazpacho. Many of the vendors were offering samples that we were able to bring home such as chips made from pasta or veggies. So interesting!
I was not sure how the tent on the beach would work with all of the food, but it made for the perfect setting to mingle and sample for the afternoon! We also enjoyed the VIP Spirits Lounge at the official host hotel Wyndham Grand, just across the street from the tasting tent at Pier 60. I am personally not a big fan of liquor, but the vendors offered some delicious cocktails and the Patron Pops were not to be missed!
I will definitely look forward to attending Clearwater Beach Uncorked next year! They also have a sister event on Florida’s other coast – Cocoa Beach Uncorked!
I was given complimentary tickets for this event in exchange for promotion on my blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The holiday season has officially begun in the Tampa Bay area! I have been researching fun family activities to celebrate Christmas, and I was thrilled to find Christmas Lane in Plant City. Christmas Lane is an amazing winter wonderland light display with something for everyone to enjoy! We had the pleasure of visiting and I am excited to share our experience with you.
When we entered the Charlie Grimes Family Agricultural Center at the Florida Strawberry Festival® grounds, we were greeted by a massive, beautiful display of over 1.5 million lights and life-sized decorations. From trees to trains, Christmas Lane has it all! There were even characters such as a gingerbread man and Rudolph walking around to pose for pictures with the guests!
Our first stop was to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. It was a perfect way to start our visit to get us in the Christmas mood. They have a beautiful display with fun props to use, just like a photo booth! They took amazing photos for us and we were able to buy them right there. You can also use your own camera to capture the visit.
My boys next wanted to check out the carnival rides. They had about 7-8 carnival attractions, and be advised – there are height restrictions. My older two boys had a blast riding and never had to wait in line (we visited on a Thursday evening). My 18 month old enjoyed the carousel ride the most!
I was worried at this point that we wouldn’t have much more to do before the Living Nativity started, but wow, was I wrong! We made our way over to the other side of the complex where we enjoyed face painting, ornament decorating, and letters to Santa! We indulged in some popcorn and I was impressed with the affordability of all of the snacks. This area of Christmas Lane included the stage where they have nightly performers. We were mesmerized by the performer on a unicycle!
After the stage performance, we enjoyed the Living Nativity outside. The boys loved seeing the animals and the live angel who performed. My favorite part was the live performance of "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night." The Living Nativity is presented by local churches every Thursday and Saturday of the season.
Christmas Lane was the perfect way for us to kick off the holiday season. It was fun for our entire family!
Where: On the grounds of the Florida Strawberry Festival® inside and around the Charlie Grimes Family Agriculture Center at 2508 West Oak Avenue, Plant City, FL 33563.
When: Open November 24 through December 24. Operating hours are Thursday through
Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night.
Price: Tickets are $5 for adults. Children ages 4 to 12 are $3. Children 3 and under receive
free entry. Free admission will also be available on Thursdays for current and former
members of the military. Our Community Night will offer free admission to Teachers,
First Responders and Law Enforcement on Fridays. Saturdays will be Youth Sports
night. Every child who wears his/her league jersey or shirt will receive free popcorn.
Sundays will be Senior night and all Seniors will receive a complimentary cup of coffee.
Parking is free and can be accessed from Lemon St. and Oak St.
More details can be found on the Christmas Lane website at ChristmasLane.com and on
Facebook at facebook.com/visitchristmaslane.
ABOUT CHRISTMAS LANE
In 1984 at his own home, Lane Wetherington founded Christmas Lane for the Dover,
Florida community. Sparked when he was a young boy, Lane’s passion for Christmas
led him to ask for Christmas lights to decorate the family home. Over the last 33 years,
his passion has grown exponentially to become a holiday favorite for people around
Central Florida. Initially an ever-expanding light display at the Lane family home,
Christmas Lane found a new home at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds in 2015
and includes over one hundred Christmas trees ranging from four to forty feet in height.
There are elaborate displays and over 1.5 million lights accompanying its
larger-than-life decorations that use more than 168,000 watts of power. Christmas
Lane is a non-profit organization. Volunteers work more than 1,800 hours to set up the breathtaking winter display.
Thank you to Christmas Lane for hosting our experience in exchange for the blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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!