SCREAM-A-GEDDON Haunts Tampa This Fall

SCREAM-A-GEDDON

SCREAM-A-GEDDON to Attract

Thrill-Seekers This Fall

New Halloween Attraction Unleashes Terror in the Tampa Bay Area Starting Late September

 

SCREAM-A-GEDDON, a new horrifying Halloween attraction coming to Tampa Bay, will begin haunting the public on Friday, September 25th, 2015. The new horror park features six haunted attractions with a Monster Midway spread over a sinister 60 acres of Old Florida forest.

“SCREAM-A-GEDDON is a brand new type of horror park that Central Florida has never experienced before. Simply put, words can’t describe the terror within,” says Jonathan Pianki, Marketing Director. “It truly needs to be experienced in order to be believed.”

The owners and operators of SCREAM-A-GEDDON bring to bear their combined expertise running similar attractions across the country to create a unique Horror Park in the Central Florida area. The park features several never-before-seen, bone-chilling attractions with Hollywood special effects and exclusive interactive elements throughout the park.  

“Being an independent Halloween horror park allows us to stretch the boundaries of what customers have come to expect at the more ‘corporate’ Halloween attractions in the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas,” says Mark Bremer, Creative Director at SCREAM-A-GEDDON. “Victims who want a more interactive, intimate and terrifying haunted experience will be thrilled when our facility opens this fall.”

 

SCREAM-A-GEDDON will be open to the public on select nights from September 25th through November 1st. For more information, please visit www.SCREAMAGEDDON.com.

 

About SCREAM-A-GEDDON:

SCREAM-A-GEDDON is the newest Halloween attraction in the Tampa Bay area featuring six horrifying attractions spread over 60 acres. The “Monster Midway” will feature carnival games and a variety of food and beverages, including beer. For more information about SCREAM-A-GEDDON, please visit www.SCREAMAGEDDON.com

 

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Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Monster’s Ball

Seminole Hard Rock TampaHosting A Monster’s Ball That Will Be Fang-tastic Affair

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

True Blood’s Joe Manganiello Making Special Appearance at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

He plays the role of a werewolf on the HBO television series True Blood, so it seems appropriate JoeManganiello will be making a special guest appearance at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa “Monster’s Ball” on Saturday, October 26.

The “Monster’s Ball” will be staged in Hard Rock Cafe and include a $1,000 costume contest (no masks or full facial make-up allowed).

The evening will be hosted by 93.3 FLZ’s Brian Fink with Monster mash-up music mixes provided by DJ Barry Carew (from the 2013 Corona Light Kenny Chesney Tour) and DJ Santana.

Limited pre-sale tickets starting at $15 will go on sale Monday, October 7, at www.ROCKTAMPA.com.

Before taking over as the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on True Blood, Manganiello played Flash Thompson in the Spider-Man film series and had recurring roles on such TV shows as ER, How I Met Your Mother and One Tree Hill. He was also in the movie “Magic Mike” with Channing Tatum.

Having once been paid to dress up like Captain Morgan at bars in Pittsburgh, Manganiello went on to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in drama. He was named US Magazine’s “Sharp Dressed Man” of 2011.

 Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Logo

About Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa recently completed a $75 million expansion, making it the world’s sixth-largest casino, based on gaming positions or number of seats at a table or slot. This ultimate entertainment destination features 118 table games including Blackjack, Mini and Midi-Baccarat, Pai Gow Tiles and Poker, Three Card Poker and Texas Hold ‘em Poker, along with over 5,000 slot machines and a smoke-free poker room with 50 tables offering high stakes action. The luxurious High Limit Table Games Room features 17 tables for blackjack and midi-baccarat and offers higher table limits, a personal cashier and attentive bartenders. For the sixth year in a row, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has awarded this 250-luxury room hotel its prestigious Four Diamond rating. Guests can enjoy a new pool area and restaurants including the Hard Rock Cafe Tampa, part of Hard Rock’s 142 globally recognized rock ‘n’ roll themed restaurants, the award-winning Council Oak Steaks & Seafood Restaurant, and Rise Kitchen & Bakery™, which features freshly baked breads and entrees made with fresh ingredients. The new Asian gaming complex Jubao Palace features 17 table games and an accompanying 15-seat, quick service noodle bar. Valet and more than 5,000 free, self-parking spaces are available. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is located off of I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, between I-75 and I-275, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa. For more information, please call 1-800-937-0010 or visit us online at www.seminolehardrocktampa.com  or www.facebook.com/seminolehardrocktampa. Follow us on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/SHRTampa.

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South Florida Museum and Parker Aquarium

Mastodon at South Florida Museum
Mastodon at South Florida Museum

Recently I visited the South Florida Museum and Parker Aquarium in Bradenton for the first time. This museum, aquarium and the neighboring Bishop Planetarium have been on my list of things to do for quite some time. As a kid, my mom used to take me to the planetarium for a rock laser light show when we would come to town to visit. Sadly, although the museum is only five minutes from my house, it has taken more than 15 years of me living here to finally get there.

South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum focuses mostly on the history of the South Florida area. From pre-historic times with a model mastodon and fossils from several extinct species. There are areas of the museum that concentrate on the wildlife with displays of several different ecosystems with animals that inhabit each. Other sections are primarily exploring the history of the discovery and development of the South Florida area.

McKechnie Field history
McKechnie Field history
Mickey Mouse camera from 1950
Mickey Mouse camera from 1950
Walt Disney World groundbreaking
Walt Disney World groundbreaking
Snooty on deck
Snooty on deck
Snooty Time Line
Snooty Time Line

Parker Aquarium

Accompanying the South Florida Museum is the Parker Aquarium, which is home to Snooty the manatee, the world’s oldest known manatee who was born in captivity. Snooty is somewhat of a celebrity here in Bradenton at 65 years old. He has even made national news and has his own Snooty cam! While at the South Florida Museum I had an opportunity to see Snooty getting fed and a question and answer session with one of his trainers. I highly recommend this to anyone who gets a chance to catch this as it is great fun to watch Snooty and the other two manatees get fed and the Q&A session is very informative and interesting.

Bishop Planetarium

The Bishop Planetarium is the one section of the South Florida Museum that I had visited previously, but it had probably been a good 15 – 20 years. Since I had been last there was a fire and the planetarium had been renovated. Just after I visited, the planetarium closed for another refurbishment, which I understand is to upgrade the projection software. The renovation is scheduled to be finished in a few weeks with a current date listed as “mid-October.” I finished touring the South Florida Museum and Parker Aquarium, so before the rock hall of fame show in the planetarium I was able to catch a star show. This show was interesting as it highlighted what we would see in the night sky specifically in our geographic location at this time of year. I’d like to go back and see this again at different times of year to see the different constellations and planets that may be visible.

In peak season (January – April) the South Florida Museum is open 7 days a week. The rest of the year the museum is closed on Mondays. Hours are 10am – 5pm, except on Sundays, which are from 12pm to 5pm. Other than the aforementioned Mondays, the museum is only closed New Year’s Day, the second Monday in March, the first Saturday in November, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Regular admission is $15.95, $13. 95 for 65+, $11.95 for children 4-12, children 3 and under are free with paying adult. Active duty military with id are free. Family Night is the first Saturday of each month and offers everyone half price admission after 4pm with extended hours until 8pm. Family Night also usually includes screening of a family friendly (often Disney) movie. Currently since the Bishop Planetarium is closed, there is a $4 discount off admission.

I’m so glad I took the time to discover the South Florida Museum. It is a fantastic way to spend a few hours for kids and adults alike. You can go just for the laser light show with a discounted admission, but then you’re missing out on some of the best of what this complex has to offer. I hope to soon take advantage of one of the other great features of the museum, Film Fridays. Almost every Friday night the museum offers a $5 movie. The films range from classics like Meet Me In St. Louis and Some Like It Hot to Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. The upcoming series, “Greetings from Florida,” features movies set in Florida. This is a great way to catch classic films and re-releases up on the big screen.

If you find yourself with an extra day, or even an afternoon, take the opportunity to come explore the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium and Parker Aquarium in Bradenton. It is a great value and a fun day trip. Have you been to the museum? If not, Snooty is waiting to meet you. Come on down!

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Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Title Sponsor Gasparilla

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Renews 

As Title Sponsor of Gasparilla Pirate Fest


Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Gasparilla Logo

Gasparilla Treasures Mixer Planned for September 19, International Talk Like a Pirate Day

 

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa (SHRT) will be the title sponsor of the Gasparilla Pirate Fest for the next three years, it was announced today by SHRT President John Fontana.

To celebrate the momentous occasion, SHRT is throwing a Gasparilla Treasures Mixer on International Talk Like a Pirate Day – Sept. 19 – at the Hard Rock Café from 4-7 p.m. There is no cover charge and drink specials will be offered. Colorful pirates from Ye MysticKrewe of Gasparilla will join in the fun to allow for some great photo opportunities.

“We’re proud to once again be an integral part of such a premier event here in central Florida,” said Fontana, who revealed SHRT’ssponsorship would run through 2016. “We believe this title sponsorship exemplifies our core values of uplifting the community throughout the year and it allows us the ability to bring the fun from our place to Tampa Bay and beyond.”

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Gasparilla Float

The 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest is scheduled for Saturday, January 25th and will feature the historic GasparillaInvasion and Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, as well as the Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival.

“The Gasparilla Pirate Fest is a very important celebration for the Tampa Bay community and provides a big boost to the economy each year,” added Fontana. “With that said, we want to see it grow even more successful.”

“We’re delighted Seminole Hard Rock has opted to sign a multi-year agreement to sponsor Tampa’s Gasparilla Pirate Fest,” offeredEventFest’s Darrell Stefany. “We look forward to working as a team to help develop ways to expand the Gasparilla celebration, while continuing to make a positive impact on the community.”

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Logo 

About Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa recently completed a $75 million expansion, making it the world’s sixth-largest casino, based on gaming positions or number of seats at a table or slot. This ultimate entertainment destination features 118 table games including Blackjack, Mini and Midi-Baccarat, Pai Gow Tiles and Poker, Three Card Poker and Texas Hold ‘em Poker, along with over 5,000 slot machines and a smoke-free poker room with 50 tables offering high stakes action. The luxurious High Limit Table Games Room features 17 tables for blackjack and midi-baccarat and offers higher table limits, a personal cashier and attentive bartenders. For the sixth year in a row, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has awarded this 250-luxury room hotel its prestigious Four Diamond rating. Guests can enjoy a new pool area and restaurants including the Hard Rock Cafe Tampa, part of Hard Rock’s 142 globally recognized rock ‘n’ roll themed restaurants, the award-winning Council Oak Steaks & Seafood Restaurant, and Rise Kitchen & Bakery™, which features freshly baked breads and entrees made with fresh ingredients. The new Asian gaming complex JubaoPalace features 17 table games and an accompanying 15-seat, quick service noodle bar. Valet and more than 5,000 free, self-parking spaces are available. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is located off of I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, between I-75 and I-275, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa. For more information, please call 1-800-937-0010 or visit us online at www.seminolehardrocktampa.com  or www.facebook.com/seminolehardrocktampa. Follow us on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/SHRTampa.

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Seminole Hard Rock Pinktober Campaign Kicks Off Soon!

Seminole Hard Rock Recognizes Breast Cancer Survivors

with Premier Sponsorship of Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk

Seminole Hard Rock Pinktober

Effort is Part of October’s PINKTOBER™ 14th Annual Breast Cancer Research & Awareness Campaign

Dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the premier sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk which takes place on Saturday, October 19, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Team members will also participate in the walk. Hard Rock’s commitment to breast cancer awareness and research continues throughout October with its PINKTOBER™ campaign. This marks the 14th year of Hard Rock International’s support and the sixth year for SHRHC’s efforts.

Monies raised from the non-competitive 5K walk fund groundbreaking research to find, prevent, treat and cure breast cancer; ensure access to mammograms for women who need them; and provide free resources and support to the one in two newly diagnosed women who turn to the Society for help and support, including transportation and lodging during treatment.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa joined the American Cancer Society in 2006 with a team of walkers for the event. Since then, the company has raised more than $50,000 for the American Cancer Society. Last year, the casino was one of the top two fundraising teams and had more than 300 walkers.

“As a global leader in the entertainment industry, we are proud to lend our resources as part of Hard Rock International’s breast cancer research and awareness campaign to educate the local Tampa community about this deadly disease,” said John Fontana, president of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. “Our month-long charitable effort is designed to engage guests, celebrate survivors, raise awareness and drive funds toward research for the advancement of defenses and treatments for breast cancer.”

Through their 2012 PINKTOBER™ efforts, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino donated nearly $65,000 to help fund research for prevention and a cure for breast cancer. This year, they hope to raise even more funds.

Hard Rock will donate proceeds from the sale of special limited-edition PINKTOBER™ merchandise to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation ®, the Caron Keating Foundation and select local charities worldwide. The special collection items are available October 1 – 31.

The resort will donate 25 percent of the proceeds from its “Get into Bed” PINKTOBER™ “Pink Sheets” guest room bookings to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. Guests can request to stay in the limited availability “Pink Sheets” rooms at no additional cost. Guests will also receive a complimentary commemorative Hard Rock pin. The select guestrooms will also be supplied with special collectible PINKTOBER™ bathrobes that can be purchased in the Seminole Hard Rock Retail Store, with a portion of the proceeds donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.

Additionally, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will be donating 100 percent of the retail purchase price of its limited edition collectible PINKTOBER™ Hard Rock pins ($12), and 15 percent of the retail purchase price of its ladies pink T-shirts ($26); pink-hued guitar-embossed “Sleep Like A Rock” bedding sheet sets (queen $95, king $105); pillow cases (queen $50, king $60); scarf ($18); bracelet $(18); and pink robe ($80) to the cause.

To further direct attention to PINKTOBER’s charitable efforts, SHRHC will showcase color-changing lights designed to bathe both the middle of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel tower sides and the main casino floor in pink hues. Special “Pink-tini” cocktails ($7.25) will be served in the casino’s Center and Lobby bars throughout October with partial proceeds also donated.

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Minor League Baseball at McKechnie Field

McKechnie Field
McKechnie Field

McKechnie Field in Bradenton is one of baseball’s best stadiums for spring training. It is quaint and has charm, even after its huge refurbishment completed earlier this year. The stadium has even been compared to the venerable Fenway Park in Boston. Home to spring training of the Pittsburgh Pirates, McKechnie Field was first built in 1923 and has been a part of the Grapefruit League for the Pirates since 1969.

Living in Bradenton, I’ve had the opportunity to catch many spring training games. McKechnie Field is a fantastic location that is literally a five minute drive from my house. On special nights there are sometimes fireworks, which I can see from my driveway about 20 blocks away. For the Pirates’ 40th Anniversary at McKechnie Field, lights were added to the stadium so night games could be played there finally. Baseball at night in Florida is great since it does tend to be pretty warm here.

In 2010, Minor League Baseball came to Bradenton in the form of the Bradenton Marauders, Pittsburgh’s single A team. The stadium seats about 8,500, which is a nice intimate feel where you can get seats very close to the field. This is a great feeling, especially during Spring Training when you can see some of your favorite players just feet away from you. In comparison to the Atlanta Braves’ location at Champion Stadium at Walt Disney World, McKechnie Field is about 1,000 seats smaller.

McKechnie Field seating chart
McKechnie Field seating chart

Accessibility is a key factor in getting to a game for me. I love baseball, and being able to decide last minute to catch a game and to pay less than $10 for a ticket day of game, is fantastic. You can even get advance tickets for about $6 which makes the games even that much more appealing. This weekend my mom and I were lucky enough to catch some great weather, which this time of year is a challenge. We decided last minute to go to the Marauder’s game since it was the last home game of the season.

I hadn’t been to McKechnie Field for a little over a year and a half and was very impressed with all of the new renovations. The concessions have been vastly improved as well as new restrooms added. In the outfield there is a great boardwalk section with tables and chairs along the outfield wall with great views. The food is relatively affordable and so are drinks as far as baseball food goes. Our tickets were about $17 for the two of us, mom had a bbq pulled pork sandwich, I had an Italian sausage and we split nachos for about another $17. Then we each had a 24 ounce premium draft beer for $6.50 each. That to me was a huge steal, especially since it was at the Kona bar where they had Koko Brown, Longboard Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Big Wave Golden Ale on draft.

We had great seats about 7 or 8 rows behind the Marauder’s dugout just a little behind first base. The game was pretty slow at first, but the Marauders pulled out the win, with a rally in the bottom of the 8th to beat the Fort Myers Miracle 3-2. In each half inning there are great games to keep the fans involved, especially the kids. This includes things like hula hoop contest, frozen tshirt contest, dizzy bat run, and many more. The kids seem to be really interested in these and they are fun to keep the adults entertained too.

After the game there was a special fireworks show for the last game at McKechnie Field of the season. They will also do special nights throughout the summer where they do the fireworks, in addition to holidays like 4th of July. There are great areas for groups to reserve and quite a few were in use the other night. They were setup in roped off sections of the boardwalk area with buffet stations for dinner. This seemed like a fun way to experience the game with a group of friends.

All in all, McKechnie Field is a great place to experience baseball, whether for the Pirates during spring training or for the Marauders games that usually run from April through August. If you get an opportunity, I strongly encourage you to check out this great baseball stadium that is a fantastic place just minutes from the Gulf Beaches. Parking fees usually run from $5-10 in area parking lots around the stadium.

McKechnie Field boardwalk
McKechnie Field boardwalk
Kona signs
Kona signs
Kona bar
Kona bar
view of the field from the Kona bar
view of the field from the Kona bar
view from our seats
view from our seats
panorama of McKechnie Field
panorama of McKechnie Field
outfield
outfield
love the Spanish Mission style
love the Spanish Mission style
Me at the game
Me at the game
Marty the Marauder
Marty the Marauder
Pretty clouds
Pretty clouds
Kids games
Kids games
Yuengling Plaza Bar
Yuengling Plaza Bar
Yuengling bar
Yuengling bar
Concession stand
Concession stand
Sunset
Sunset
Palm trees at night
Palm trees at night
Marauders logo
Marauders logo
Marty leading fans in Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Marty leading fans in Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks 2
Fireworks 2
Fireworks 3
Fireworks 3
Fireworks 4
Fireworks 4
Fireworks 5
Fireworks 5

Have you been to McKechnie Field? Have you been to either spring training or a minor league game before? If not, you have a few months to plan before spring training rolls around in the end of February. Get planning!

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Busch Gardens Welcomes Baby Giraffes

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed two baby reticulated giraffes last month. Within an hour of birth, the calves were standing and within two hours were nursing.

Cupid, a 15 year-old giraffe, welcomed her seventh calf on June 11.  The male calf weighed 188 pounds and was more than 6 feet tall.  Tesa, an 18-year-old giraffe, welcomed her sixth calf on June 19; a female weighing 145 pounds and standing 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Giraffes are the tallest mammal on Earth, with males standing close to 18 feet tall and females close to 16 feet tall.  The gestation period for a giraffe is between 14-15 months, and the female gives birth while standing.

The reticulate giraffe is one of nine subspecies of giraffe and are easy to distinguish because of their distinct “net-like” pattern, brown-orange spots and thick white lines.  They are found in southern Somalia, Ethiopia and down into northeastern Kenya.

The baby giraffes are now on the Serengeti Plain® at Busch Gardens. The best view is from the Serengeti train or the Edge of Africa area of the park.  For a closer look, guests can reserve a Serengeti Safari, which is an open-truck tour offering guests a unique look at the 65-acre Serengeti Plain® habitat where they will encounter African wildlife and even hand-feed giraffes with the help of an expert guide.

Busch Gardens Tampa logo

Busch Gardens is owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™, one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a worldwide leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for one of the largest animal collections on the North American continent and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations.

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John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Ringling Museum of Art
Ringling Museum of Art

One of my absolute favorite museums to visit is Sarasota’s John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Built on Sarasota Bay, along with their mansion Ca’ d’Zan, the Asolo Theater, the Circus Museum, the Ringling Museum of Art is a gem. The grounds surrounding the museum are absolutely gorgeous and well worth spending an entire day there.

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a few hours at the Ringling Museum on Monday. Each week, the museum offers free admission to the art museum on Mondays. There is still a fee on Mondays if you want to visit John and Mabel’s mansion Ca’ d’Zan or the Circus Museum. The museum is open 7 days a week except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Regular hours are 10am – 5pm Friday – Wednesday and 10am – 8pm on Thursdays in the art and circus museums. Regular admission is $25 for adults, $5 for children 6 – 17 and children 5 and under are free. There are often discounts available for seniors, Florida teachers, active duty military, and college students as well as multiple day passes. Due to the size of the grounds, and for visitors’ convenience, the museum offers complimentary trams back and forth between the art museum, mansion, circus museum and the entrance.

I have been to this museum dozens of times, but each time I discover something new, and this time was no exception. It is great for a one time visit or every few weeks to catch the rotating special exhibits. The Ringling Museum is a fantastic way to spend an hour or even all day in Sarasota. The art museum is host to tremendous works from artists by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt, El Greco, Marcel Duchamp and many more. What brought me here this trip, in addition to it had just been a while, was a new exhibit that opened last month. The American Moderns collection was beautiful. There were artists of many different modern styles, but my favorites were Norman Rockwell’s The Tattoo Artist and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Pansy & Forget-Me-Nots. Just a head’s up, pictures are not permitted in the special collections, unlike the rest of the museum where photography is allowed as long as it is without flash.

The artwork at the museum is only possibly paralleled by the museum and gardens surrounding it. Ceilings seem to stretch 30 – 40 feet high, which is perfect for displaying the gigantic canvases from Rubens you encounter in the first salon. As you continue around to each new room, the ornate designs that greet you are more and more elegant. It is very easy to see the Ringlings had magnificent style and it is carried from the mansion into the art museum. Take time to appreciate and explore the architecture and the courtyard, including the replica of Michaelangelo’s David that is the centerpiece of this breathtaking garden.

I have been to the Ringling Museum for special events after hours several times. Some of my favorites have been charity events around the holidays at night at Ca’ d’Zan and then a separate wine tasting event held outside in the courtyard in the spring. There have also been times where I’ve just explored the grounds and Mable’s beautiful rose gardens. If you get an opportunity, I strongly recommend that you take the time to spend a day at this great museum. If you can go on a Monday or a Thursday when you get even more bang for your buck, even better. The Ringling Museum also regularly holds special events like live music, movies and even yoga on the terrace.

Follow the Ringling Museum on twitter at @theRingling. They also have a fantastic app for smartphones that offer gallery pictures, gps enabled maps, hours, and great info about the museums. It can be found by searching the app store for Ringling Museum Guide.

Have you been to Sarasota to visit the Ringling? It is amazing and I hope you all get the chance to explore this beautiful complex of museums.

 

Ringling Museum Entrance
Ringling Museum Entrance
Ca' d'Zan sign
Ca’ d’Zan sign
Circus Museum
Circus Museum
Beautiful flowers on the grounds
Beautiful flowers on the grounds
Hidden seating areas
Hidden seating areas
Path through the gardens
Path through the gardens
Seating area by the pond
Seating area by the pond
Another seating area
Another seating area
Museum of Art entrance
Museum of Art entrance
Rubens
Rubens
Rubens Gallery
Rubens Gallery
Doorway into second salon
Doorway into second salon
Religious artwork
Religious artwork
Rembrandt's Lamentation
Rembrandt’s Lamentation
Arcade
Arcade
David in the courtyard
David in the courtyard
Replica of Michaelangelo's David
Replica of Michaelangelo’s David
Looking from the courtyard onto Sarasota Bay
Looking from the courtyard onto Sarasota Bay
Courtyard looking towards entrance
Courtyard looking towards entrance
Sarasota Bay
Sarasota Bay
El Greco's The Crucifixion with Mary and Saint John
El Greco’s The Crucifixion with Mary and Saint John
Diego Velazquez' Philip IV, King of Spain
Diego Velazquez’ Philip IV, King of Spain
Salon
Salon
Ornate ceiling
Ornate ceiling
Woodwork detail
Woodwork detail
Gallery
Gallery
Marcel Duchamp's Sur la Falaise (On the Cliffs)
Marcel Duchamp’s Sur la Falaise (On the Cliffs)
Museum lobby
Museum lobby
Courtyard
Courtyard
Courtyard panorama
Courtyard panorama
Palm tree lined path
Palm tree lined path
Ship captain's house
Ship captain’s house
Statue lifted into banyan tree roots
Statue lifted into banyan tree roots
Secret garden
Secret garden
View of Sarasota Bay
View of Sarasota Bay
Tree lined entrance to Ca' d'Zan
Tree lined entrance to Ca’ d’Zan
Approaching Ca' d'Zan
Approaching Ca’ d’Zan
Ca' d'Zan through the trees
Ca’ d’Zan through the trees
Ca' d'Zan
Ca’ d’Zan
Ca' d'Zan entrance
Ca’ d’Zan entrance
Ca' d'Zan is full of amazing architectural details and colors
Ca’ d’Zan is full of amazing architectural details and colors
Ca' d'Zan panorama
Ca’ d’Zan panorama
Amazing ceiling
Amazing ceiling
Beautiful details
Beautiful details
Gorgeous stained glass windows
Gorgeous stained glass windows
Moorish influence in the archways and windows
Moorish influence in the archways and windows
Balconies
Balconies
The patterns are stunning
The patterns are stunning
Stained glass windows
Stained glass windows
Longboat Key on the other side of Sarasota Bay
Longboat Key on the other side of Sarasota Bay
Mable's rose gardens
Mable’s rose gardens
Take time to wander these rose gardens
Take time to wander these rose gardens
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Palma Sola Botanical Park

Sunday afternoon I decided to take an hour to visit a place that would allow me to exercise my creative outlet via photography. Palma Sola Botanical Park in Bradenton is a beautiful park just minutes from the beaches of the Gulf Coast about an hour south of Tampa. The location is absolutely gorgeous, but this was only the second time I visited the gardens, the first being for a friend’s wedding three years ago.

I knew that rain was a possibility, but I opted to take the chance and headed off to the park despite the fact it was sprinkling as I left my house. The botanical park is only about ten minutes from my house, but by the time I arrived the skies opened up and there was a torrential downpour. After waiting out the rain and asking the rain gods for at least a half hour reprieve, the skies temporarily cleared enough for me to venture out with my DSLR.

The grounds at the park are fantastic and spread out over 10 acres of land. There are pavilions for hosting parties, and there was a birthday party going on while I was there. Gazebos and benches are scattered around the grounds providing shade and occasionally shelter from the storm. Paths wind around ponds leading you to explore the incredible flora the park offers. A great playground is also situated on one side of the park for the kids to burn off some steam.

I spent about an hour strolling around the park trying to capture the flowers and plants immediately after the rain, still glistening with drops. Some of the shots came out exactly as I had envisioned, while others didn’t quite come out the way I planned. I hope you will indulge me and enjoy the pictures I took around the park.

Palma Sola Botanical Park is a great way to spend an hour or so, or even for a special event. The grounds are gorgeously maintained and provide a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of every day life. If you get an opportunity, take a drive and come visit this free park in Bradenton.

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Winter Jam JAMS out in Tampa

Winter Jam

This past Saturday Shalon and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular in Tampa. Being the music lovers that we are we jumped at the chance. Winter Jam is a Christian Rock concert that has toured since 1995. It was started by the group New Song and has grown with popularity over the years. At the heart of Winter Jam is ministry and it’s commitment to no tickets and only $10 at the door. This remains a unique characteristic to Winter Jam and underscores the importance of making the event affordable for families, individuals and groups of all sizes. Luckily the tour made a stop close to us this year and we were able to go!

Having made friends with Royal Tailor when we were at Night of Joy, we were super excited to see them again in Concert. We knew that there were a bunch of bands performing and that while each group only had time to do 3 or 4 songs, we would get to see the best that each band had to offer!

Up first was a band called Capital Kings who we learned were a Electric Pop duo who had the whole forum on their feet when they performed in the very center of the floor!

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Next up was OBB (which stands for Oswald Brothers Band) An adorable band of brothers who had great harmony and chemistry on stage! We were instant fans!

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Up next was American Idol Alumni Jason Castro! Always love listening to his voice and guitar playing! Kid is seriously talented and he always puts on a great concert!

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Performing next was of course the highlight of our night Royal Tailor. We were so fortunate to be able to get to know Tauren, Blake, DJ and Jarrod when we had dinner with them during Night of Joy and we beyond thrilled to see the guys in concert again! This time as fans and friends! And they did not disappoint!  The boys were on point and kept the crowd happy their whole set! There was even a youth group that leaned the dance from their video Make A Move. It was Awesome!!!!

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The next highlight for me was the band Red. I have been a long time fan of them and missed them totally due to rain at Night of Joy and was SO excited to see them here. I wont ruin it for you, but they had an AMAZING SET!!!!! A M A Z I N G !!!!!!!

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Jamie Grace, Newsong, Sidewalk Prophets and Matthew West were in the next set! All had wonderful performances that kept the crowd all singing and moving the whole time!

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The Headliner and the last act of the night was Toby Mac! If you have ever seen him in concert then you know his energy is exactly what you want to end an evening with! That man does not stop the whole time he is on stage and he MOVES FAST! When he adds in all his people, it is a show that is always worth it!!!!!!

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After the concert each of the bands did a meet and greet with fans and signed CDs and shirts and things! Luckily we got to see our favorite Royal Tailor Guys and say hi to them again! It was nice to be able to talk to them and make plans for when they return to Florida.

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Shalon and I had a BLAST at Winter Jam and If you have the tour coming near you soon, spend the $10.00 and go for yourself! Even if you are only a fan of one or two of the artists, it is totally worth it!!!! Thank you to Carol with Winter Jam for allowing us to come to the concert!!!!!

We have a TON more pictures from the concert on our Facebook Page! Also keep an eye on our YouTube page as well for some clips!!!!

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TobyMac To Helm Winter Jam 2013 Blockbuster Line Up

WinterJam

 TobyMac To Helm Winter Jam 2013 Blockbuster Line Up

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The groundbreaking Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the #1 tour in the world (first quarter) for two consecutive years, revealed its blockbuster 2013 artist and city line-up during a special launch event held earlier this evening at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Founded and hosted by GRAMMY®-nominated Christian music mainstay NewSong and presented by World Vision, the Winter Jam 2013 Tour Spectacular will be headlined by GRAMMY®-winning, multi-platinum recording artist TobyMac. The 44-city tour will also feature RED, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Sidewalk Prophets and Royal Tailor, with a message from national speaker Nick Hall. In addition, the Youth Music Vault Pre-Jam Party will include performances from Jason Castro, OBB and Capital Kings.

Kicking off its 18th year January 4 at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, the tour is slated to stop at Chicago’s Sears Centre Arena; Philips Arena in Atlanta; Cincinnati’s U.S. Bank Arena; Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena; the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee; The Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri; and Charlotte, North Carolina’s Time Warner Cable Arena, among other leading venues, before concluding March 30 at San Antonio’s AT&T Center. Winter Jam admission is $10 at the door, with no ticket required.

“As we prepare for Winter Jam’s 18th year, we are more passionate than ever about the ministry that drives the tour,” said Eddie Carswell, creator of Winter Jam and founding member of NewSong. “Led by TobyMac, this year’s line-up represents the diversity—and future—of Christian music. And we are thrilled that Nick Hall will be back with us to share the Gospel message, as that has always been the heart of Winter Jam.”

Promoted by Premier Productions, Winter Jam 2013 Tour Spectacular partners include the University of Mobile, Teen Missions International, Premier Christian Cruises, Xtreme Conferences, Camp Electric, Wayne E. Bailey Produce, and Texas TransEastern. At each show, World Vision will host the Hoops of Hope Youth Leader Reception, a free backstage event open to all youth pastors and leaders in attendance.

Earlier this year Winter Jam shattered its own record to become the #1 tour in the world (first quarter) for the second consecutive year, according to Pollstar’s 2012 Worldwide First Quarter Ticket Sales Charts – Top 100 Tours. Headlined by GRAMMY®-nominated alternative rockers Skillet, the 47-city tour saw 32 sold-out concerts and surpassed last year’s record attendance by more than 10,000, playing to a total of nearly 535,000 people.

The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, created by NewSong in 1995, has featured the genre’s biggest names—including Skillet, Newsboys, Jeremy Camp, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Francesca Battistelli, Tenth Avenue North and Fireflight—and has introduced Christian music to new audiences across the country, while providing a powerful platform for the Gospel message.

Five-time GRAMMY® Award winner and multi-platinum selling artist TobyMac is known as one of the industry’s “most innovative and visionary artists” (Billboard). With over 11 million units in career sales, his fifth and latest solo project, EYE ON IT, entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at No.1, a first for a Christian act in 15 years, while also topping the overall iTunes Chart just hours after its release. In 2012 he celebrated his eighth consecutive GRAMMY® nomination, while his album Tonight received GRAMMY® nods for “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album” and “Best Contemporary Christian Song” for the RIAA Gold certified track “City On Our Knees.” Prior to kicking off Winter Jam, he headlined his own “EYE ON IT” Tour, and will also headline his Hits Deep Tour in November and December, featuring Chris August, Jamie Grace, Group1Crew, Brandon Heath, Mandisa and Britt Nicole.

NewSong has recorded 17 albums, garnering 20 #1 Christian radio singles and a GRAMMY® Award nomination, in addition to being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, among numerous other achievements. The band’s unparalleled 30-year ministry has been highlighted by such defining songs as “The Christmas Shoes” and “Arise, My Love.” NewSong’s latest project, One True God, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Christian/Gospel Albums chart last year and features the hit single “The Same God.” The group’s highly-anticipated new recording, Swallow The Ocean, is slated to bow in February. For further information on NewSong, visit www.newsongonline.com.

A complete list of Winter Jam 2013 Tour Spectacular dates and cities is available at www.jamtour.com. For further information, visit www.turningpointpr.com.

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