Cypress Forest Splash Pad

My mom’s group met at the Cypress Forest Recreation Center and hit the splash pad. It was hot, so the kids appreciated the water, and we appreciated the pavilions with the shade! I had been to the splash pad once before, but this time was better because The Younger had friends her own age to play with, and there were no birthday parties to crowd the water.

The kids had a ball! They shot each other with ‘water guns,’ played with the sand toys we brought along, and of course ran just for the sake of running!

This is a cute splash pad, but it is pretty small. The parking is $5 too, which I find steep, but there is a nature preserve in the back and picnic tables to eat lunch at if you want. I think when the weather cools down a bit, it will be a great place to spend the day with the family!

Field of Dreams

The Older had a wonderful opportunity with the Tampa Bay Yankees last night; he got to go on the field, run the bases, and then hit the field with the players for the National Anthem. The team has Field of Dreams events like this for the little league teams in the area, and it was a fantastic time!

Here he is running the bases:

(The Younger got to run the bases too, which was nice)

After they ran the bases, it was time to take the field! The kids got to line up, then they were assigned a player to go on the field with for the National Anthem.

This is my favorite picture (that I was able to capture. I missed the one of the three outfielders giving him high-fives).

It was a fantastic day, and I cannot stress enough how wonderful events like this are. This team and all the staff at the stadium are so friendly, and the kids always end up having a wonderful time. If you are in the area and love baseball, please try to get to a game. You won’t be sorry!

Zephyr Park- Water Play

I wanted to revisit one of my posts from last summer. I know the local kids are out for summer vacation, and I wanted to remind people about this place.

I packed the kids up early this morning and headed out to have some water fun. I decided to hit the Zephyr Water Park from my earlier post and experience my very first splash park ever. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was pretty excited.

When we first arrived, there was no water in the splash area. None. I was so disappointed! But, since I was there, I decided to scope out the park anyway and let the kids play on the playground. Not a bad spot!

The playground, though small, was shaded and had enough to do to keep both The Younger and Older occupied.

After about an hour, another family arrived. To my surprise, they walked into the splash area and turned the water on themselves! Score! Apparently the park likes to save water and energy; another huge plus for me.

They had an absolute blast. There was so much laughter and shrieking, I was amazed the wildlife hung around. They never tired of the spray, and I loved watching them find different ways to play.

After they tired out, we had a picnic at one of the park benches by the lake.

We must have sat there for an hour just enjoying the views and each other. They even got to feed some of the birds that stopped by.

I would absolutely recommend this park. You can’t beat the price (remember, it’s FREE ), and there’s a lot to do besides play in the water. Next time, we’re bringing our bikes to bike around the pond.

Summer Reading and Library Fun

I am a huge advocate of keeping kids reading over the summer. Research shows that kids lose 1 month of learning over the summer, and children who live in homes that that have few books can lose up to 3 months! This is why I spend a lot of time looking for summer reading programs for The Older. Not only is it important for every child, but because his hearing loss is compounded by vocabulary loss and confusion, it’s especially important we keep reading.

For summer reading, I’m a big fan of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge , but I’m also a huge fan of the local library and their summer reading programs! The library closest to my home is teaming up with the Tampa Bay Rays again this year in their Reading Your Way to the Ballpark program in a effort to keep kids reading through the summer by offering prizes after so many books are read (they give you a scorecard to keep track and you have to “round the bases”).

As I was looking through all the summer activities, I found that the libraries in the area are also doing mock camp-outs where they’ll tell stories and sing camping songs, give puppet shows, and host Lego nights. There’s even a Pokemon night and Hogwarts night too! Good to know there are so many fun and free events for the kids this summer.

Be sure to check out your local library and see what sort of events they’re hosting. I’d love to hear about it too!

Cypress Point Park

Another hidden treasure here in the Tampa Bay area! This park is a true jewel, and I’m so happy that we were made aware of it’s existence.

This park is amazing! It’s not crowded at all, and it’s so much closer than trekking to Clearwater or Fort de Soto when you want a quick beach fix. Not only is there the beach that has the view of the Howard Frankland bridge, but there’s also a 0.90-mile asphalt trail for biking or rollerblading (or walking) and 0.44 miles of nature trails for discovering all sorts of neat things, like dunes and wildflowers.

Amenities here at Cypress Point Park include ample parking, ADA accessibility, bicycle racks, benches, boardwalk, canoe launch and picnic pavilions, not to mention fishing, swimming, and birdwatching! You’re also so close to the airport you can watch the planes descent to Tampa International Airport.

Yes, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking (we even saw a dolphin on our last visit!) and the nature finds are pretty neat…

… But really, this is what makes the place so wonderful:

The kids just love it :-)