Win an Alden Vacation and a Trip to the NEW Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center!

Have you visited St. Petersburg’s new Pier yet? Not only is it a fabulous dining and entertainment district, but it’s also the home to the brand-new Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center! Developed and operated by Tampa Bay Watch, a non-profit founded in 1993, the Discovery Center tells you the story of Tampa Bay’s vast and complex estuary — its history and recovery, and Tampa Bay Watch’s pivotal role in that effort. Next time you’re here at the Alden, make plans to take a short drive to downtown St. Pete and check out our newest attraction.

The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center is the place to go for an entertaining, hands-on experience. We ALL love the Tampa Bay beaches, and there’s a reason why our water is so clear and our sand is so pure and white. Find out all you need to know about Tampa Bay’s unique ecosystem, right in the middle of it all! Tampa Bay Watch has been working for over 30 years to clean up our shorelines, and they do it in very unique ways. The Discovery Center’s Estuary Habitat and Touch Tank are key to understanding how the whole ecosystem works together- showcasing a variety of species found in Tampa Bay waters.

If you’re looking for a rainy-day family outing in St. Pete, the Discovery Center is just the ticket.  But the Discovery Center is not strictly an indoor experience. They also have a cool “wet classroom” with an amphitheater-style observation deck that hosts outdoor demonstrations.

The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center is a perfect family activity for visitors to St. Pete Beach, and it also plays host to a variety of fun and educational events. Science Saturdays, Squid Encounters, and Adult Trivia nights are just a few of the featured activities that visitors to the Discovery Center can look forward to in the coming months. Click here to see all the fun coming your way!

The Alden is a proud sponsor of Tampa Bay Watch, having donated tens of thousands of dollars to the nonprofit over the last few years. We’re so excited to finally have a concrete way for our guests to experience the Watch’s vital work for themselves. That’s why we’re offering a special contest to award one lucky family with a Family Fun Day at the Discovery Center!

AND NOW, IT’S YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

We’re teaming up with the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center to give away an amazing prize. Here’s how to enter:

On Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, share a photo or two of how YOUR family helps keep our planet healthy. Whether it’s recycling at home, picking up trash, drinking from reusable water bottles, or volunteering with a local environmental group, we want to see what you’re up to! Make sure to use the hashtags #dawnofdiscovery #aldenwow and #aldendiscovery and to post publicly so we can see your picture!

We will pick one person to win a Family Fun Day gift basket that will include these two adorable plushies, a Tampa Bay Watch hat, 4 Tampa Bay Watch bandannas, a family 4-pack of tickets to the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, and a 2-night stay at the Alden.

Mary Ann Renfrow, the Alden’s Director of Community Relations, will announce the contest winner LIVE on Facebook on Monday, September 28. So get to saving the planet and sharing your stories today!

Alden Suites Celebrates Tampa Bay Watch Month in April

Alden Suites Beachfront Resort has been supporting Tampa Bay Watch with donations, event hosting, and volunteer activities for several years, and in April 2019, we are inviting our guests to get in on the fun. Tampa Bay Watch improves life for everyone in Tampa Bay through true grassroots efforts. Tampa Bay Watch builds oyster shell bars and oyster domes to promote oyster growth along man-made and altered shorelines of Tampa Bay with the help of volunteers.

Peter A. Clark, President of Tampa Bay Watch, Inc., notes that due to community support and involvement in Tampa Bay Watch, “water quality is best in the bay since the 1950s, seagrass has recovered 20,000 new acres since the 1980s, and fish and wildlife are returning to the bay as a result of these improvements.”

Mary Ann Renfrow, the Alden’s Director of Community Relations, serves as Chairwoman of the Board of the Tampa Bay Watch. Her team is working on a new Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center at the St. Pete Pier. A perfect destination for St. Pete Beach visitors, the amphitheater will seat about 180 people and serve as an outdoor classroom for the Discovery Center.

During the month of April, guests will learn all about Tampa Bay Watch and our local environment throughout the Alden Resort. There is a display in the lobby, posters in the elevators, laundry room, and at the bar. Tampa Bay Watch brochures are also available at check-in for guests to learn more and to have the opportunity to make a donation or become a member. 

At the Alden Suites Cabana Bar, Chris and Dave are serving up signature Tampa Bay Watch specialty drinks, one called the Salt Marsharita, and another, The Palm, that’s named for the TBW Mascot. The Cabana Bar is also decorated with vertical oyster gardens, oyster domes, and table tents, allowing Alden guests to see how the Tampa Bay Watch works to clean up the bay.
Mary Ann Renfrow shares: “We are so happy to share the Tampa Bay Watch story with our guests this April as part of our #ALDENWOW50 celebration. Our guests are a part of this effort too since a portion of your tourist development tax when you stay in hotels like the Alden goes to pay for beach nourishment. If you’re enjoying the beaches, you have Tampa Bay Watch to thank!”

The Alden Gives Back, more than EVER, in 2019!

Here at Alden Suites Beachfront Resort, we are honored to participate in our St. Pete Beach community by supporting meaningful local causes. It means so much to us that we have the opportunity to give back, and over the years, we’ve donated millions, both in dollars and in-kind donations, to causes that benefit St. Pete Beach and beyond. To celebrate our 50th anniversary of ownership by the Renfrow family in 2019, we are taking it up a notch with some major new charity initiatives.

Mary Ann Renfrow, the Alden’s Director of Community Relations, serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Tampa Bay Watch. We’ve supported the Tampa Bay Watch with monetary giving every year, including a $25,000 donation in 2018. In April 2019, Tampa Bay Watch will be featured on-site at the Alden, with demonstrations, displays, and opportunities for guests to learn more about the vital work that the Watch does to keep our waterways and beaches clean and healthy.

Our President, Gary Renfrow, led an Alden-sponsored team of golfers in this year’s First Tee of St. Petersburg Brittany & Friends Celebrity Pro-Am this past January. The Alden also sponsored lunch for this charity golf tournament, raising funds to teach golf to youth in the area. And the best part is, our Alden Suites team walked away with the first prize trophy!

And in February, Mary Ann Renfrow bicycled all the way from Tampa to Tallahassee, raising funds for the Moffitt Cancer Center with the Cure on Wheels. Riders bicycled for 325+ miles over 4 days later to arrive at the Florida State Capitol. Upon arrival the riders were greeted with a Moffitt Day Celebration and a meet and greet with Moffitt leadership and various lawmakers. Mary Ann and the Cure on Wheels team were also able to lobby with the “Speak out for Moffitt” group, followed by a reception on the top floor of the Capitol.

Leigh Renfrow and Jennie Renfrow Ibarguen participate in our charitable giving by researching and selecting causes to support. They give to the Alzheimer’s Foundation and to lung cancer-related causes in honor of their parents, Bob and Gennifer Renfrow. In addition to these hands-on charitable efforts, we provide in-kind donations via two-night stay certificates. Charities use the certificates for auctions and raffles to raise money for their causes. Just in the past year, we donated to CASA, the Pinellas County School Board, the Optimist Club, Boys and Girls Club, Elk’s Lodge, the Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg, Largo High School, the Breast Cancer Foundation, and many others.

The Alden also donates used furniture and appliances to Habitat for Humanity and PARC. We give blankets to the SPCA and Pet Pal Rescue to help them support shelter animals. And our partially used soaps and other toiletries are recycled to help people in Haiti via Clean the World!

When you stay at the Alden, your dollars go not only to support our employees and their families, but also our community at large. Beach restoration, cancer patients, homeless animals and domestic abuse survivors are all receiving help this year because of you. We couldn’t give back to these great causes without your help, so we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!

Alden Suites & Renfrow Family Donate $25,000 to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Tampa Bay Watch

Here at Alden Suites, we treasure Tampa Bay and do all we can to protect it. For many years now both the Alden Suites and the family that owns the resort, the Renfrows, have donated to support Tampa Bay Watch’s vital efforts to protect and restore the Tampa Bay estuary. 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Tampa Bay Watch, and we are thrilled to announce our donation of $25,000 to this essential effort.

Alden Suites is making a donation of $15,000 and Gary and Mary Ann Renfrow are personally donating $10,000 to jump-start Tampa Bay Watch’s $25,000 for 25 years campaign. The funds will be used for shoreline restoration efforts and for education, teaching Tampa Bay kids about the local ecosystem and how they can help preserve it.We encourage our friends and colleagues to join in and support this nonprofit as they keep our gorgeous beaches beautiful!

Peter A. Clark, President of Tampa Bay Watch, Inc., notes that due to community support and involvement in Tampa Bay Watch, “water quality is best in the bay since the 1950s, seagrass has recovered 20,000 new acres since the 1980s, and fish and wildlife are returning to the bay as a result of these improvements.” This is all done through true grassroots efforts. Local businesses donate oyster shells that Tampa Bay Watch volunteers use them to build oyster shell bars and oyster domes to promote oyster growth along man-made and altered shorelines of Tampa Bay. These oyster reef enhancements attract live oysters, who filter the water of Tampa Bay naturally.

Tampa Bay Watch also provides education to school children in the Tampa Bay area, allowing them to experience the ecosystem for themselves. Clark’s vision for Tampa Bay Watch in the coming years emphasizes bringing young people into the fold: “While involving the community in bay protection activities 25+ years ago was the seed of our institution, addressing the critical need for the next generation to experience and understand the value of a healthy bay is essential. Join us as we begin the next chapter of our organization — as always it will be the community that truly makes the difference.”

 

Mary Ann Renfrow shares: “Gary and I consider ourselves so fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend most of our lives right here on Tampa Bay and the Gulf Beaches. This is where we have raised our beautiful daughter, Stephanie. This is where we have built a successful business on the Gulf, the Alden Suites. This is a place where we have lived our lives, boating, swimming and walking the shores … a place we call home. We recognize that we are so privileged to have this in part because of the dedication of Tampa Bay Watch​, its staff and volunteers, who have worked diligently to restore, preserve and protect Tampa Bay, as well as continue to educate those young people so that they will become stewards of Tampa Bay for generations to come. This is the legacy of Tampa Bay Watch. Gary and I consider supporting Tampa Bay Watch as a part of our legacy. In sincere appreciation and to honor 25 years of serving the Bay, we are proud to extend our gift of $25,000 to Tampa Bay Watch from our own family, and our business family, the Alden Suites.”