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Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Grand Prix St. Petersburg, Adventure Island opens, Big Bounce

By Sharon Kennedy Wynne | Events Editor
Published: March 7, 2018 Updated: March 7, 2018 at 10:37 AM
DIRK SHADD | Times With the waterfront and Mahaffey as the backdrop, Indy Lights cars race through turn 10 during the Indy Lights race 2 at the the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday (03/12/17).

HOT WHEELS: Firestone Grand Prix

Hear that buzz? The Firestone Grand Prix is once again the opening race for the Verizon IndyCar series on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. But first, runners get a shot at the track Friday in the Firestone Grand Prix 5K. They will begin on Bayshore Drive, enter race track at Turn 9 and run a lap around the track in reverse before finishing in Vinoy Park. Benefits the Police Athletic League. $40. 6 p.m. Friday. For the IndyCars, the 1.8-mile waterfront course with 14 turns also brings side activities such as the Speed Zone, IndyCar Series Fan Village, beer gardens, driver autograph sessions, interactive games and exhibits. Three-time Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Helio Castroneves serves as this year’s grand marshal. Parking available at Tropicana Field for $10 with a free shuttle to select locations along the track. $20-$100 single day. The race track area is next Albert Whitted Airport and First Street SE, St. Petersburg. (877) 725-8849. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

WILD SLIDE: Adventure Island Opening Day

Tampa’s water park Adventure Island opens for the season and debuts its new Vanish Point drop slide attraction on Friday. The name is inspired by the point on a wave where gravity and water combine perfectly. Riders will step into one of two capsules on a 70-foot tower and wait for the floor to drop below them. Those too chicken for the drop floor have the option of getting horizontal on a 455-foot-long slide that ends with a high-speed finish. The water park remains open through Oct. 14. $59.99 online ages 3 and older. Adventure Island, 10001 McKinley Drive, Tampa. (888) 800-5447.

INFLATABLE: The Big Bounce America

A 20,000-square-foot inflatable attraction that’s touring the nation billed as the "world’s largest bounce house" will arrive this weekend in Odessa. The Big Bounce America stops at Keystone Park with slides and inflatable attractions including a Ninja Run, Monster Ball Pit, Lil’ Bouncer and yard games. The family-friendly event isn’t just for kids. There will be separate bounce sessions for toddlers (3 and under), juniors (7 and under), bigger kids (8 to 15) and adults, limited to ages 16 and up. The massive bounce house will be surrounded by a "bounce village" with food vendors, more inflatable attractions and restrooms. Admission is $9-$25 (varies by day and time). (888) 718-4253. 1 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Keystone Recreation Center, 17928 Gunn Highway, Odessa.