Free and cheap family events
Our kids are always wishing that the weekend was five days and the school week was only two. But since that won't be happening soon, you'll just have to pack as much into Saturday and Sunday. And this weekend is filled with activities. Check out these mostly free and cheap offerings for the bay area.
The days are winding down for the Royal Lipizzan Stallions Winter Training. Visitors are welcome to watch the beauty and grace of the original Lipizzan Stallions of Austria as they are put through their paces at their winter training home. See them at 3 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. They will be in the bay area through April 30. Check it out at the Herrmann Lipizzan Ranch, 32755 Singletary Road, Myakka City. Free admission, but donations are appreciated. Reservations required for groups of 15 or more. Call (941) 322-1501 or go to the stallions' Web site for more info.
To get the weekend off to a fun start, leave the kids at home and hang out with the girls at the Corey Stroll which features a scavenger hunt Friday. There will still be the usual live music, wine and light snacks in the Corey Avenue area of St. Pete Beach, but if you follow the clues to figure out what items are being described in the shop windows, you could win gift certificates. It runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Go here for more details.
MarineQuest 2009, the annual open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, promises a chance for the entire family to see what is going on in Tampa Bay. Yes, we mean underwater. There will be a touch tank filled with marine life from Tampa Bay, marine animal origami, fish printing, face painting and construction of a manatee skeleton. For the adults, researchers will conduct seminars throughout the day to discuss current research on fish and wildlife. And there will be tours of the facility. The free event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the FWRI, 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg.
Can't get enough of the water? Enjoy the free Family Fishing Fun Day from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Largo's Walsingham Park, 12615 102nd Ave. N. Poles and bait will be provided and kids can win prizes at this intro to fishing.
Do some good at the March for Babies which takes place on both sides of the bay at 8 a.m. Saturday. A 5-mile fun walk to help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies will be at Plant Park at University of Tampa, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. A 3-mile event walk will be in Safety Harbor at 750 Main St.Both events are free but donations appreciated. Call (813) 287-2600 or go here for more information.
For little ones -- or big boys -- who love motorized vehicles of any kind, then Dunedin Touch-A-Truck is definitely for them. Dunedin Recreation’s event for all ages features 140 vehicles on-site, including monster trucks, heavy-duty construction equipment, fire engines, military and emergency vehicles, motorcycles, helicopters and more. There will also be a petting zoo, pony rides, inflatable games, face paintings and more. The free fun is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Highlander Park, Michigan Boulevard and Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Call (727) 812-4530 for info.
Hundreds of dogs and cats will be on hand at the Pet Adoption Expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Interstate 4 at U.S. 301 N, Tampa. Also on had will be vendors of pet merchandise and you can take photos with the Lightning Girls and Rays Street Team. You can also meet Annemarie Lucas, the ASPCA humane law enforcement supervisory special investigator featured on Animal Planet’s Animal Precinct. Admission is free with pet food donation, parking $5. Call (813) 744-5660 for more info.
Rain washed out the Clearwater Sunday Ciclovia in March, so organizers of this street party are trying again on Sunday to encourage ditching the car for 2 miles of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater. People will be cycling, walking, dancing or simply hanging out for the food, entertainment and activities this ciclovia (Spanish for “bike path,” pronounced see-clove-via), part of Clearwater’s 2009 Fun ’N Sun Festival. It''s free from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Go here to see the schedule of events.
Painting in the Park is a family art happening on the north lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg. There will be demonstrations of unique painting and lots of hands-on activities including kite flying, sidewalk painting, big cylinder painting and a flip-flop mural. It runs 1-4 p.m. Sunday at 255 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg. You can also get one free adult admission to the MFA with one paid child admission. Call (727) 896-2667 for the details.
If you're in the mood for midway rides and carnival food, then the Christ the King Parish Carnival is the place to be this weekend. In addition to the rides and food, there will be games, a cake walk and variety show (Friday), a watermelon eating contest and Dancing With the Stars competition (Saturday) and the Fashionista Fashion Show (Sunday). Hours are 5-11 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 12:30-9 p.m. Sun. Christ the King Catholic Church, 821 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Free admission. $70 unlimited ride wristband; $25 one-day ride wristband; $25 for a strip of 25 individual ride tickets. Call (813) 287-5548.
Get your theater fix on around the bay area. At the Children’s Theater Double Feature, students in kindergarten through 12th grade with the Arts in Motion Community Youth Theater show off what they can do in back-to-back presentations of The Jungle Book and Huck Finn’s High-Tailin’ Adventures. Shows are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Pasco Middle School, 13925 14th St., Dade City. Tickets are $5, $3 grades K-12. Call (352) 424-3246 or go here for more info. Over at Ferguson Hall at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, kids can enjoy presentations of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, two familiar children's books brought to life. Performance is at 1 p.m. Sunday at TBPAC, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Cost is $7.50. Call (813) 229-7827.
Remember that scene in Mary Poppins where the family sings Let's Go Fly a Kite? Well, here's your chance to get in on the act at the Family Picnic and Kite Decorating Party from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Zephyr Park, Third Street and Fourth Avenue, Zephyrhills. Come up with a creative design for a kite and bring a blanket, chairs and a picnic lunch. Plastic kites, beverages and art supplies will be provided. Kite flying follows this event. It't free. Call (813) 783-1315 for the details.
Is that enough? If not here are more events to tickle your fancy. Get out and have fun!
-- Sherry Robinson and Sharon Kennedy Wynne
[Photos: Times files]