Free and cheap family fun
Is it just us or is July flying by? Once we hit the Fourth of July, it felt like we were spiraling right into a new school year and the winter holidays. Well, all these weekend events should slow us down. And we'll even throw in a couple of events for Monday. Let's get started.
If you want to have a little fun with the whole family to get the weekend started, then grab your swimsuit, towel and Santa hat and head to Largo's Southwest Pool for the Friday night Flick 'N Float. It's Christmas in July with lights, trees, decorations and visits by the Grinch and Santa Cow. It all starts at 7:30 p.m. with open swimming in the Olympic-sized swimming pool, floating and diving boards open. Lights go down and diving boards close at 9 p.m. for a viewing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Pool lights stay on, so floating is permitted during the movie. Price is $7 for family of five resident, $10 for family of five non-resident. The pool is at 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. Call (727) 518-3126 to get the details.
Woo hoo! Can you say date night? The Friday Night Wine and Music, the summer’s new monthly gathering, seems to be taking off quickly. More than 200 people showed up for the first party at BayWalk, but we suspect the free wine helped. From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly will be pouring free drinks and the courtyard will be the stage for the Tom Mullinix Jazz Quartet. The BayWalk shopping district is at 151 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg.
Now here's something that's fun for the kids but especially easy on your wallet. Through Aug. 2, the Museum of Science and Industry is offering one free child admission with the purchase a full-priced adult or senior general admission ticket. MOSI general admission includes ANIMATION featuring Cartoon Network, MOSI’s entire exhibit galleries and one standard IMAX® Dome Theatre film. And this Sunday, the free kid deal is exceptionally cool because MOSI is hosting a National Ice Cream Day free tasting. From noon to 2 p.m. this cool-themed event features free Blue Bell Ice Cream (while supplies last) and Cryo freezing demonstrations using liquid nitrogen. Tickets are $25.95 adults (13-59), $19.95 child (2-12), and $22.45 seniors (60+). MOSI's at 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Call (813) 987-6000 for more details.
This is always a popular event, so you'll want to go early to $5 Day at the Zoo. On Sunday, the Lowry Park Zoo will once again thank the public for its support with deeply discounted admission. The public returns the favor with massive crowds that likely make up for the price break in volume. Get there early and be willing to wait for the crowd to move on to get a better look at the penguins, elephants, giraffes and 2,000 other animals in one of the most family-friendly zoos in the country. Tip: Wear water shoes and clothes that can get wet so you can cool off in the splash zone. You can't take food in but you can get your hand stamped, eat a picnic lunch and then go back in. The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1101 W Sligh Ave. in Tampa.
The family friendly Michael Jackson Tribute Skate is coming Sunday. That’s right, mama-say, mama-sa, mama-ma skate in the direction of the USA Skateplex, 5313 E Busch Blvd. in Tampa. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., there is a celebration of the life of Michael Jackson with his music, karaoke, a dance contest and other ’80s-themed games. Admission is free; skate rental is $2.50. Can you moonwalk on skates? Feels like cheating.
Flash Gordon, the cheesetastic 1980 fantasy flick about a football player and his friends who travel to the planet Mongo to fight Ming the Merciless and save Earth, is best remembered for its theme song by Queen. All together now, “Dum dum dum dum dum Flash! Aa-aaah! Savior of the universe!” This kids’ matinee is free on Saturday at the Beach Theatre, 315 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. It starts at 10 a.m.
Are you missing the Tampa Bay Rays because they are on the road this weekend? Well, don't fret -- head to the Rays Watch Party at the Tradewinds Island Grand Beach Resort at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Watch the Rays take on the Kansas City Royals on the big screen on the beach. The kids can run around on the beach and you can your towels and beach chairs to enjoy the 620 WDAE live pregame show. Food, drink and souvenirs will be sold. The Tradewinds is at
5500 Gulf Blvd. St. Pete Beach. Admission and parking are free but go early because once the lot fills up, you'll have to pay to park somewhere else.
Bring your daughter and your mother to see Black Girl Speaks, a one-woman show by acclaimed artist Talitha V. Coverson. It's a series of monologues and poetic pieces that illustrate the black female experience. Tickets are $5 at the door Monday at the Shimberg Theater at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa starting at 7:30 p.m. Free to Jobsite Theater season ticket holders.
Also on Monday, check out the Monday Fun Days at the Tampa Bay History Center. This special day of hands-on activities, crafts and performances to add to the center experience. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is “Pioneer Life.” Kids can find out what daily life was like for Florida pioneer families in the late 1800s, what their homes looked like, how they made a living, what their kids did for fun as told through storytelling, games and simple crafts. It’s $2 per child (ages 4-12); free for center members. Admission is adults $12; seniors, college students and youths 13-17 $10, kids ages 4-12 $7, 3 and under, free. The Tampa Bay History Center is at 801 Old Water St., Tampa.Call (813) 228-0097 for details.
We plan to see you around Tampa Bay this weekend.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson