Free and cheap family fun
Have you thawed out yet? These past couple of weeks have been crazy cold. But now that the frosty temps are on the way out -- at least for a little while -- it's time to get out of the house and have some family fun. And since it's a long weekend for most of us, it's a good idea to find a way to stay busy.
If you're looking for a free movie, there are two showing in the bay area on Friday. At Theater on the Bay, Kids can enjoy cartoons before viewing the feature presentation, Horton Hears a Who, at the Point behind the Gulfport Recreation Center. Movie munchies will be sold to benefit the Gulfport Teen Council. The cartoons start at 6 p.m. Friday at the Gulfport Recreation Center, 5730 Shore Blvd. S. Call (727) 893-1118 for more information. Over at the David A Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Godspell will be shown outside on the Riverwalk. Check it out at 8 p.m. Friday at the Riverwalk at David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. For details, call (813) 229-7827.
If you're a little sad that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has come and gone, Great Explorations Children's Museum wants to fill the void. Go to the museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a little fun under the "big top" at Circus Circus! There will games, balloons, entertainment, face painting and food. Great Ex is at 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. For more info, call (727) 821-8992.
Who's got the best wings in town? Find out at the Wing Fest gathering that boasts numerous tastings ($5 for six wings) and live music from the Go Daddies, Southern rockers Big Deal and The Defendants. There’s also a kid’s zone, a wing eating contest and more at Vinoy Park, Fifth Avenue NE and North Shore Drive in St. Petersburg on Saturday from 11a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.
There are many, many Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. events throughout the long weekend. Parades, band shows, even some skating events. They are all over the bay area so pick one and celebrate the life and dreams of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
If your child has the gift of gab and an invention to pitch, then run him over to MOSI for a chance to chat with the folks behind the Discovery Channel series, Pitchmen. There will be a session on Saturday from 3-6 p.m. to pick kids ages 17 and younger who have an invention to sell. On Sunday beginning at 10 a.m., those kids called back will pitch their inventions to series host Anthony Sullivan. Those two events are free at MOSI's Whitney Andrews Lang Learning Center. Also on Sunday, MOSI will hold a National Kid Inventor Day event from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. featuring Hunter Morera, who recently won a spot on the upcoming season of "Pitchmen." For that event, you have to go into MOSI. For more information go to the MOSI Web site or call (813) 987-6000.
The Florida Classic Clusters Dog Show is one of the biggest in the country and it's going on right now in Brooksville. On select days through Jan. 24, see all breeds at this American Kennel Club-sanctioned show. There are obedience and rally trials. And you can even see a behind-the-scenes tour of the show. Admission is free but parking costs $5 at the show, which starts at 8 a.m. each morning. You'll go to the dogs at Florida Classic Park, 5360 Lockhart Road in Brooksville. For more details, call (813) 480-3975 or go to the show's Web site.
Show some love for the sirens of the sea at Manatee Celebration Day at Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. There will be talks, movies, children's story times, biology sessions and more. It's all free at the museum, 100 Beekman Lane, Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 937-0686.
If those events don't grab you, there are plenty of others on this list. Go out and have a fun weekend.
-- Sherry Robinson