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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap family fun

It's our weekend, Mommas! We should be able to do what we want but we know it doesn't always work that way. We still have to keep our darling children occupied. So here are some events to get them moving. With a little hope, Sunday will be your day to rest and relax. Look here Friday for a list of places where you can get in free and cheap this weekend.

Now that it has warmed up, several of the local splash parks are teeming with kids cooling off. Dell Holmes Park, sitting along the shores of Lake Maggiore at 2741 22nd St. S in St. Petersburg, has reopened its splash pad for the season. There are other “spraygrounds” at Highlander Park in Dunedin, Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa and Cypress Forest Park in Oldsmar. All are free and are great places to beat the heat that is settling into the bay area. If you get really adventurous, Busch Gardens' new kid attraction, Sesame Street Safari of Fun, has Bert & Ernie's Watering Hole, n awesome splash ground for tots to cool off in. And remember, through the end of the year kids ages 5 and younger get in free.

Bring a blanket or chairs and see E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial for free at the Holiday Recreation Mom_etdrew Complex in Pasco County. The alien that captured our heart lights will be on the big screen at 6:30 p.m. Friday at 2830 Gulf Trace Blvd. in Holiday. Call (727) 942-7439 for details. Or if you prefer your free movies in the park to be animated, head to Largo Central Park on Friday to see Up. Balloon-related activities are planned but hopefully not anything that will lift you into the air.

Math at the Mall promises to be a fun-filled (yes, math can be fun) mathematical journey through the Westfield Brandon mall for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The wee mathematicians will go on a scavenger hunt to solve math problems at “estimation stations” and use problem-solving skills. The first 200 to register will get a free kids meal at California Pizza Kitchen. There also will be giveaways from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the mall, 459 Brandon Town Center Mall. 

Giving food to the hungry gives you more than a good feeling this week. It gets you free tickets to Disney On Ice. Stop by the St. Pete Times Forum box office on Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the food drive to benefit Metropolitan Ministries. The first 150 givers will receive a pair of Disney On Ice tickets, a four-pack of Storm tickets and discounts for other shows. There is no minimum donation. The box office is at 401 Channelside Drive in Tampa.

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid (no, Disney didn’t invent Ariel and company) Mom_balletmermaid comes to life in this Patel Conservatory Ballet Theater production that features ornate sets and costumes. After seeing a handsome prince, the mermaid drinks a magic potion that allows her to dance on beautiful legs to attract his attention. The ballet begins at 7:30 p.m. Fri. $10-$20 in advance; $12-$22 day of show. It's at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Call  (813) 229-7827 for details.

We’re pretty sure that if you eat too many blueberries at the Blueberry Festival, you won’t turn purple like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But it’s tempting to eat so many of the fabulous little bite-size morsels that taste good in pies, pancakes and just about anything you can think of. Enjoy carnival rides, a silent auction, arts and crafts, food, live music and entertainment, a farmers’ market and more blueberries and blueberry goodies than you can shake a stick at. There’s even a best decorated picnic basket contest. Does anyone feel like singing Oklahoma right now? We can just hear Aunt Eller screeching for Curly to sell his gun and horse to get Laurey’s basket! Oh well, there probably won’t be that kind of excitement. The festival kicks off at 10 a.m. Thursday and Friday at the Classic Car Parking Lot, W Lime Street and South Pinellas Avenue, Tarpon Springs. For information, call (727)647-7136.

Mom_sidewalkart The Chalk Walk Festival will feature more than 45 artists creating artwork on 10-by-10 sidewalk squares. The art is amazing and you'll also get to hear some live entertainment. It's going all weekend so you'll have some time to get over to Old Hyde Park Village to see them. You'll find the artists hard at work Friday through Sunday at 1622 W Snow Ave., Tampa.

Head over to Bright Eyes Family Vision Care on Saturday for Baby Day and Baby Tweetup on Saturday. It's free from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 10108 Montague St., Tampa in Westchase. Parents can get a free eye exam for their babies and participate in a tweet party. Other Westchase businesses will also be on hand. And babies get free sunglasses. Awesome. Call (813) 792-0637 for more info.

Are you heading to Moms Nite Out at Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg from 6-9 p.m. Thursday? Well, we hope to see you there. This Mother's Day event is just a few days early but moms can enjoy social networking, interactive activities and food and wine tastings.

Give your little engineers a treat during National Train Day at Union Station, 601 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. The celebration includes live music, special guests, tours of Amtrak equipment, model railroad displays and exhibits from various railroad groups. head over to the station at noon Saturday.

Check out the $5 IMAX special at MOSI on Saturday. Get a ticket to see the eye-popping IMAX Dome film Ultimate Wave: Tahiti and get a popcorn for $5 that day. The film features nine-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater, and follows a quest to find the perfect wave-riding experience. Filmed in Tahiti and among the islands of French Polynesia, the film showcases dramatic giant screen surfing action in a unique Pacific paradise. See the IMAX website for show times. Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry is at 4801 E Fowler Ave. in Tampa.

We gotta stop or we'll be here all day. Find more great events in our new listing that also shows you nearby restaurants, a map of the location and other helpful information. And to find great date night ideas, restaurant reviews, tips on Florida travel, theme parks and more, head over to

-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson

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[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:06am]


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