Free and cheap family fun this week
Still feeling the summer heat, my little burpee cloths? Take a break from the back-to-school sales and have some fun. We have you covered with this week's list of free and cheap things to do with your kids.
The Loop Fest 2008 Music Festival, part of the 37th annual Old Salt Loop fishing tournament weekend, is for both kids and Southern rock fans. For those up to 18, a free fishing tournament will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Pier in downtown St. Petersburg. Music lovers will gather at Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE beginning at 1 p.m. to hear Joe Rockstar, Exit 28, Stormbringer, Rebel Pride and headliner Southern Rock’s Finest, which includes Dan Toler of the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Stokes of Pure Prairie League, Buzzy Meekins of Molly Hatchet and others. Call (727) 497-1060 or see the web site for more details. Free.
A night hike is a great way to beat the heat with an evening walk in the woods. You can grab a flashlight, bug spray and pick your own favorite spot or take the night hike offered tonight at the Moccasin Lake Nature Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane in Clearwater, starting at 8. This guided hike will look and listen for creatures that prowl the park at night — owls, bats, alligators, opossums, raccoons — you get the picture. Call (727) 462-6024 to reserve a spot. Price: $3.50, $2.50 ages 3-12; younger than 3 free. Next Tuesday (8/19) the Boyd Hill Night Hike will observe nocturnal creatures in the nature preserve at 1101 Country Club Way S in St. Petersburg. The hike starts at 8 p.m. and space is limited. Reserve a spot by calling (727) 893-7326. $3 adults, $1.50 ages 3-17.
Teens and tweens rule on Saturday at the free It's Kids Time Mall Tour at Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sports Profiles Plus will have an SPPKIDS GameZone with Dance Dance Revolution, American Idol, NBA Ballers, Guitar Hero and other games, mini concerts, cardio kickboxing and martial arts demonstrations, jump rope and hoola hoop contests, health and nutrition information, sports trading cards and more. This is part of a 20-city tour and it's all free.
Even if you haven't grown your hair out, you can cheer on those who have at the Locks of Love Day at Bucs and Bulls Heaven, 14823 N Florida Ave. in Tampa on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. People will be cutting off 10-inch ponytails for Locks of Love, non-profit organization that provides children with hairpieces made from donated human hair. Prizes will be given for longest ponytail, youngest and oldest donors and more. But wait, Bucs fans, there's more! This event is held in conjunction with the Pewter Nation Pep Rally so there will be visits from the "Pirate Lady," "Big Nasty" and other super-fans, plus fashion show of new Bucs fan gear. Price: Free
The Lowry Park Zoo continues it's Summer Safari Nights special, with live music by Frog Belly White. It's not cheap to get it, but there's free rides after 5 p.m., including the new Gator Falls log flume ride, and special animal encounters. It runs 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. Admission: $18.95, $17.95 seniors, $14.50 ages 3-11. (813) 935-8552. lowryparkzoo.com.
The whole family can join the New Port Richey street party known as Main Street’s annual A Night in the Tropics, a Key West-flavored romp, with music on two stages, new “Wags, Whiskers & Wine Tasting” event at Cavalaire Square, a classic car cruise-in, vendors of tropical arts and crafts and food, beer gardens and cigar hut. It runs 5 to 11 p.m. Friday in the New Port Richey downtown area, New Port Richey. Free. See the web site for details.
If you haven't had enough school preparation, Paul Acklin's Superkicks, 6240 Fourth St. N in St. Petersburg, is hosting a free back-to-school safety event from 6-7 p.m. Friday. The event will focus on safety to and from school, bully prevention and respect in the classroom. Pizza will be provided after the seminar. For information, call (727) 528-5425
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne
[Times files; photos.com]