Free and cheap family fun for the weekend
As the work and school week head toward closure, there are many, many events to keep you busy over the weekend. We've found some great free and cheap offerings to keep you occupied.
One of the best is $5 Day at the Zoo. They only do this at Lowry Park Zoo a couple of times a year, and the crowds can be massive. But if you take advantage of this deal Sunday, go early, enjoy the huge zoo and bring along some water shoes and drip-dry clothes to play in the splash zone. The zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. at 1101 W Sligh Ave. in Tampa. Call (813) 935-8552 for more information.Better eat your spinach, kids, you'll need your strength for the Splash and Dash Biathlon for ages 5-12 that includes a pool swim and fun run through the park at the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. Each child receives an event medal and admission to the Splash Bash at the pool, featuring music, games, water slide fun, contests, prizes and more. It starts at 9 a.m. Sunday and admission is $5. For details, call (727) 363-9245.
Pack a picnic and bring the family for Movies in the Park, this time featuring an outdoor viewing Friday of Disney's The Princess and the Frog at Largo Central Park. Because there is limited on-site parking, you can park and walk from nearby Largo High School and Largo Middle School. Themed activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. (create your own prince and princess crowns!) and the movie starts when it gets dark, about 8. Refreshments will be sold. Admission is free. Visit www.largoevents.com.
The Tampa Bay Rays are back in town and they have plenty of action going on at Tropicana Field this weekend. On Friday, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Carl Crawford T-shirt; Nelly plays the Trop after the game Saturday; and on Sunday, the first 10,000 kids get the Rays light blue cap. If you like your baseball outside, the various minor league teams are playing this weekend too. The Tampa Yankees play Friday night in Tampa and there's a goodie bag giveaway. Tickets are $4-$6. The Phillie Phanatic is in town for the Clearwater Threshers game Thursday night. On Saturday, the Threshers will give away camo hats in its game against the Dunedin Blue Jays. Tickets are $5-$12. Speaking of the Blue Jays, the team honors the military at its game Friday. On Sunday, the team invites you to buy a family four pack of tickets for $28 which gets you food, drinks and bowling passes. Single tickets are $6.
At Tampa's MOSI on Saturday, get the kids into crafting one of da Vinci's war machines during many Tank Day activities. There will be camouflage face painting, demonstrations of military technology, chats with military, police and engineering personnel and live entertainment. There also will be a Robot Junkyard War; Tank vs. Catapult and a paintball fight. Make sure the kids are wearing clothes that can get messy. All the fun is on Saturday at the museum. Go to the MOSI website or call (813) 987-6000 for details.
For some free fun with your four-legged family members, head over to Centennial Park in Ybor City for Good Dog Day! at 9 a.m. Saturday. This kick-off party for National Dog Bite Prevention Week -- there really is a week for everything -- includes dog training tips, contests, dog pedicures, dog bite prevention information, Ask-the-Vet, adoptable pets and more. Well behaved, leashed pets welcome. Centennial Park is at 1800 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City.
This weekend features several wine events that would be perfect for date night or a girls day or night out. But one of them is actually family friendly: The Keel and Curley Winery in Plant City will celebrate the blueberry with blueberry wine, of course, but there will also be pies, muffins, shakes and other goodies. There will be games for the kids, eating contests and of course, u-pick-em blueberries for $3 a pound. Check out the fun on Saturday and Sunday at the winery,
The annual Miles for Moffitt run, to benefit the Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa is Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. The race -- a 5K, a 1-mile fun run and a kids' dash -- is at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa.
For more events, date night tips or dining suggestions, go to tampabay.com/things-to-do. Go out and make it a great weekend.
-- Sherry Robinson and Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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