Free and cheap family fun for the weekend
Where did the summer go? We are coming to the beginning of school so fast that it feels like we're on a runaway freight train barreling down the tracks to the first day of school. For kids the summer weeks are down to a precious few. And for busy Mommas that means back to school shopping and a search for deals. But before they head back, there is still lots of fun to be had. Let's find a few events to enjoy, shall we?
Speaking of back to school, there are plenty of BTS events going on this weekend. Probably the biggest is the 14th annual All About KidsBack to School Bash which features free bike helmets, samples, bounce houses, a petting zoo, interactive games, face painting, beadmaking, "Batting with the Tampa Bay Rays" and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. Cost is $9, 12 and younger free (limit three children free per paying adult). Go to the Web site for a $1-off coupon. Call (813) 966-5505.
Because it is so hot in Florida, finding indoor play places is a must, especially in August and September. You're in luck because the new Best Party in Town, 12402 Race Track Road, Tampa, is having its grand opening of its Jump!Zone franchise from 1-4 p.m.Saturday. (The couple who operate the facility say that it is located near Westchase in the Tri-County Business Park/Building T. Check the directions on the Website). It's $3 a child to let them go into the 10,000-square-foot air conditioned play arena. There are themed inflatables, including a 40-foot pirate ship; a 16-foot tall Batman obstacle course; and a Jurassic play bouncer. The spot will offer open play, mom's morning out, date nights and parties. There's a special toddler play area and free WiFi and TV in the cafe. The first 100 kids (ages 2-12) in the door will be entered into a raffle for a free party for up to 15 guests. Call (813) 925-1010 for more info.
C’mon, you know you could easily slip into a sing-along of I’m Just a Bill and Conjunction Junction. Now, Gen Xers and their kids can enjoy the musical rendition of Schoolhouse Rock Live (Junior), based on the Emmy Award-winning Saturday morning cartoons. Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Tickets are just $6-$7. Call (727) 587-6793.
If you're searching for something that's a little educational for the kids, try the Hurricanes for Kids class from 10:40-11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. The session features fun experiments and easy to understand language to help children ages 6 and older understand and prepare for what happens before, during and after a storm. It's nice to know, also, that the storm numbers have been reduced a bit because the slow start to the season. Still, it's good for kids to be prepared, like adults, just in case. The course if free but you must pre-register at (727) 453-6500.
Finally, with the death of John Hughes on Thursday, the free showing of Ferris Bueller's Day Off will be somewhat poignant. And though the Saturday morning matinee shows at the Beach Theatre are billed as a kids matinee, we predict older dudes who still haven't gotten over the '80s will totally be taking up some seats. Be there at 10 a.m. Saturday at 315 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. Popcorn? Anyone? Raisinettes? Bueller? Anyone?
And check out all the events that are happening this weekend. Go out and make it a good one before the kids are back in school.
-- Sherry Robinson and Sharon Kennedy Wynne