Free and cheap family movies throughout the summer
While I was still on maternity leave the summer after my second son was born, one of my favorite things to do was pack him and my older son up and take them to the free movie. Sure, after we bought popcorn and drinks it wasn't quite free, but it was nice to sit in the air conditioning while the baby quietly slept in my arms.
We still look forward to those movies now even though my kiddos are much older. Last year, a big group of us got together and had a lot of fun at the movies. I hope to do it again this year. And you can too because several theaters are showing free or cheap movies. And there are already some film series going on in parks and at smaller theaters. Let's run down the list.
The Beach Theatre on St. Pete Beach will present Pee-Wee's Big Adventure at 10 a.m. Saturday. The movie, which came out in 1985 and is rated PG, features Pee-Wee Herman's exploits as he searches for his stolen bike. Yes, the movie is way older than most of the kids who will see it but it's funny. And the best part about it is it's free and air conditioned.
Regal Cinemas has several bay area locations including Pinellas Park, Largo and Tampa. In most of the theaters, the Free Family Film Festival kicks off June 9 and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The G- and PG-rated movies start at 10 a.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday (some have showings scheduled for Thursday as well). The movie lineup includes Horton Hears a Who, Madagascar 2, Kung Fu Panda and Nim's Island. You can buy tickets for the movies at the Regal box office on the day of the show.
Cobb Theaters has one theater in the bay area, the Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel. The Free Summer Kids Shows will be each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. starting June 9 with a choice of two movies each week. Discount popcorn and soda combos for groups of 25 people or more. Tickets can be purchased only on the day of the show. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Also at the Grove 16, a program for Mommas and babies, Mom's Movie Mondays, includes complimentary pre-movie pampering, giveaways, lunch at the CineBistro restaurant and a newly released "chick flick". The pampering begins at 10 a.m., followed by the movie at 11 a.m. and then lunch after the feature. first up on June 22 is The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.
AMC Theatres Summer Movie Camp will show movies every Wednesday at 10 a.m. this summer starting June 17 with Space Chimps. The movies cost $1 and all money raised will go to Variety -- the Children's Charity and the Will Rogers Institute. Check out the full schedule here. And here's a good deal: During the movie camp, you can get the AMC KidsPack, a kid-size drink, popcorn and snack for $3. That's a $2.75 savings. And for a $1 more, you can upgrade to a regular candy. Usually the snacks are the thing that start to get pricey. But for an adult (who may not eat or drink anything) and two kids, the cost for the movie and snacks is under $10. And if you want to get a group together, you can buy tix a week in advance starting June 10 at the box office or online at participating theatres, Regency 20, the Veterans 24 and the Woodland Square 20.
Muvico Theaters will show free kids flicks at the Starlight 20 in Tampa starting June 16. The movies will show each Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Kids First! Family Flicks are being presented in two Pinellas communities — Safety Harbor on the fourth Friday of each month at sunset and St. Petersburg on the third Saturday at dusk. You’re encouraged to bring a blanket, your pillow and dress the kids in their jammies so that you can put them right to bed at the end of the movie. The featured movie at both is Dr. Doolittle: Million Dollar Mutts. The movie will show on June 20 on the St. Petersburg Pier. The Safety Harbor movies — the next is scheduled for June 26 — are shown at the downtown gazebo on Main Street at John Wilson Park, 401 Main St., Safety Harbor.
And don’t forget to check your local pools to see if they offer opportunities to watch a movie while you float. At the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, you can watch Finding Nemo for $2 on June 25. And at the Southwest Pool in Largo, their Flick N’ Float Movies begin June 26 with Mouse Hunt. The movies, which will run each Friday (except July 3) through July 31 cost $7 with a city card per family and $10 without the card per family.
And Mommas, if you know of any others, give a shout out.
-- Sherry Robinson