Free and cheap fun for the family
We don't know about you, but between all the last-minute projects, field trips and parties, our purses are just about bust. So finding some free and cheap entertainment for the kids is just what the banker ordered. There is plenty going on this weekend. And the rain is supposed to stay at bay. Check out the choices below.
The Beach Theatre and the Galaxy Center for the Arts will present special live performances at the theater, 315 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach, at 10 a.m. Saturday. The show will feature performances by current pupils and returning grads as well as mixed media entertainment on the big screen. Special guests will be the Next Exit Band. For more info, call the theater, (727-360-6697) of Galaxy, (727) 548-8383.
The Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo has a lot of information on how to batten down your hatches, plan for pets, care for seniors, and more. While the expo, held at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry, is free, for $8 you can gain gallery admission to MOSI and an IMAX viewing. It runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at MOSI, 4801 E Fowler Ave. And don't forget that when kids start asking questions about hurricanes, there are ways to calm their fears.
There will be lots of activities during Kids Appreciation Day at Seminole City Park on Tuesday, the last day of school for Pinellas County kids. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., there will be a bounce house, clowns, karate demostrations, a DJ, a melon-eating contest, games, refreshments, door prizes and more. It’s free, but donations are appreciated. The park is at 7464 Ridge Road.
Taste of Pinellas, the annual food tasting festival that benefits All Children's Hospital, is free to enter and there's lots of distractions for the kids. The Lunchables team and the sports camping company Camp Woodward is making a stop here where kids can get active by climbing a giant inflatable wall, play a series of educational games on an interactive bus and enter for a chance to win a summer camp experience for them and a friend at Camp Woodward. The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday in Vinoy Park on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. Admission is free. Food tickets cost $5 for eight; most tastes require 6 to 12 tickets ($3.75-$7.50). The concert lineup includes Lita Ford, Night Ranger, Travis Tritt and KC and the Sunshine Band, and there’s also a beer garden, kid zone, Frisbee Dogs Disc-Connected K-9’s, drum circles and more. For a complete schedule and list of restaurants, see the event's Web site or call (727) 767-2001.
The Flag Day Carnival on Saturday at New Jerusalem Haitian Baptist Church, 1912 139th Ave. in Tampa, is a community festival with games, raffles, dunk tanks, face painting, food and live entertainment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5, $3 children (some activities cost extra). Call (813) 787-4838 for more info.
Check out the stage show Party Animals, a one-hour children’s comedy with singing and dancing by the M’Cheany family at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday in the TECO Theater at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets are $7.50. Call (813) 229-7827 or go here for more information.
The Lowry Park Zoo stays open late Friday with free unlimited rides from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the first of its Summer Safari Nights. Guests can also enjoy special animal encounters, live entertainment, food and drinks. Summer Safari Night activities are included with admission ($19.95, $17.95 seniors, $14.95 ages 3-11) to the zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave. Call (813) 935-8552 or visit www.lowryparkzoo.com for details. And on Sunday, the zoo will celebrate Hispanic heritage at FiestaZoo from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The celebration will feature family activities and music that are all included with zoo admission.
Got a bun in the oven? A showcase of free or discounted maternity- and baby-related items and services including sonograms, food samples, massages, consultations by Tampa General Hospital, prize drawings and more will be at the Annual Baby Shower at Seedlings, 1530 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. It’s free to enter and there are free swag bags for the first 50 people from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Get more details at (813) 251-5111.
More than 100 Special Olympics athletes will participate in the Special Olympics Equestrian Sports Championships on Friday and Saturday at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Interstate 4 and U.S. 301 in Tampa. They will participate in barrel racing, dressage, English Equitation, pole bending, showmanship and more. Admission and parking is free for spectators. If you've never been to a Special Olympics even, it truly is inspiring. For more info go here or call (352) 243-9536.
Go out and have a special weekend with your family. And do it for next to nothing.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson
[Photos: Times files]