Free and cheap kid fun this week
Don't let your light wallet get you down, my little sippy cups. It's time once again to peruse the bargain bin of events and deals and find ways to spend these hot summer days:
For only $5 you can geek out at the Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention, where there will be 85 tables of comic books, videos, toys, action figures, anime, artwork and trading cards. You can also chat up comic book artists from Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man, Conan and Iron Man and meet George Lowe, the voice of "Space Ghost" and others. Lots of costumed characters will be roaming and there will be a costume contest and film festival. It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Doubletree Hotel, 4500 W Cypress St., Tampa. It's $5, 12 and younger free. (727) 522-9032.
You can drop off your teens tonight (8/5) for a cheap night of water slides at Teen Tidalwave Tuesdays at the Highland Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. in Largo. It runs 7 to 9 p.m. for ages 11-17. Chick-fil-A will provide snacks and the Xtreme Fun Center will oversee giveaways. Admission is $3.
Sarah Hickman's award-winning children's music series includes Newborn, a CD of songs for parents to sing to their children, Toddler, a collection of 31 one-minute songs, and Big Kid for the pre-teens. WMNF is sponsoring a special kids show at 1 p.m. Saturday at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa. Tickets are $7 at 910 Skipper Road in Tampa. (813) 977-6474. To check out her show for adults, she's performing Friday night at Skipper's with the young New Orleans roots artist Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys at 8 p.m.; tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.
Did you know frogs croak with a purpose? Brooker Creek's free program Saturday What's In a Frog's Song? teaches about common frogs and what they can tell us about the environment, with fun tricks for recognizing and remembering frogs by their "songs." For families and children ages 8 and older at the Environmental Education Center at Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. It's Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m. Call (727) 453-6800 to reserve a spot.
MOSI's Back-to-School Health and Safety Fair on Saturday will have a price break ($10 admission vs. the typical $23.95). You'll find wellness and child safety tips, information on area resources like after-school programs, tutors and a Kids Fun Zone with inflatables, crafts, entertainment and more. Special admission ticket for day also includes MOSI exhibits, Kids in Charge! and the Dinosaurs exhibition from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $10; younger than 2 free. (813) 987-6100. mosi.org.
Dude, catch some air at the Crimson Ollie Skateboarding Contest on Saturday. Civilians will need to be told that an “ollie” is a basic skateboarding trick used to jump a curb and — look ma! — no hands. The contest is sponsored by Crimson Skateboards and put on by Finest Skateshop at 5 p.m. Saturday at Skatepark at St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. Free. Music follows at the skate shop at 8 p.m., 6574 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 343-4124. Expect giveaways from Red Bull and Crimson Skateboards.
The Campo Family YMCA in Valrico will open its new Family Fun Pool with a free party Sunday so kids can play on the new slides, water spray play structure and a zero depth entry fun pool. Because a lot of people are expected, you may have to wait for a time slot to swim, organizers tell me, but there will also be a refreshments, a bounce house, rock climbing and other family activities. It's 1 to 5 p.m. at 3414 Culbreath Road in Valrico. Phone: (813) 684-1371.
Homeschoolers, mark your calendars that Monday (8/11) MOSI is holding a free open house for homeschools from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a preview of the MOSI Homeschool Education programs for the 2008-2009 school year, science demonstrations throughout the day and a 20 percent discount on MOSI memberships. Even better news: the kids are welcome to attend with you.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne