Free and cheap with the kids this week
Don't let a light wallet keep you home. Here's our look this week at things to do that won't bust the family budget:
The 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay is the largest bicycle festival in Tampa Bay. This year’s promises to be even bigger when it wheels into St. Petersburg's waterfront Vinoy Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Highlights include a drawing for two free bicycles, a bicycle donation station and the city’s bike rodeo. Free helmets will be passed out to kids from noon to 2 p.m. at the rodeo, and several demos will be presented on issues such as fixing a flat and bike commuting. Don’t miss the swap meet where you can buy inexpensive used bikes and gear.
Heads up, Monday is the 20th and that means another chance to take advantage of the Lowry Park Zoo's 20th anniversary days admission special. All year long, the zoo has been celebrating on the 20th day of select months with an admission of $20 for two tickets (ages 3 and older), plus $2 specials for rides and food. Admission is normall $18.95 for adults with rides costing $1 to $3 easch. The zoo, which boasts all manner of zebras, tigers and even penguins, also has a petting zoo, a manatee hospital and aquatic center and an aviary where the birds fly free. Bring water shoes and clothes you don't mind getting wet for the kids' water play area. The zoo is at 1101 W Sligh Ave. in Tampa and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday returns to breezy Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, 2:30 to 10:45 p.m. Saturday (with fireworks at 10:45) and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Best of all it's free to see a great lineup that ranges from superstar crooner Tony Bennett (tonight) to 16-year-old rising star Grace Kelly (Saturday). You can also catch R&B singer Patti Austin (Sunday), smooth-jazz saxophonist David Sanborn (Friday) and neo-swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Saturday). Bring a lawn chair or blankets but no coolers or pets.
Mmmmmm, donuts. Friday marks the new Dunkin’ Donuts grand opening at 7595 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Mayor Rick Baker and Dunkin’ Donuts president Will Kussell will be arriving in SmartCars to highlight the building’s environmentally friendy construction. Free food samples from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Then on Saturday, the same doughnut chain is opening its new location at 7030 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Beginning at 5 a.m. that morning, the first 50 customer through the doors will receive free coffee for a year and there will be giveaways including a flat screen TV, digital camera and Dunkin’ Donuts Gift Cards. Free samples are doled out from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. And don't forget, as long as the Tampa Bay Rays keep winning, you can get a free donut at DD.
For 37 years, the peace-loving Quakers have hosted the free-spirited Circus McGurkis, a people’s fair and peace festival. This year it returns in its traditional form with art, crafts, musicians, dancers, storytellers, community action groups, kids activities and food at Lake Vista Park, 1401 62nd Ave. S in St. Petersburg. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and it’s free.
Busch Gardens has a deal on Thursday nights for groups of four or more who want to get the poop scared out of them at the theme park's Howl-O-Scream on Thursdays for only $20 each. Tickets are normally in the $40 to $55 range depending on the online or resident deals you can get. But keep in mind, this scary place is most definitely not for little kids. Teens and up, however, love the idea of running around from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. (and there's no school this Friday for Pinellas and Hillsborough students). All the rides are open, but there's no costumes allowed. The deal is available on this Thursday and on Oct. 23 and 30.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne