Free and cheap things to do with the family this weekend
So the summer is coming to a close for my kids. They head back to school next week and trust me, they are not looking forward to it. So this weekend, I'm going to make the most of it with lots of fun activities to help them remember that this was a fun summer. Even if your kids have a few more days before going back, you can have fun too. Here are some events to keep you busy all weekend long.
Some of the free family movies are still going on this week. Regal Theaters in Pinellas Park and Tampa are showing Wallace and Gromit and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs at 10 a.m. Thursday. There are a few more free movies remaining next week. Check to see if one is in your area.
Now, we may enjoy going to the Trop to see the Rays but this weekend, you might want to take in some baseball outside that is indeed pretty cheap. The Clearwater Threshers are taking on the Tampa Yankees in some minor league action that reminds us of last season's World Series when the Philadelphia Phillies took on the New York Yankees. There will be giveaways, a concert after the game Thursday nights and tickets start at $4. And remember there is a pretty cool playground at Clearwater's Bright House Field. Now, if you don't mind spending extra bucks, the Rays are in town this weekend taking on the Baltimore Orioles. There will be a T-shirt giveaway at the Turn Back the Clock game Friday and after-game concerts by the Village People (Friday) and Train (Saturday).
If you've got the back-to-school itch, this is the weekend to shop during Florida's tax-free holiday. Starting Friday, state and local sales tax on most apparel, backpacks and accessories priced $50 or less or school supplies priced $10 or less. There's no limit on how many tax-exempt items may be purchased. And here's a great rule of thumb from a story written by Times business writer Mark Albright: Products that conceivably could be used at school qualify. So aerobic or marital arts clothing are exempt, but skin diving suits are not. Book bags and backpacks are exempt, but luggage is not. For more information on what to look for and what qualifies, check this Florida Department of Revenue page.
On Friday, you can take the kids to see 2009's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the John F. Germany Library in Tampa. The library has been showing all the previous movies as a gear up to the next Potter film that comes out in November. It starts at 1 p.m. at the library, 900 N Ashley Drive. For info, call (813) 273-3652.
By the way, who says that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day? Okay, lots of people do. But it sure isn't unlucky if you are looking for events to do that day. Check out this list of fun family events that includes a Doggie Ice Cream Social and Art in the Park, both in Tampa.
Get your little engineers chugging over to the Knights of Columbus Hall in Pinellas Park on Saturday for the Train Show and Swap Meet. There will be a model train layout for children, vendors selling and trading trains and tracks and accessories in various scales. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the hall at 7177 58th St. N. $4 adults, 12 and younger free.
It may be the most wonderful time of the year for us, but kids aren't feeling it. You can get the school year off a Back to School Fair at MOSI at 9 a.m. Saturday. It's free for MOSI members and $10 for everyone else. There will be bounce houses, karaoke, games, arts and crafts, face painters and live entertainment. Find MOSI at 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Call (813) 949-4400 for details. And speaking of back to school, let your kids decorate a one-of-a-kind pair at the Morean Arts Center during the Create Your Own Chihuly Shoes event at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. You bring a clean pair of shoes to decorate and for $5 they can spatter paint all over the shoes. Check it out at the Morean, 719 Centeral Ave., St. Petersburg. Get more info at (727) 822-7872. And check out all of this weekend's back-to-school events right here.
And end your weekend on a cool note at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic CenterFamily Fun Day
. The fun kicks off at noon Sunday. Families can enjoy games, music, Scuba demos, water slides and taste healthy snacks. There also will be ice cream and drinks to buy. The center is at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. Call (727) 363-9264 for more information.
For more events, check out the Things to Do at tampabay.com/things-to-do. Go out and make it a great weekend.
~ Sherry Robinson