Free and cheap things to do with the kiddos
Gather 'round, my little chicken nuggets, it's time to look into our box of events and scout the free and cheap deals to be had this week in the dog days of summer.
The Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay 2008 is free for spectators to watch this quirky competition of human-powered flying machines at the Tampa Convention Center on Saturday. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first flight is at 1 p.m. Check out the videos on this site, it's hilarious. Check out for reporter Susan Thurston's story on Tampa Bay teams, including Petey the Projectile Pirate Parrot. Here's the particulars you need to know about parking and where to watch.
The Tampa Bay Rays are back in town starting Friday (let's hope they get off this nasty losing streak). Sure there's baseball, but there's also my beloved free stuff. I don't care if it's junk. If it's free, gimme it. So here's the swag this weekend. Friday’s game against Toronto is Dollar Dog Night and Hess will be giving away $5,000 worth of $5 gas cards to fans during the game. Saturday you can snag a flashlight key chain and a concert by Hammer ("Can't Touch This") after the game. And Sunday, the kids can get a free Rays backpack. And of course, the kids can run the bases after the game.
Take a walk through time each Saturday morning at Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs. A free guided hike along the Education Center trail (about three-quarters of a mile) looks at how the land has changed over time and discusses the ecological footprints left by those changes. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are a must, and water, sunscreen and a hat are recommended. It's free but you have to register in advance at (727) 453-6800. Hikers should be 6 years or older. The education center is at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. Saturday's hike is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
On Saturday, the same weekend "The Dark Knight" opens, parents might be worried about taking smaller kids to see a Batman movie that's dark, violent and nightmare-inducing (but still promoted heavily on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, of course!) This is why the Beach Theatre is showing the campy 1966 Adam West "Batman" at 10 a.m. as part of its summer kids movie series. Best of all, it's free. The theater is a 315 Corey Ave. in St. Pete Beach. Other free flicks this summer include free movies Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Regal theaters at 10 a.m. and $1 movies at AMC theaters on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. You may decide that the Dark Knight toys are about as close as you want your tots and tweens to get to the movie. If so, check out this toy test.
Finally, if you are looking for a cool and delicious freebie, look no further than celebrating National Ice Cream Day from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday at MOSI. The ice cream is free but admission is not. Check out the details here. And on Tuesday (July 22) you can get a free scoop, no strings attached, at from noon to 6 p.m. at both Tanya & Matt’s Ice Creamiest & Ice Sculptures locations: WestShore Plaza food court and 15742 N Dale Mabry. You can have your face painted, sit on an ice throne and, at 6:30 p.m., enter the 15th annual ice cream eating contest.
Now all you tightwads have no excuse to stay home.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne