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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with the kids



fireworks.jpgSummertime, and the livin' ain't quite easy when you are broke. Pour a tall glass and let us show you some free and cheap things to do this week, from early fireworks to movies by the pool, snow and Santa in summer and lots of library fun.

Next weekend, colorful fireworks will be everywhere in the sky for the long Fourth of July weekend. But at least two places will blast off the ’works this Saturday. See them for free at Main Street Blast at Sims Park in New Port Richey, a two-day festival featuring music, a beer garden and more on Friday and Saturday. See their website  for a schedule. Or check out the Threshers vs. Daytona Cubs game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Bright House Networks Field, and stick around for fireworks. Tickets are $5-$9. (727) 467-4467.

The second annual Leon festival in Saturday. Santa will be there, and there'll be a snow. Leon spelled backward is.... Christmas in June. Hyde Park Village is helping out Metropolitan Ministries with this. It's Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at Old Hyde Park Village
1622 W Snow Ave., Tampa.

We posted earlier this week on how to score cheap movies at the theater this summer. In a nutshell:  Tuesdays-Thursdays this summer see free movies at Muvico theaters. This week is Madagasgar 2, next is Hotel for Dogs. The Regal chain, which has theaters in Crystal River, Largo Mall, Pinellas Park, Port Richy and the Citrus Park Town Center in Tampa, has a $1 Summer Movie Express. Find a theater and its list of movies here. The AMC Summer Movie Camp has been discontinued, they say, because of poor attendance. But you can see the first-run summer films like Cars 2 and Mr. Popper's Penguins on some days for $4 if you go before noon on a weekend and before 6 p.m. on a weekday.

At Boca Beth Live, kids can sing, dance and play with Boca Beth and her mascot Boca in this bilingual stage performance that promotes learning Spanish and English in a fun way. Every child receives a bilingual coloring/activity book. Photo opportunities with Boca. $4. Sheraton Sand Key Resort, 1160 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater Beach. (727) 397-6982. 7 p.m. Friday.

Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is having Discovery Days on Wednesday, a summer program in which children ages 5-12 learn through using outdoor play, art projects, nature walks and environmental exploration. Runs through July 27. $10 per class, $55 six classes. Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. (863) 734-1222. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Family Fun Days are back at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center. You get an afternoon of swimming at a very fun pool with water slides and splash zones, music, games, contests, pool basketball and Bingo. $3, $2 children. St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9245. noon-3 p.m. Sunday.

Meet author Michalla Bolton, gymnastics coach and author of the children’s book Harold the Duck Learns to Fly, will read from the book she designed to provide children encouragement and positive reinforcements. There will also be crafts and other book-related activities. Books will be available for purchase. Free. Bayside Gymnastics and Cheerleading, 4400 34th St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 258-4981. 3-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.

Get free rides after 5 p.m. at Summer Safari Night at the Lowry Park Zoo as well as special animal encounters. Included with zoo admission, $23.95, $21.95 seniors, $18.95 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 5-8 p.m. Friday.

Super Duper Mini Chefs combines food demonstrations with hands-on activities geared for children age 3-8 (but up to age 12 can participate). Includes healthy recipes, cooking demonstrations and crafts. Simon Kidgits Club members get a free Kidgits apron. Free. Tyrone Square Mall, 6901 Tyrone Square, St. Petersburg. (727) 345-0126. 2-4 p.m. Saturday.

Families can escape the heat in a 4,000-square-foot game room with balloon artists, face painting, magic shows, character meet-and-greets, TVs and one free kids meal per adult meal for Super Sundays Family Fun Days Additional kids eat for half price. Free admission, food and games additional. Eddie’s Bar and Grill, 1283 N Bayshore Blvd., Dunedin. (727) 734-2300. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

Teens ages 13-17 are invited to party at Teen Night at the Dallas Bull. This dance with DJs spinning country and hip-hop hits. Sodas and water will be sold. $10. Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301, Tampa. (813) 987-2855. 7-10 p.m. Sunday.

Kids pick up their World Passport to explore pirate infested waters in “Cruising the Caribbean.” $10 ages 2-54, $9 ages 55 and older, 1 and younger free. Great Explorations Children’s Museum, 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 821-8992. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

The annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival returns with a wide variety of affordable crafts and a green market featuring teas, exotic plants and gourmet foods. Free. Along Main Street, Dunedin. (954) 472-3755. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

See a special limited screening of Dudamel: Let the Children Play The 2010 documentary is about children and youth orchestras that are emerging across the globe. A viewing of Crescendo -- Why Music is Life, a film that chronicles the importance of music in children’s lives, precedes Dudamel. $12.50. Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 North, Pinellas Park. (727) 525-7777. These films are also being shown at Hyde Park Cinebistro in Tampa and Citrus Stadium 20 in Tampa. 7 p.m. today.

Family Fun Night is a program of family activities and a movie at the library. This portion features Disney’s animated film Ratatouille. Free. Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St. N, Seminole. (727) 394-6905. 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Bring your favorite floatie to watch a film in the pool for Flick n Float with adventure themed games, scavenger hunt, hot dogs, contests and crafts. This portion features the PG-rated film Water Horse. $5, $4 resident. Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. (727) 518-3126. 7:30 p.m. Friday (film about 9 p.m.).

This ones for the tweens. Friday Night Fever Movie Nights lets middle schoolers ride the water slides, swim, float and party with friends while watching movies chosen for students in 5th-8th grades. This portion features Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. $3. St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9245. 8 p.m. Friday.

For Lord of the Rings fans,  see a one night special screening of uncut, extended versions of the original films. This portion features The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. $12.50. Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 North, Pinellas Park. (727) 525-7777. This film is also being shown at Veterans 24 in Tampa, Citrus Stadium 20 in Tampa and Regency 20 in Brandon. 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Movie Monday features Disney’s animated film Toy Story 3. Free. Oldsmar Public Library, 400 St. Petersburg Drive, Oldsmar. (813) 749-1178. 2 p.m. Monday.

Bring chairs and blankets for  free Movies in the Park. This portion features Jurassic Park. Concessions available. Movies begin at sundown. Free. Land O’ Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd., Land O’Lakes. (813) 333-2288. 7 p.m. Saturday.

Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach on Friday features the PG-rated animated film Bee Movie with the voice of Jerry Seinfeld. Saturday features the PG-13 rated film Charlie St. Cloud. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk. Free. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060.

If anyone in your household has been complaining about being too bored, hot or cash-challenged this summer, it’s time to break out of your same old rut and try something new to do. We’ve got a great list of fun getaways that are cool, refreshing, relatively cheap and highly entertaining. Find out where you can dive in crystal clear springs, hike in some amazing state parks or visit wacky tourist stops along I-4. We’ve got tons of ideas

Have a nature lover? Go to Listening to Frogs Talk Ecologist Lance Arvidson teaches you how to identify frogs and their calls in this interactive program. Free (reservations required). Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500. 10-11 a.m. Saturday.
Or go to Naturalist’s Night Out Take a leisurely stroll on the trails and learn to identify some of Florida’s many species of dragonfly with expert Paul Trunk. $3 for adults, $1.50 for children. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727)893-7326. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Corey Sunset Celebration on Friday features wine tastings, shopping, dining, arts and crafts and entertainment. Expect musicians, community drum circles, bucket drummers, fire shows, balloon twisters and jugglers. Free. Sunset Celebration Area, 400 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. (727) 322-5217. 6-10 p.m. Friday.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Friday, June 24, 2011 11:59am]


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