Free and cheap things to do with the kids
Summer’s here. No more teachers, no more books and now, no more money for entertainment. Here’s some free and cheap options:
Saturday has been deemed National Trails Day, a day for woodsy walks by the American Hiking Society and some local parks are getting in the spirit. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Booker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs, there will be free activities, including educational programs on bald eagles, stories by the St. Petersburg Times’ Jeff Klinkenberg, a children’s self-guided scavenger hunt, birds from the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, music, silent auctions and more. Over at Hillsborough River State Park, the Suncoast Sandpipers Volkssport Club will hand out directions for a marked trail from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Walk fee is $2; kids walk for free and there is a $4 per car charge to enter park.
Bait, poles and food are provided free for the Children’s Fishing Derby, the Pinellas Park Kiwanis Club’s annual family fishing event for children ages 12 and younger. There are prizes for biggest and smallest fish in different age categories. The fun starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Freedom Lake Park, 9990 46th St. N in Pinellas Park.
It’s hot out, so the Walk for Lupus Now is a climate-controlled walk in Tropicana Field on Saturday morning. There will be appearances by Big Nasty, Miss Florida, Raymond, Bucs cheerleaders and entertainment by Nerissa Prest, Mystic Sheiks of Morocco, a moonwalk, face painters, clowns, magicians and more. It’s free, but donations are appreciated to benefit the Lupus Foundation of America Greater Florida Chapter. Check it out from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Tropicana Field, 1 Stadium Drive, St. Petersburg.
The Northeast Park Neighborhood Association is hosting its first Dog Days of Summer Party at Crisp Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to celebrare the end of the school year. The party will include a 30-foot inflatable slip and slide, a moonwalk, music, interactive games, a cookout and arts and crafts. The party is free and they are asking for neighbors to come on out and meet each other. Sounds like fun.
Bring the family to Ybor City to celebrate the first anniversary of the Ybor ARTWalk at various venues in the neighborhood from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. Also, the Ybor Art Colony will host a free VIP reception from noon to 6 p.m. at the hospitality suite upstairs from King Corona’s at 1521 1/2 Seventh Ave. Complimentary snacks and nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages will be available. Afterward, stroll along and visit the working studios of Historic Ybor City’s diverse art scene. More than 18 galleries and cultural venues are participating in the event and some will offer special discounts. Pick up a guide map with specific locations at any gallery in Ybor City. The ARTWalk will take place the first Saturday of each month. For details, call (813) 495-4649.
If you see some tiny titans walking the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend, you can be assured that they are in town for the IronKids event slated for 8 a.m. Sunday at Spa Beach Park. But even if you aren’t a part of the race, you can still be a part of the action at the IronKids Expo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday on the Pier approach, 615 Second Ave. NE. There will be free bike tuneups and repair tips, tips on how to cut time off your triathlon average and vendors. It’s all free.
Safety Harbor Touch-A-Truck will feature Pinellas County Sheriff’s vehicles, fire department and waterworks vehicles, garbage trucks and more. Kids and adults can grab the wheel or honk the horns of vehicles they see on the streets every day. Vehicle operators will be on hand to talk about their use and how they operate. It's free from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Safety Harbor City Park, 940 Seventh St. S.
Ride the miniature trains of Largo Central Railroad this weekend. Local nonprofit groups sell refreshments on site to raise money for worthy causes. Rides are offered from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday .at the Largo Central Railroad, 150 Highland Ave. SE, Largo. Rides are free but donations for train maintenance are appreciated.
If you are a Bank of America cardholder, you can get free admission to the Florida Holocaust Museum on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The museum is at 55 Fifth St. S, St. Petersburg. Regular admission is $12, $10 seniors and college students, $6 under age 18. Call (727) 820-0100 or toll-free (800) 960-7448 for more information.
Splash into the summer at the free Southwest Neighborhood Summer Kick Off at the Southwest Complex, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. The pool will be open at no charge, floats and inner tubes will be provided and the diving boards will be open for recreational use. Discover Scuba will demonstrate the art of scuba diving and will host a workshop on the sport. Kids ages 17 and younger must have permission from a parent or guardian to participate in the scuba workshop. A hot dog lunch and bottled water will be provided. Families and individuals can also buy summer passes for the complex.
And don't forget to check out the list of free and cheap summer movies for kids. The Beach Theatre is showing Pee-Wee's Big Adventure at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Go out and have a fun weekend!
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson