Free and cheap things to do with the kids
From free movies in the pool to a bike safari, to bowling deals to little kids taking over the splash zone, we have lots of free diversions to choose from this week.
We officially have a trend: splash cinemas. There are three places you can see cheap movies while swimming in a pool with kids Friday. The St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center will show The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie at 8 p.m., but get there early to play on the waterslides and in the splash zones. It’s $3, with drinks, snacks and glow jewelry for sale at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive . The Flick n Float movie will be Despicable Me at Largo’s Southwest Recreation Complex, 13120 Vonn Road. It’s $5, $4 for residents, and you can also get a $5 unlimited pass to the pool’s new three-story inflatable slide. Free hot dogs, too. Festivities start at 7:30 p.m. with the movie later. In St. Petersburg, there’s a new Flick and Float at Northwest Pool, 2331 60th St. N. They’ll be showing Madagascar next to a big pool with waterslides and diving boards at 8 p.m. It’s $4, $3.50 for ages 3 to 12. That pool also has a new three-story rip slide, which costs $5 more.
Are you looking for a good spot to watch the shuttle launch Friday? Here ya go. Friday's scheduled launch of Atlantis as the last for the shuttle program has many longtime residents planning to scan the skies when the scheduled time arrives at 11:26 a.m. (That's if the shuttle goes up. There's only a 30 percent chance it will.)
There will be a special guest at the Party for the Paws fundraiser for the Pet Pal Animal Shelter at Ferg’s. Lotus, the famously rescued pit bull puppy found floating in a canal in St. Petersburg with a chain, a lock, an electrical cord and a leather collar wrapped around her neck, will be there about 7:30 p.m. Friday to show off her amazing recovery. After three months, the emaciated puppy is now a gorgeous playful dog with more than 5,000 fans on her Facebook page. Don't you just love happy endings? The party starts at 6 p.m. at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill,1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. The $5 admission includes one drink.
Oakfield Lanes of Brandon has some deals to get you out of the house. Dollar Day Mondays are every Monday from 9 a.m. to noon for just $1 per game. Freebie Fridays is every Friday from 9 a.m. to noon where you can buy one game for $3, get one free. You can also bowl for $2 a game on Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon Monday nights from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The bowling alley is at 1001 Oakfield Drive in Brandon (just south of SR 60 off Kings Ave and Oakfield Drive in Brandon. All prices are per person, per game and do not inclue shoe rental. Phone (813) 681-4783.
Don’t fight this tropical heat; bloom with it. At the Tropical Plant Fair you can get rare and unusual fruit trees, blooming tropical and colorful exotic plants that can withstand summer heat for your landscape, and advice from the Rare Fruit Council. Saturday workshops include fruit tree basics (11 a.m.) and growing ferns (noon), and on Sunday there will be a Pepper Beauty Contest, where you can get in free if you bring a decorated pepper to enter. It’s $5; kids under 12 and members are admitted free at USF Florida Botanical Gardens, 12210 USF Pine Drive, Tampa. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
The free Rock the Park show today (Thursday) at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park will have local faves the Beauvilles, below, Infinite Groove Orchestra and Imagiin360 starting at 6:30 p.m. Pack a picnic basket (or buy food and beverages on site), bring the dog, and if it gets too hot, take a romp in the splash fountain. The park is at 600 N Ashley Drive in Tampa.
Saturday at noon is Parent's Day Out at the Palm Harbor Library. Are the kids driving you crazy and you need a break? Escape the madness for some peaceful adult time by taking them for an afternoon. Price: $4 per child (suggested donation). Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor, 34683
For a mom's night out, see Motherhood, the Musical. The musical comedy that takes a look at the good the bad and the laundry and runs through the end of the month. $42. Jaeb Theater at David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org. 7:30 p.m. today, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
Going Coastal, Fishy Business is an indoor activity for all ages teaches about the fish common to our gulf coast area. Bring a plain white T-shirt for a fish painting project. Free (registration required). Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 582-2100. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday.
The little kids take over the pool and splash zone for Itty Bitty Splashtime Children ages 5 and younger can enjoy the pool’s splash area. $1.50, 2 and younger free. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 9:45-10:45 a.m. Friday, Monday and Wednesday.
The big kids take over on Tuesday nights for Teen Tidalwave Tuesdays Teens and tweens ages 11-17 can hang with friends and enjoy swimming, snacks, games and prizes in and around the pool. $3. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 7-9 p.m. Tuesday.
It's Parent’s Day Out at the Palm Harbor Library on Saturday. Kids get an afternoon of games, crafts, stories and snacks by the Library Youth Advisory Board, while parents get some adult time. Open to children ages 4-9 only. Benefits the library’s teen materials and programs. $4 per child. Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 784-3332. 12-3 p.m. Saturday.
See Family Flix @ Your Library, the PG-rated film Yogi Bear, with Yogi, Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith. Free. St. Petersburg Main Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7724. 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Grab your helmet, some water and a snack for a Bike Safari bicycle exploration of the 245-acre nature preserve where you’ll see alligators, bald eagles, gopher tortoises and ospreys. The Adventure Trek is an off-road ride that requires experience and a mountain bike. (9-10:30 a.m. Saturday). The Leisure Ride is a family friendly ride recommended for those without “off road” bikes. (10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday). Sun block and bug spray are suggested. $5 (includes preserve admission). Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326.
Celebrate the end of the week at the Corey Sunset Celebration, St. Pete Beach’s bi-weekly event featuring wine tastings, shopping, dining, arts and crafts and entertainment. Expect musicians, 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.
Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 is for watching free movies on the beach. Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Friday features the PG-rated film Hoodwinked. Saturday features the PG-13 rated film Pay It Forward. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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