Free and cheap things to do with kids
After all the Black Friday shopping, we are thankful that you can still find free and cheap things to do around here. Here's some stuff to keep the kids occupied this week.
First of all, if you are looking for things to do with your leftover Thanksgiving guests, check out this story we wrote about 10 ways to entertain them. You'll be happy that you did. If you take our advice and go to the Museum of Science and Industry, make sure you take a teddy bear with you. In association with the Rough Riders, MOSI is collecting teddy bears for the groups annual round up. If you donate a teddy bear you get a free child's admission. The offer is good from Nov. 27-Dec. 21 at MOSI, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Call (813) 987-6000.
Once we all awake from our post-turkey nap, it’s time to focus on twinkling lights and the big guy with the bag full of toys at local holiday tree lightings. On Friday at 7 p.m., St. Petersburg’s mayor flips the switch to light the city’s holiday tree and decorations on the waterfront at Straub Park. On Saturday, Old Hyde Park Village brings in a celebrity to light the 30-foot tree, St. Nick himself, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the shopping village on Snow Avenue in South Tampa. And on Monday, it's Gulfport’s turn, with music, refreshments and lots of lights at 7 p.m. at Clymer Park at Gulfport and Beach boulevars. All three are free, and you can see more holiday happenings around the Tampa Bay area here. And while you're enjoying all that holiday cheer, take Fido or Spot to Old Hyde Park to get a photo with Santa.
The 4th Friday on Cleveland Street block party in downtown Clearwater this month features a tribute to the Blues Brothers, performed by the official Blues Brothers tribute act of the Chicago Bears Football Club (It turns out when the team was looking for a couple of guys to pay homage to the fictional R&B duo created by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, they imported a couple of Tampa performers, Wink Warren and Dave Martin, for every home game). The party runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. in the 500 and 600 blocks of Cleveland Street. Also performing will be the Mainstream Band with Kirstin Joyner. Free.
The weather has gotten so nice, and some of our better parks and preserves are offering guided hikes this weekend. Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs and Philippe Park in Safety Harbor both have free 9 a.m. hikes on Saturday. The Philippe tour requires registration at (727) 669-1947. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is offering a Wildflower Walk to learn the names of many wildflowers and enjoy their beauty on a stroll through the park. It’s $3 ($1.50 for kids) at 1101 Country Club Way S in St. Petersburg, (727) 893-7326
Looking for a cheap date night? We laugh in the face of a recession, at least they do at Sidesplitters Comedy Club where their Laugh Your Can Off food drive gets you free admission to select comedy shows with food donation to Metropolitan Ministries. You can see singer/comedian Michael Mack for free at 10 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday if you help the club in the goal of beating last year’s donation of 400 pounds of food for the needy.
Head out to the Fall Festival at Hire A Pony, 8005 Racetrack Road, Tampa. There will be outdoor activities including hayrides, a train ride, farm animals, face painting, a bonfire and more. It costs $10 for kids and $6 for adults from noon-7 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Call (813) 855-8992 for the details.
And while it is neither free nor incredibly cheap, Sherry and her family were pretty cold at ICE! at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee. But they had lots of fun and you probably will too. Check out her story here for details.
Now this next one is for grandparents so let them know about this free event at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave. The Stories Across the Miles reading program allows grandparents to be videotaped reading a book to their grandchildren. Then grandparents can send the DVD to their grandkids whether they live two blocks away or two states away. In a specially decorated reading corner, grandparents get 20 minutes to read a story so that the kids will be able to see them on the big day even if they can't be in the same room. While the Friday session is already booked, there was such a demand that the library added another day. So now grandparents can also read from 3-7 p.m. Monday. Now, these spots go fast, so call (727) 784-3332 ext. 3018 to make an appointment. And it's open to anyone so you don't have to just be a resident of Palm Harbor. What a nice treat for the grandkids in Poughkeepsie.
And here's a list of plenty of other events to get you up and going this long holiday weekend. You'll be thankful th at you looked at it.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson