Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
Instead of making a bore of yourself and bragging to your snow-bound friends about our nice weather, brag about all the free and cheap things we have to do this week. From Monster Jam to $5 Day at the Zoo to free movies and a Wing Fest, we are lucky we don't have to shovel our way out the door to have fun this week. Here's some of the best:
To get us in the mood for the coming of the fairy-tale-themed costume party that is Shrek the Musical, the Riverwalk at David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts will have a free showing of Shrek, the animated film that started it all. Bring a blanket or chair for the outdoor screening Friday at 8 p.m., and bring your camera too. Big cutouts of Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey and Lord Farquaad have taken up residence in the center’s lobby and if weather permits the cutouts will be brought outside for photo opps with the little ones.
Load the kids into the car for a visit with the animals because everyone gets into Lowry Park Zoo for $5 Day at the Zoo. We recommend you go early because it gets very crowded by midday. The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1101 W Sligh Ave. Call (813) 935-8552.
The lowly chicken wing is much more than Buffalo vs. terryaki or naked vs. breaded. Wing Fest is an outdoor music and food festival that celebrates features a dozen chicken wing restaurants, live music tribute bands such as the Journey men of Don’t Stop Believin’ or Livin’ on a Prayer, the Bon Jovi tribute artists. It’s free, but the wings will cost you. Don’t forget to text your vote for best wing for the People’s Choice Award Livin on a Prayer (Bon Jovi Tribute), Rukkus (Top 40 Covers) & April Phillips (Country). Check out the Kidzone or enter the wing eating contest at 4:30 p.m. If you donate blood from 11-6 p.m. at Wingfest you get 10 free wing tickets. If runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg.
Did you miss the monster trucks two weeks ago? They're back! You can also meet the drivers and see the big wheels up close at several free personal appearances this week. But the big show is Saturday and it's a full day if you want to make it into one, with tailgating, meeting the driver, even riding on a monster truck before Monster Jam gets under way in Raymond James stadium. Look here for our guide and insider tips. Tickets are $15-$35. Phone: (800) 745-3000.
You can’t call yourself a true Floridian if you don’t know the gorgeous prose of the early 20th-century writer Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) who once said of her folk tales, “I’ve got the map of Florida on my tongue.” At Florida Folk and Their Tales on Monday at the Studio@620, Phyllis McEwen brings to life Hurston’s folklore, spirituals, work songs and comedy. Reservations recommended for the 7:30 p.m. show at 620 First Ave. S, in St. Petersburg at (727) 895-6620. Free.
Breakfast with Dalí for Families is back, now at the new museum that’s getting lots of buzz in the travel world. It’s a deal, too. For the price of regular admission, you can explore the Dalí Museum in a tour expressly designed for children ages 5-12, with Dalí paintings and other works chosen that especially appeal to children. The tour is followed by a breakfast buffet as well as hands-on activities. Advanced purchase required. Contact Bethany Mead, education coordinator at (27) 623-4730 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase online Cost: $21 per adult, $10 per child (6-12); Member admission: $10 per adult, $5 per child.
Get ready to shred. Saturday at noon is an Extreme Sports Free Event. Largo Skate Park invites all extreme bikers and skaters to free open skate and bike night. Bikes only noon-3 p.m and skaters only 3-6 p.m. It's free at the park at 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo.
It may sound like a euphemism for passing gas, but the air potato is worse. These invasive, fast-growing vines with heart-shaped leaves and toxic little tubers can grow 8 inches a day and choke out a nature preserve faster than you can roast an Idaho Russet. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is calling on volunteers for an Air Potato Roundup to wipe out the rotten potatoes on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Volunteers 15 and under must be accompanied by adult. Wear suitable clothing and closed toe shoes. The preserve is at 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg
If you’ve traveled at all, you’ve probably used a Frommer’s guide at least once in your life. Now the duo behind those guides is coming to Tampa’s John F. Germany Library on Saturday. The library won the visit after being named the grand prize winner in the company’s library display contest to Meet the Frommers. Arthur and Pauline Frommer, the father and daughter team behind the best-sellers, will offer their travel and vacation expertise during a one-hour program to be held at the library auditorium, 900 N Ashley Drive, at 11 a.m. Free.
M Kids of all ages can ride the miniature trains of Largo Central Railroad. 10 a.m., Largo Central Railroad, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Free (donations for train maintenance appreciated). (727) 587-6775.
Need a camp for spring break? The St. Pete Beach Community Center will be holding its Spring Break Camp for kids in 1st through 5th grades from Monday, March 28th to Friday, April 1st. Camp activities include gym games, park play, time at the skate park and pool, arts and crafts and a field trip to Treasure Island Fun Center. Cost is $100 for the week or $30 daily for residents of St. Pete Beach and $150 for the week or $50 daily for non-residents. Registration is going on now but is limited to the first 20 participants soit will fill up fast. Call the Recreation Division at 363-9245 for more information.
A free seminar for parents and family members of children with developmental disabilities on Saturday may be the help you need. Called Tools Every Parent Should Have, the focus will be on behavior analytic tools and techniques that have proved successful for other parents and families of children and adult children, particularly those who exhibit aggressive and destructive behaviors. It starts at 9 a.m., Suncoast Hospice, 3050 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 580-1384.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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