Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
Now comes the long lull between breaks. Christmas is behind us, spring break is nowhere in sight. Luckily we have lots of free and cheap things to do when you do manage to grab some down time. From reduced museum fare to a free magic show to dinos at the zoo, we have fun things to do with kids.
Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln! Honest Abe would have been 202 this week, and in honor of our 16th president’s birthday, the History Center has dropped its admission to $5 on Saturday. In addition, the confederate militia of Fort Brooke will appear on the banks of Hillsborough Bay in a re-enactment in Cotanchobee Park. There will also be cooking demonstrations, Confederate and Union drills, children’s activities, living historians in the exhibit galleries and special tours of “Blue and Gray in Tampa Bay.” The History Center is at 801 Old Water St., Tampa.
The Florida State Fair opening today is neither free nor cheap, but the good folks on our Things to Do team have compiled all the deal days they offer admission breaks and ride armbands. Then you can spend your money on a deep-fried Oreo or some of their new belly busters this year (deep-fried mashed potatoes and gravy on a stick? Really? There are no words).
DinoQuest: Jurassic Journey opened this week at the Lowry Park Zoo. Warning! If your kids are easily started by giant snorting beasts, you might have a clinger on your hands. This is a special exhibit of lifelike and life-size dinosaurs. The outdoor display features towering dinosaurs that move, blink and roar. Additional attraction fee: $4. 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. Zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. Also Dino Nites, an after-hours event 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with access to some rides. $9.95. Ages 2 and younger free.
Show the kids what music you annoyed your parents with at the free Queen and AC/DC tribute. It will be a night of ’70s crunch and glam, towering shrieks and nasty guitar riffs for the free Queen and AC/DC tribute show. AC/DC tribute band Highway to Hell and Queen tribute artists Absolute Queen put on a free show at Jannus Live on Saturday, but tickets are required from Ticketmaster (with a fee) or at Detroit Liquors or Daddy Kool Records in downtown St. Petersburg for free. Doors at 7 p.m. at 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 565-0551.
Two artist open houses this weekend let you check out the work of some of the area’s best artists and in most cases meet the artists, too. The Ybor Art Colony, a group of 11 art studios located above King Corona on Seventh Avenue, is having its monthly Open House on Saturday, with artists demonstrating their craft and talking about their works. They’ll have beer, wine and live music at 1521 1/2 E Seventh Ave. See yborartassociation.com. Just in time for Valentine’s Day is the Don’t Break My Art opening reception at ArtLofts in St. Petersburg, an eclectic mix of paintings, metal work, jewelry, photography and more starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the artists’ lofts above the Florida Craftsmen Galleries, 10 Fifth St. N.
If you wonder why your tween girl is being especially sweet, Valentine’s Day has nothing to do with it. She’s either buttering you up for Justin Bieber’s new movie on Friday or for tickets to the Miranda Cosgrove concert on Wednesday. Can you sit through both? We lean toward Cosgrove because we actually laugh during her clever kids show, iCarly on Nickelodeon. The smart and spunky 17-year-old just wants fans to “dance crazy” on her first-ever tour. We just want to know if she really eats spaghetti tacos. Her opening act should be pretty popular, too. YouTube viewers became infatuated with Greyson Chance’s performance of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi, and the mop-topped 13-year-old singer and pianist later signed a recording contract with Ellen DeGeneres. The concert is 7 p.m. Wednesday at Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $39.50-$99.50. (813) 274-8981. (Not free or cheap, we know, but we thought we should warn you).
There's lots of free movies on tap this weekend: Bring your own seating for Downtown Movie Night in Oldsmar to see family movies projected on an outdoor screen adjacent to City Hall. Concessions available. Alcohol prohibited. This month features the 101-minute PG-rated Where the Wild Things Are, an adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story. Free. Oldsmar City Hall, 100 State St. (813) 749-1260. 7 p.m. Friday. Family Movie Night St. Pete Beach will have a free viewing of the PG-rated film Space Jam, starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny at St. Pete Beach Community Center and Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9245. 6-8 p.m. Friday. And for Free Family Movie Night in Palm Harbor the monthly outdoor family movie series (with an optional $2 meal available) features Beethoven, starring Bonnie Hunt and Charles Grodin. Films begin at dusk. In case of bad weather, movies move to the Sunderman Hockey Rink. Free. Pop Stansell Park, 797 Florida Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 771-6000. 7 p.m. Saturday. Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 lets you plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk. Friday is Shrek Forever After (PG); Saturday is Eat Pray Love (PG-13). Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060.
The Wings of Freedom Tour is a national touring flying tribute to the crews of bombers and fighter aircrafts including the WWII vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, consolidated B-24 Liberator and North American P-51 Mustang. Planes will remain on display from 2 p.m. Friday through 4 p.m. Sunday. Get up close and explore the aircraft inside and out or try your hand at the stick for up to an hour. Tours: $12 adults, $6 11 and younger; B-17 or B-24 flight $425; take the stick of a P-51 for a half hour $2,200; one hour at the stick of a P-51 $3,200. St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport, 14700 Terminal Blvd., Clearwater. Toll-free 1-800-568-8924. 2-4 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
For animal lovers, Animal Extravaganza is a weekend of entertaining and educational two-hour animal demonstrations by animal performers from across Florida. Benefits the care of Big Cat Habitat’s exotic and other animals rejected by traditional animal shelters. $12, $7 12 and younger. Big Cat Habitat (Sarasota), 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 371-6377. 6 p.m. Friday, 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
Monday is the 'Read for Rec’ Kickoff at St. Petersburg libraries. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster will unveil the new “Read for Rec” program where children who read 10 books will get a free recreation card (normally $10) to use at city recreation facilities. Kids can meet Raymond from the Tampa Bay Rays and Sparky the Fire Dog, see a puppet show and win door prizes Monday at 2 p.m. in the Main Library auditorium, 3745 Ninth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. For grades K-12 and children must be city residents. Applications are available at all city libraries.
For kids with astronaut dreams, SkyWatch on Saturday lets you join astronomy experts in seeing the total universe up close, weather-permitting at the Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6000. 6 p.m. Saturday. Or check out The Stars of Winter show at the Planetarium at St. Petersburg College. This very educational show explores the sights, stars and planets of the winter skies over Tampa Bay. Children must be 5 or older to attend. Free. St. Petersburg College, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 7 and 8:15 p.m. Friday.
Valentine's Day events
Cupid’s Cupcakes Teens ages 12 to 18 can celebrate Valentine’s Day at this cupcake-decorating event inspired by Cupid. Materials provided. Meets in Community Room B. Free. Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. (727) 298-3080. 6-7:30 p.m. Monday.
Little Sweethearts Dance Dress up your little sweethearts and take them to their first Valentine’s ballroom dance with a light buffet, refreshments, family mingling, a ballroom demonstration and dance class. $19, $15 member; $15 child, $13 child member. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. 6-8 p.m. Sunday.
Valentine’s Day Storytime Kids ages 18 months and older can enjoy crafts and cookies while they hear stories about Valentine’s Day. Free. Barnes & Noble Tyrone, 2501 Tyrone Blvd., St. Petersburg. (727) 384-5200. 11 a.m. Saturday.
Victorian Valentine Workshop Create Victorian-era love tokens for your loved ones. Refreshments and supplies for crafting provided. The workshop is for adults and children accompanied by adults. $15 for museum members, $20 for nonmembers. Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 258-7304. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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