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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week



Is anyone else getting spring fever? It's starting to feel like it will never get here. But we've got some nice diversions this week, from the family-friendly St. Patrick’s Night Parade in Ybor to a book exchange at the free shuffleboard night to a Victorian picnic in Plant Park to kids flying in airplanes (and even taking over the stick for a bit) for free.

stpattys.jpegLike a green Gasparilla, the St. Patrick’s Night Parade parade, right, skips through Ybor City every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. More than 90 floats and krewes will make their way down E Seventh Avenue starting at about 8 p.m. Saturday. Free. For more St. Patrick’s Day fun,  look here.

Every Friday night, from 7 to 11 p.m., the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club opens its doors to the public for its weekly St. Pete Shuffle, a free night of playing on the courts (or in the clubhouse where they have board games and pool tables set up) with a good mix of young and old. This Friday they are adding a bit of spring cleaning to the mix, a Book Shuffle. Bring your used books to exchange for “new to you” books from other players. All trades are one-for-one. The club is at 559 Mirror Lake Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. Free, but donations are encouraged.

Kids ages 8-17 can actually take the stick in flight and explore the world of aviation for free at the Young Eagles Flight Rally. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over Countryside and to the Gulf Beaches area. Each young “pilot” gets one-on-one time with pilots to learn about airplanes and safety. Young Eagle certificates are awarded on completion of the program and each child’s name is entered into the “World’s Largest Logbook” at the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Adventure Museum. Weather will be monitored. Please check after 5 p.m.  Friday for possible cancellation. Free. Clearwater Airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. (727) 647-2661. 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturday.

With the weather warming up, find out what floats your boat at this three-day event with top boat dealers, the Tampa Bay Boat Show will have the latest in boating and fishing supplies and accessories. Plus, local captains will offer some of their best tricks and tips in the Fishing School. See for a schedule. It runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Tropicana Field in downtown St. Petersburg. Admission is free, but it’s $5 parking.

Want to inspire with some classical music? Try Handel’s Messiah. Hear the masterpiece in its entirety with a 40-voice professional choir, featuring soloists and chamber orchestra. The highlight of the annual Go for Baroque Festival, it starts at 3 p.m. at the Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater. It’s free, but an offering will be taken.

Like a scene out of Sunday in the Park with George, models dressed in Victorian clothing will be handing out free ice cream in Plant Park for an old-fashioned Picnic in the Park. Bring lunch, coolers, chairs and blankets. There will be Victorian games, a barber shop quartet, gospel music and a performance by the UT Wind Ensemble. It starts at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday next to the Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Free.

This isn't free or cheap, but, let the water wedgies begin! Adventure Island kicks off with a preview weekend of the Tampa water park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday before opening for the season March 19. It costs $42.99, $38.99 for kids. There’s also a deal for Florida residents: Get a weekday pass that’s good March 21 through Sept. 5, with no blackout dates, for $42.99. Plus, this year the park will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. all summer long. See for details.

I count this show as reasonable, since tickets start at $25 for the 4 Times the Fun Harlem Globetrotters World Tour C’mon, that water bucket full of confetti gag never gets old, even as the legendary Harlem Globetrotters celebrate their 85th consecutive season. Sorry, Amazing Race fans, Flight Time and Big Easy aren’t coming to this one. $15-$106. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500. 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday.

Did you know Monday is Pi Day? Sorry, pie-lovers, that’s not a typo. Monday (that’s 3/14) is a geekfest on all things pi, that mathematical constant roughly expressed as 3.14. Which leads us to some math you’ll like. Because nobody loved pi more than Salvador Dalí — often using it and other mathematical principles in his art — the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg is offering admission discounts Monday. Kids 6-12 get in for $3.14 and adults can download a coupon for $3.14 off admission (which makes it $17.86). Go to for details. From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. you’ll get math-inspired activities, movies and treats in the cafe (can it be pie, please?). In Tampa at the Museum of Science and Industry, take the Pi Day challenge Monday, and solve a series of logic-based puzzles to get into the museum for free. Excludes special engagement exhibition and films. MOSI opens at 9 a.m. (813) 987-6000.

The Cajun/Zydeco Crawfish Festival will have 10,000 pounds of crawfish, so it’s time to suck down some mudbugs — or however you prefer to eat the critters — along with other Creole and Cajun food specialties. The festival also has a wooden dance floor so you can two-step to live music. There will  be crawfish races, crawfish eating contests, bead throwing, dance contests, arts and crafts, and kids activities. $12 (Fri. or Sun.), $15 (Sat.), $35 (all three days), 10 and younger free. Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. (813) 986-7978. It runs 4:30-10 p.m. Friday, and the music lineup includes the Porch Dogs (5-7 p.m.) and Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie (7:30-10 p.m.). It’s noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and the music includes Don Fontenot and Les Amis de la Louisiane (12:30-2 p.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m.), Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys (4-5:30 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.) and Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie (7:30-10 p.m.). Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, and the music includes Ryan Brunet and the Malfecteurs (12:30-2 p.m. and 2:30-4 p.m.) and Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band (4:30-6 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m.).

Kids and teens of all ages can get Hooked on Fishing Saturday. Join the fun of this fishing tournament with prizes for biggest fish, smallest fish, ugliest fish and more. Light refreshments and one round of bait provided. Free. Merry Pier, 801 Pass-a-Grille Way, St. Petersburg. (727) 363-9245. 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.

Saturday is the annual Seminole Pow Wow Festival Parade, from 10 a.m. to noon, ending at Seminole Recreation Center
9100 113th St. N for a party. The theme for the 43rd annual parade is “Celebrate!” and Seminole's oldest and largest event certainly does that. Learn more at the Pow Wow's website. Free.

An afternoon of old-time fun and an evening around the campfire awaits for Pioneer Nights. Best for ages 7-13. $25 (advance registration required). Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 2-9 p.m. Saturday.

Sci-Fi and Sky Night this month features a discussion on the Milky Way by Darryl Schrader, the “Two Pieces of Glass” planetarium show, telescope viewings and a showing of the film Star Trek: Wrath of Khan. Benefits the Young Astronauts Club of St. Petersburg. $4 per person donation. Science Center of Pinellas County, 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Pull up a blanket or chair for a free movie on Clearwater Beach's Sunset Cinema at Pier 60. Starting at sunset, Friday's movie is Megamind and Saturday is Grease (singalong, we hope!) It's free at Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach.

Friday is Downtown Movie Night in Oldsmar, starting at 7 p.m. Bring your own seating to see family movies projected on an outdoor screen adjacent to City Hall. Concessions available. Alcohol prohibited. This month features Despicable Me at 100 State St., Oldsmar.

Saturday is Family Day at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs. Starting at 11 a.m., the celebration features children’s activities, video presentations, docent-led tours, entertainment and refreshments. It celebrates the museum’s Commercial Medium exhibits and it's free.


As part of the  Florida Museum of Photographic Arts museum’s current exhibit, Natural Fashion: Art and the Body by Hans Silvester, Saturday is Family Hatmaking Day. Parents and kids can work together in this. It starts at 2 p.m. and costs $4, free for museum members. Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 200 N Tampa St., Tampa.

PHOTO: Aaron Black, 26, right, plays his bagpipes for beads during last year's St. Patrick's Day parade in Ybor City

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 5:53pm]


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