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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



egghunt.jpgFrom Easter to Earth Day, there's lots of free and cheap things blooming this fine spring weekend. There's also a kids sports expo and actors portraying the "residents" of the Dunedin Cemetary. Zombie alert! Read on for more wallet-friendly events:


It's Easter , so the kids won’t be hurting for their candy fix this weekend, with Easter egg hunts and other activities throughout the region. Check here for a complete list, including the Tampa Community Egg Hunt for kids up to age 11 hunting for thousands of eggs before taking a jump in the bounce house, eating snow cones or catching a puppet show. Free. Bay Life Assembly of God, 6923 Sheldon Road, Tampa. (813) 884-3696. 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. And there's also n Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Church of Scientology, organized by the church’s Clearwater Community Volunteers. The Clearwater Community Easter Egg Hunt is one of the area’s biggest Easter festivals. The Easter Bunny will arrive on a train, and starting at 12:30 p.m. there’s an egg hunt with 20,000 eggs, including some “golden eggs” exchangeable for gifts. There will also be a petting zoo, train rides, face painting, inflatable slide, bounce houses and more. Free, but there is a charge for food and some attractions. It’s noon to 2 p.m. Sunday at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. (727) 442-2099.

earth.jpgEarth Day celebrations are blooming, and you can get the complete list here, but here's some highlights:

  • Free milkshakes at Evos On Earth Day, you’re supposed to do good for our planet, but after you plant a few trees, do good for yourself and flock to your local eco-friendly burger joint to enjoy a free shake (no purchase necessary). Green fast-food company (without the “guilt” as their website puts it) Evos will be celebrating Earth Day Friday with its crowd-drawing Free Organic Milkshake Day. And these are not just little samples, shake fans, they are the regular-sized cups. Find a location at
  • Earth Day Tampa Bay 2011 “Pride of Place” promotes the community’s pride in local environments. This year’s festival features exhibitors, demonstrations, arts and crafts, community groups, live music, food and children’s activities. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. University of South Florida Botanical Gardens, 12210 USF Pine Drive, Tampa. (813) 974-5398.
  • Life and Light Lantern Parade and Festival Symbolically held Earth Day weekend, this community celebration of all life includes paper lantern making workshops, live music and entertainment, gardening and sustainability workshops, and the Life and Light Lantern Parade. Music acts include the Funky Seeds, Between Bluffs, La Luche, and Native American style drumming, among many others. Proceeds from a raffle, donations and all meals purchased at Casa Tina’s Mexican Restaurant, Cabana Cafe and Gifts and Pan y Vino Brick Oven Pizza benefit Planting Seeds and the 1% Food Project. Free. Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue, Dunedin. (727) 734-9226. 2-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-8:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Pro athletes, trainers and sports experts will offer their tips and tricks at the Tampa Bay Youth Sports Expo on Saturday. Entry is $5-$15, depending on what you are interested in. The interactive experience for boys and girls ages 6-18 lets them participate in sport clinics and demonstrations with professional players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Rays and the Rowdies. There will also be representative for hockey, tennis, golf, cheer/dance and volleyball. Parents, coaches and youth administrators can attend workshops addressing positive coaching techniques, sport injury prevention, sports nutrition, childhood obesity and preparing your student athlete for college. Also, check out information provided on sports camps, amateur teams and leagues, specialty sport retailers and youth sport organizations. There will be an Autograph Zone for a meet and greet with participating professional athletes and coaches. It runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa.

Volunteer re-enactors will dress up as former Dunedin residents in period costumes and talk about their former lives at 10 a.m. Saturday History Comes Alive at the Dunedin Cemetery. We were hoping for zombies since all the characters portrayed are actually buried in this cemetery. The $2 admission includes a program and refreshments at the cemetery, 2400 Keene Road, Dunedin.

The Use Your Senses program is designed for children ages 5 to 8 to teach kids how to use four of their five senses to identify the natural world on a hike through Weedon Island Preserve at 1 p.m. Saturday. It’s free, but call (727) 453-6500 to register. The preserve is at 1800 Weedon Drive NE in St. Petersburg.

Dancers from the Philippine Performing Arts Company will perform folk dances adorned in beautiful costumes at the New Tampa Regional Library on Saturday. Learn about the history of the Philippines, including the origin of its people, its language and its culture, starting at 3 p.m. at 10001 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa. Free. (813) 273-3652.

bernie.jpgThe widow of Bernie Mac and his daughter are coming to Tampa this weekend to raise awareness of a disease the strikes the African-American community hardest. The Sarcoidosis Walk is a 5K walk around the park with music by the USF Jazz Ensemble, the Harrington Sisters and Mount Zion Male Chorus and special guests Je’Niece and Rhonda McCullough, daughter and widow of comedian Bernie Mac who died of sarcoidosis-related complications. Free (donations appreciated). Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa. (813) 238-8072. 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday.

For Sudsy Saturday the “Bigs” and “Littles” from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County will hold a car wash with music by WKID radio, Clearwater’s kid-owned and kid-operated radio station. Lemonade and other drinks available for a donation. Proceeds benefit Bowl for Kids’ Sake. $5. Bluffs Animal Hospital, 320 N Indian Rocks Road, Belleair Bluffs. (727) 230-2193. 1-5 p.m. Saturday.

Area kids ages 8-17 can get tips and run drills with Dexter Marquise McCluster,  wide receiver and running back for the Kansas City Chiefs at the Dexter McCluster Youth Football Clinic.McCluster, a former Largo Packer, joins with Largo recreation staff and area high school football coaches to provide hands on training at four skill stations. Free lunch for everyone registered. A waiver must be signed by a parent or guardian. Free. YMCA (Ridgecrest), 1801 119th St. N, Largo. (727) 366-3910. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

It's an afternoon of old time fun and an evening around the campfire at 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.

Play Night at MOSI lets kids play miniature golf in the science galleries, construct LEGO creations and race cars down the IMAX Dome. Also, compete in a dodgeball tournament, laser tag and bounce around in the inflatable Astronaut Training Adventure. Preregistration required. $15, $10 members. Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6000. 6-9 p.m. Saturday.

It's spring break for Hillsborough Students, so check out Spring Break Aboard the AmVic Students can play on the American Victory ship during their spring break for free with the purchase of one adult ticket. Kids are encouraged to walk the planks and other fun activities on a scavenger hunt. $10, $8 seniors/veterans, $5 12 and younger. SS American Victory, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 228-8766. Noon-5 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday.

The WFamily Program turns the Play Space near Sears into an exploration of The Great Outdoors. Children learn about flowers and create a felt bouquet, enjoy story time and eat health snacks. Free. Westfield Brandon , 459 Brandon Town Center, (813) 661-5100, and Westfield Citrus Park , 8021 Citrus Park Town Center, Tampa. (813) 926-4644. 4 p.m. today (Thursday).

The Musical Tale of Peter Rabbit Puppet Show is a puppet show filled with songs and dancing. Free tickets are available 30 minutes before the program. Presented by the Bits N Pieces Puppet Theater. Free. Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library, 11211 Countryway Blvd., Tampa. (813) 273-3652. 6 p.m. today.

The Reluctant Dragon is Kenneth Grahame’s story of Sir George, who is hired to slay the ferocious dragon that lives too close to the village. But the dragon is more interested in reciting Shakespeare than fighting. Together, they stage a monumental battle. For ages 5-12. Free. SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin. (813) 273-3652. 2 p.m. Tuesday.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 1:21pm]


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