Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
From $5 Day at the Zoo to a courtyard party with Guitar Hero on a big screen to Sing-along Wizard of Oz at the Tampa Theatre, we've got buckets of cheap diversions with the kids this week.
Sunday is $5 Day at the Zoo. The Lowry Park Zoo only offers this a few times a year, so the crowds should get pretty big by midday on Sunday, since admission is normally $23.95 for adults and $18.95 for kids. If it gets too hot, the sprayground in the front of the zoo is a favorite way to cool off. Expect to get hit up for tickets on the added attractions such as the Treetop Skyfari aerial ride, the Gator Falls log flume, feeding giraffes or the camel rides. They all cost extra, so go early and set a budget. The zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. at 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa.
On Friday the Rays Head to the History Center. Watch the Tampa Bay Rays battle the Kansas City Royals on Friday on a 16-foot screen in Cotanchobee Park in front of the History Center. Relax with a glass of sangria on the Columbia Cafe’s outdoor patio while watching the action on two flat-screen TVs. If you haven’t seen the History Center’s latest exhibit, “Sports in Tampa Bay,” featuring the Rays’ 2008 ALCS Trophy and other sports artifacts, there will be extended gallery hours and half-price admission from 5 to 7:30 p.m. (Tickets are normally $12, $10 seniors/students, $7 kids 4 to 12.) Enjoy Rays activities and giveaways throughout the evening. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. Free.
Sing-a-long Wizard of Oz will be playing at the Tampa Theatre on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. to sing along to this classic. Costumes are encouraged, so get your flying monkeys outfit ready. Tickets are $9; $7 for Tampa Theatre members. The theater is at 711 Franklin St., Tampa.
Tonight and next Thursday, Jannus Live hosts a courtyard party called Thursday Night Hang with activities, drink specials and live music. Events include a Guitar Hero tournament on stage with a big-screen and heavy amplitude, beer pong, table tennis, darts and corn hole. The courtyard stays open until 3 a.m., and reggae rockers Resinated will give a free show. It all starts at 7 p.m. at 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Free.
The juicy mango is king at the Mango Festival Friday through Sunday. There will be mango tastings all day, music and educational demonstrations on growing tropical fruit, cooking with mangoes and selecting a mango variety. It’s all happening at Colorfield Farms, 8221 Highway 674, Wimauma. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with seminars from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5.
Here’s a deal your tween just won’t Belieb: The free movie Friday on Clearwater Beach is Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never. Squeeee! Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. There are concessions for sale, but you can bring a cooler. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk, which is closer to 8 or 8:30 p.m. during the summer. Free.
Grab one of the bean bag chairs and get ready for a free Pop-Up Theatre movie viewing at Westfield Countryside Mall in Clearwater with family-friendly activities including face painting and balloon artists. Viewings will be held each Tuesday and Thursday through Oct. 27. Today’s film is Disney’s animated Cars. Tuesday’s is PG-rated animated adventure Despicable Me. Free at Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N, Suite 2096, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070. 2 p.m. today and Tuesday.
This is a true treasure hunt, with pirate booty hidden under water, floating and on land at Splash’s Treasure Hunt at the Highland Complex pool in Largo. Pirates swim with the kids, shoot the cannons and pass out beads. Free hotdogs while they last. Hunts divided by age group and open to ages 10 and younger. Come aboard the ship, but beware of the plank. $9, $5 residents, $6 non-residents with card. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3018. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Teen Tidalwave Tuesdays is for teens and tweens ages 11-17 can hang with friends and enjoy swimming, snacks, games and prizes in and around the pool. $3. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 7-9 p.m. Tuesday.
Check out a free Water Ski Show, with more than 100 skiers ages 6-60 perform theatrical water shows similar to those seen over the years in Cypress Gardens. This week is a “Beach Party” show. Free. Tower Lake, 130 Burbank Road, Oldsmar. (813) 265-9685. 6 p.m. Saturday.
This week's Family Flix @ Your Library is the PG-rated Disney film Tangled. Free. St. Petersburg Main Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7724. 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Just float around in the pool while you enjoy games, free hot dogs, contests, crafts, carnival themed events and the screening of the movie Nanny McPhee Returns (about 9 p.m.) at Flick and Float. There is a new three-story inflatable slide on the grounds. $5 gets you unlimited slides. $5, $4 resident. Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. (727) 518-3126. 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The world of the video game Tekken comes to life in a 90-minute feature Tekken Blood Vengeance in 3-D, that includes storylines and characters based on the game series. Question and answer session with the director and screenwriter follows the viewing. $15. Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 North, Pinellas Park. This film is also being shown at Citrus Stadium 20 in Tampa. (727) 525-7777. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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