Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
From $2 day at the children's museum, to the last poolside movie of the summer to deal days in the JumpZone, we have lots of wallet-friendly diversions to get you through the heat of the day.
The kids take over Curtis Hixon Park on Tuesday. First there's the Two Dollar Tuesday deal at the Glazer Children’s Museum, where you can get in cheap from 2 to 7 p.m., 110 W Gasparilla Plaza. $2. Then there's the health-oriented Playing in the Park where kids get kid-friendly versions of Zumba, a kids boot camp, yoga, karate and hip-hop dancing alongside free healthy snacks and live music, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive. Free.
What, is summer over already? Friday is the last Flick and Float of the season, so bring your fave floatie to watch the The Karate Kid. It’s a martial-arts-themed night, with games and free hot dogs. Fun starts at 7:30 p.m., with movie about 9, at Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool in Largo. $5, $4 resident. Don’t forget there is a new three-story inflatable slide on the grounds, too; $5 gets you unlimited slides. (727) 518-3126.
From now until school starts, the JumpZone inflatable play center and arcade is offering a $5 Mondays deal where kids can bounce and play for three hours in the 8,000-square-foot themed bounce floor. Parents can sit in a lounge area with free wifi and a wide screen TV while the kids get some exercise. JumpZone is at 12402 Race Track Road, Tampa. (813)925-1010; www.jumpzoneparty.com.
Disco babies can do the Hustle while they watch this week’s ‘70s-themed Water Ski Show on Saturday. More than 100 skiers, ages 6 to 60 will perform theatrical water shows similar to the ones we saw back in the day at Cypress Gardens. The team just returned from its ninth consecutive Southern Regional championship win and has prepared a special show Saturday at Tower Lake. 130 Burbank Road in Oldsmar.
It’s bikes only at the Largo Skate Park on Monday for a Bike Bash. There will be open bicycling, music, prizes and giveaways starting at 7 p.m. at 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. Free.
Will the Oregon Duck be in a cage match with Albert the Alligator? We'll find out when the mascots come off the sidelines Friday and Saturday when the Celebrity Mascot Games comes to the Amway Center in Orlando Friday and Saturday. About 30 of our favorite fuzzy celebrity mascots from Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA and Arena Football League will battle through gladiator-themed games to determine the undisputed Mascot Champion of the World. Proceeds benefit New Hope for Kids to grant last wishes to children. It starts at 12:30 Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the, Amway Center, 400 W Church St., Orlando. $10-$16. (407) 849-2020; www.mascotgames.org.
This is the big time for dragon boat racing in Tampa Bay. The main event — the 2011 World Dragon Boat Championships with more than 2,000 athletes from 17 countries — kicks off next week but fans can get a preview this weekend during the Pan Am Club Crew Championships. Pan Am races: These pit nonprofessional club-level paddlers for a chance to go to the World Club Crew Championships next year in Hong Kong. Racing is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the world championship course along Seddon Channel between Harbour Island and Davis Islands. Popular teams from Tampa Electric Co. and the Pink Dragon Ladies, Florida’s first cancer survivor dragon boat team, are expected to participate. Free. World championships kick off with opening ceremonies from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. In keeping with ancient tradition, officials will dot the eyes of a dragon boat head to awaken the spirit of the dragon and bless the boats and paddlers. Crew members will march in a nations’ parade, followed by live music. Festivities will center at the Tampa Convention Center and spill into downtown and Channelside Bay Plaza. Free.
For a schedule of events, go to tampabaydragonboats.com or call (813) 223-3700.
Here’s a good reminder that not all art is in galleries and museums. The Tampa Bay area has loads of public art in parks and on urban streets. All free and inviting you to slow down a take a look. One of the most recent can be seen at the Florida Botanical Gardens, a stunning oasis at 12520 Ulmerton Road , Largo, with 30 acres of cultivated gardens and 90 acres of natural landscape. Just installed is a mosaic, shown, designed by artist Heather Anderson and installed by volunteers. The park’s free. www. flbg.org or (727) 582-2100 .
The Book Time at Brooker Creek program includes story-related crafts, games and other hands-on activities. Best for ages 3-5. Free (registration required). Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. (727) 453-6800. 10:30-11:15 a.m. today (Thursday).
It will be an afternoon of music, games, contests, pool basketball, bingo and more at Family Fun Days. $3, $2 children. St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9245. noon-3 p.m. Sunday.
Show the city kids a taste of the country at Farm Interaction Day. Interact with farm animals including rabbits, dogs, chickens, donkeys and cats at this outdoor event. Kids ages 2-16 can take horse rides around a wooded trail. Benefits the Saddle Up Riding Club’s efforts to get special needs and able-bodied riders involved in farm activities. $2 admission; $5 horse rides. Saddle Up Riding Club, 6080 94th Ave., Pinellas Park. (727) 259-8636. 5-8 p.m. Sunday.
Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Bring the kids ages 4-8 for a show by an artist USA Today called “the Paul McCartney of kids’ music.” That would be Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. The show is $8 at Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. (813) 977-6474. 2 p.m. Sunday.
Quinceanera, or simply quince, is a Latin American celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday. Saturday at Quince Planning Expo features tips for planning a quince bash on any budget, a gown fashion show, games, makeovers, demonstrations and an appearance by Latin music Grammy winner Prince Royce. Free. Verizon Wireless, 8456 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. (813) 404-6029. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday.
Teens and tweens ages 11-17 can hang with friends and enjoy swimming, snacks, games and prizes in and around the pool for Teen Tidalwave Tuesdays. $3. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 7-9 p.m. Tuesday.
On Tuesday the Family Flix @ Your Library features the 95-minute PG-rated film Despicable Me. Free. St. Petersburg Main Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7724. 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Grab a beanbag chair for the Pop-Up Theatre, a free film and family-friendly activities including face painting and balloon artists. Today features the 2010 PG-rated animated adventure Despicable Me (2 p.m.). Tuesday features Disney’s PG-rated animated adventure film Bolt (2 p.m.). Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 US 19 N, Suite 2096, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070.
For the Sunset Cinema at Pier 60, bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Friday features the PG-rated film Summer Eleven. Saturday features the PG-13 rated film Morning Glory. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk, which is close to 8-8:30 p.m. during the summer. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060.
Wear close-toed shoes, bring water and a hat for a Guided Hike at Brooker Creek Preserve. Best for ages 6 and up. Free, but registration required. Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. (727) 453-6800. 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday. Also on Saturday, you can take a Guided Hike at Weedon Island, also free, but registration required. Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500. 9 a.m. Saturday.
Catch some rays on the beach at the Rays Watch Party behind the Tradewinds on Sunday. Watch the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Seattle Mariners on a huge screen, with 620 WDAE broadcasting a live pregame show and food, drink and souvenirs available for purchase. Beginning at noon, $10 parking will be available at the Island Grand and at the neighboring Sandpiper Suites (normally $15). Coupons for $10 (normally $30) all-day slide passes will also be distributed. Free admission. Food and drink additional. Tradewinds Island Grand Resort, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 367-6461. 4 p.m. Sunday.
This isn't cheap but I just had to let Harry Potter fans know about the Harry Potter’s overnight extravaganza on Saturday at MOSI. Start with an English banquet feast worthy of the Great Hall and then head to Hogwart's to take up classes on potions, charms, caring for magical creatures, and wand making. It starts at 6 p.m. at Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave. $105 for parent/child team, $60 per additional child. Call (813) 987-6000.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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