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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




Let's eke out the last bit of summer fun with a fun bash on the beach, or a family pizza party at the skating rink or maybe a moving tribute to our soldiers. Read on for more wallet-friendly ideas:

We're down to the last two Saturday Sunsets on the Trail of the season on Treasure Island, this week and Sept. 3. Musicians and vendors line approximately one mile of the beachfront trail along with street performers, water slides and various inflatables for the kids. It's free from 5 to 9 p.m. at 10400 Gulf Blvd. There's all-day parking for on the beach at Gulf Boulevard and 112th Avenue or you can pay $4 to park in the Community Center lot at Gulf Boulevard and 106th Avenue, behind Walgreen's.

Still need some back to school bargains? Largo's Southwest Recreation Center is holding a huge Garage Sale and Wellness Fair on Saturday. Browse through hundreds of items on sale, then, take a moment to pamper yourself with free chair massages, health screenings, alternative medicine information, vitamins and more. It starts Saturday at 8 a.m. at 13120 Vonn Road, Largo.

This week the Book Time at Brooker Creek features the story Tale of a Tadpole. 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).

If you feel like a road trip you can get a jump on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best Live Tour Ever! They are coming to the Tampa Bay area but not until later in the year. Disney’s animated characters Phineas, Ferb and the rest of the tri-state area gang jump from the television onto the stage with this live action adventure full of musical madness and hilarious hijinks. $15-$45. Lakeland Center Youkey Theatre, 701 W Lime St., Lakeland. (863) 834-8111. 3 p.m. Sunday.

Bring the whole family out for dinner and fun physical activity all for one price at the Family Pizza Skate. Enjoy unlimited pizza, salad and skating to top 40 dj music. $10, $4 non-skating parent with child, $2 skate rental. United Skates of America, 5121 N Armenia Ave., Tampa. (813) 876-5826. 7:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The little kids take over for Itty Bitty Splashtime Parents and caregivers can enjoy the companionship of other parents and caregivers while their children ages 5 and younger enjoy the cool waters of the pool’s splash area. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. $1.50. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 9:45-10:45 a.m. Friday.

Every Tuesday and Thursday through Oct. 27, grab one of the available bean bag chairs at the Pop-Up Theatre at Clearwater's Countryside Mall. There are family-friendly activities including face painting and balloon artists. Today (Thursday) features the PG-rated animated adventure Yogi Bear. In the film, a documentary filmmaker travels to Jellystone Park to shoot a project and soon crosses paths with Yogi Bear, his sidekick Boo-Boo, and Ranger Smith. Tuesday features the 2009 PG-rated animated comedy Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs. The film focuses on a town where food falls from the sky like rain. Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 US Highway 19 N, Suite 2096, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070. 2 p.m. today and Tuesday.

Westfield Family Fun Day at Brandon Town Center and at Citrus Park are running programs to help boost confidence and self esteem in children called the “I Am Special” times with stories, snacks and activities. In Brandon and Citrus Park today at 4 p.m. it's story time with It’s Me! by Eric Drachman and Isabelle Decenciere, and I Like Me! by Nancy L. Carlson. Kids will also decorate their own picture frame and enjoy a healthy snack. Free. Brandon Westfield Town Center Mall, 459 Brandon Town Center, Brandon.  Westfield Citrus Park, 8021 Citrus Park Town Center, Tampa. Both are at 4 p.m. today.

Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach for Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 and watch free movies. Friday features the G-rated animated Disney film Finding Nemo. Saturday features the G-rated Disney documentary Oceans. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk, which is closer to 8-8:30 p.m. during the summer. Check sunset times just to be sure. Free. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. 8-8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

With the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, this weekend's Run for the Fallen might be a good chance to show your kids how to honor our soldiers.  This is the annual memorial run hosted by Tampa Area Marine Parents Association (TAMPA), a free 5K and 1 mile run/walk. It is held in conjunction with the national Run for the Fallen, a memorial run that collectively runs one mile for every service member who has been killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Runners pledge to walk or run for all the fallen soldiers across the nation. TAMPA.’s goal is to have a walking or running representative for each of the local fallen soldiers. Registration begins at 8 a.m.; the opening ceremony is at 9 a.m. with the walk/run immediately following. Park entry is $2 per vehicle up to eight people ($1 per additional person). E. G. Simmons Park, 2401 19th Ave. NW, Ruskin. (813) 965-2682. 8 a.m. Sunday.

Look through microscopes and study the World of Plankton-- those live organisms suspended in the water of estuaries, oceans and other bodies of water. Best for ages 8 and older. Free. Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500. 1-3 p.m. Saturday.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:22pm]


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