Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
Take your dog for a swim or your kid to the beach for movies or a Rays game on a big screen. That's just some of the wallet-friendly late-summer fun we've rounded up for you this week:
Fossil Park pool in St. Petersburg is closing for the summer. Bummer. Unless you’re a pool-deprived pooch. Pookums can let her fur down for Dog Swim Day, with three sessions, at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday at 6739 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. Bring proof of current vaccinations or face sad puppy-dog eyes. It’s $5 per session; free for humans, but, sorry, you can’t swim. (727) 893-7732.
Turns out you can go fishing at the library, and not just for a good book. Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, the lovely lake behind the St. Petersburg Main Public Library will be the spot for the 63rd annual Dennis Crenshaw Memorial Fish-a-Thon for kids, teens and adults. There will be nine 15-minute fishing periods ending with judging for prizes in age-appropriate groups. Fishing poles and bait provided; no personal equipment allowed. It’s free at 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7441.
If you haven’t already made plans for National Toasted Marshmallow Day (not to be confused with National S’mores Day on Aug. 10), you’re in luck. Here’s your chance to get extra toasty over a fire pit outside the Carrollwood Cultural Center, starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday. You can roast a marshmallow and then check out a few booths about outdoor activities, including a look at local animals. Presented by Not A Clue Adventures at the center, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. Free.
Run like a giraffe (or a tortoise) at the annual Zoo Run Run, the 5K run/walk and children’s fun run inside Lowry Park Zoo and along the Hillsborough River. Benefits zoo programs. Event fee includes admission for the day to the zoo for entrants only. Check-in 7 a.m., 5K starts 8 a.m. and fun run, 9:15 a.m. $25, $10 kids run. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 7 a.m. Saturday.
If your kids haven't seen the historic movie house known as the Tampa Theatre, this might be the weekend. As part of its Summer Classic Movie Series they are showing Peter Pan. It features the 1924 silent with live musical accompaniment by the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, at 3 p.m. Sunday. Theater tours and a mini Mighty Wurlitzer Organ concert precede the screenings. $12, $10 ages 2-12/seniors/military. Tampa Theatre, 711 Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-8982.
A Block Party with free food, demonstrations, music and children’s activities uill show off what the ighland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center has to offer this year. Free (Aquatic Center not included) at 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday.
Book Time at Brooker Creek today (Thursday) features the story Planting a Rainbow. 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. Wee-time at Weedon today features the book Harry the Horseshoe Crab: A Tale of Crawly Creatures, by Suzanne Tate. The book teaches children about horseshoe crabs. Includes story related crafts, games and other hands-on activities. Best for ages 3-5. Free (registration required). Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500. 10:30-11:15 a.m. today.
Kids take a walk in the preserve to explore nature through crafts and activities at Nature’s Elements at Boyd Hill. Best for ages 4-7 $10. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Check out what the Holland G. Mangum Recreation Complex has to offer at the Open House and Family Fun Day on Saturday. Enjoy a day with a Touch-a-Truck, charity car wash, face painting, Zumba, martial arts, PickleBall, crafts, table tennis and Wii for seniors. Food and drink with be available for purchase and benefits the Seminole Recreation Teen Board. Free. 9100 113th St. N, Seminole. (727) 391-8345. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
See 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. The team just returned from its ninth consecutive Southern Regional championship win and has prepared a special “guys against the girls” show for you. Free. Tower Lake, 130 Burbank Road, Oldsmar. (727) 480-9365. 6 p.m. Saturday.
Grab one of the available bean bag chairs and get ready for a free “Pop-Up Theatre” movie with face painting and balloon artists. Today features the 2009 PG-rated animated comedy Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs. Tuesday features Disney’s G-rated animated adventure Toy Story. Viewings will be held each Tuesday and Thursday through Oct. 27. Free. Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N, Suite 2096, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070. 2 p.m. today and Tuesday.
Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Friday features the G-rated animated Disney film Alice in Wonderland. Saturday features the PG-rated Disney film Tron Legacy. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Free. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start around dusk.
Catch some rays as you watch baseball on the beach at the Rays Watch Party on Sunday. It features the Rays against the Toronto Blue Jays broadcast on a huge screen, WDAE-AM 620 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. 1 p.m. Sunday.
The monthly Corey Sunset Celebration on Friday will feature wine tastings, shopping, dining, arts and crafts and a variety of entertainment. Expect musicians, community drum circles, bucket drummers, fire shows, balloon twisters and jugglers. Free. Sunset Celebration Area, 400 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. (727) 322-5217. 5-9 p.m. Friday.
Westfield Countryside is bringing the arts to shoppers with a wide-ranging community arts program highlighted by the “Dalí on Tour” poster exhibition on display through Sept. 30. The free program, located on the upper level near Sears, also features live music and theater performances, exhibits and hands-on activities. Friday features a jazz performance by Kenny Drew Jr. to promote the 32nd Annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday Oct. 13-16. On Saturday, the Dunedin Fine Arts Center will provide demonstrations and hands-on activities featuring clay, woodturning, water media, pastels, basketry and colored pencil. Tuesday, the mall will also offer hands-on children’s activities that include the melting clock hat, Dali mustache and more, preceding the Pop-Up Theater free films. Events, dates and times are subject to change. Free. Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N, Suite 2096, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070. 5 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Tuesday.
As we told you earlier this week, you can donate to Goodwill in September, you can get free tickets to the Florida Aquarium. Time to clean out the closets! Donate clothing or household items and get coupon good for one free admission to The Florida Aquarium with each paid adult admission (up to three free tickets). The coupons are redeemable until Oct. 31. That’s a savings of up to $65.85, just for getting rid of unwanted clutter.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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