Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
Kids can fly a plane and people can fly a big pink bra? We've got a weekend packed with free and cheap ways to get a laugh or a thrill with your kids, ranging from a free aviation day with flights for kids to the crazy Flutgag flying competition at the Tampa Convention Center, as well as movies in the park, Halloween scares and lots of festivals to choose from.
Kids can fly a plane for free? No way! Way. At the Young Eagles Flight Rally, kids ages 8 to 17 get free plane rides and can actually take the stick in flight to explore aviation for free on Saturday. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over Countryside and to the gulf beaches area. Each young pilot gets to learn how airplanes work and their names are entered into the World’s Largest Logbook at the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Adventure Museum. Get there early and be prepared to wait in a long line. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 11:30 a.m. Check eaa282.org for possible weather cancellation. The Clearwater Airpark is at 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater.
More than 100,000 people showed up the last time the crazy-fun Red Bull Flutag competition came to Tampa. You can read here about the folks getting ready for Saturday when nearly 40 teams — most of them local — try to defy gravity in their homemade flying machines. Flugtag (German for flying day) got 240 team applications for the 38 spots and the teams have spent months building their machines and planning their costumes and skits. Aircraft must be less than 30 feet wide and 450 pounds, including the pilot. Most machines look nothing like a plain plane and have ranged from a flying toilet to an Oscar Mayer wiener. Among Saturday's entries? A giant pink flying bra (the 2nd Basemen Team) and Anchorman Ron Burgundy's flying mustache (Stay Classy Tampa Bay). All eyes will be on St. Petersburg's Willy Wonka's Amazing Flying Flugtag Adventure, which won it in 2008 as Tampa Baywatch. Their craft went first and flew 109 feet. No one else came even close. Flugtag opens at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by opening ceremonies at 12:30 p.m. and flights from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. No glass, outside food, pets and cans (except for cans of Red Bull, of course) are allowed. Alcohol will be allowed in specific areas. For details, go to redbullflugtagusa.com/Tampa2011.
Today’s free Rock the Park show at the lovely waterfront Curtis Hixon Park features the indie/electronic band The Pauses, electro-folk duo King of Spain, electro rockers Mrenc and Rec Center. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and you can pack a picnic or buy food and drinks there, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.
With the hot weather letting up a bit, check out some of the free outdoor movie and concert options in the area. Today at North Straub Park in St. Petersburg begins the weekly Music and Movies in the Park, held every Thursday in October. Bring a picnic and enjoy the water view. The music starts at 6 p.m., and the 1989 Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen comedy Major League starts at dark. Also getting under way this month is Friday Night Movies in Pioneer Park in Dunedin. And this week is a real treat, the Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland. Costumes are encouraged.
The World Ski Fly Tour Finale is in Polk County but worth the road trip to see this dangerous sport in action. Extreme water ski athletes from around the world will compete in this year’s World Ski Fly Tour event finale, the Rocketman Night Jump. Athletes reach speeds of up to 70 mph, cutting toward a ramp that is more than 22 feet long and propelling themselves more than 240 feet from the ramp. Flyers often crash into the ramp and cartwheel in the water after being blown off course. The day is filled with live music and a bikini contest, and nighttime brings the top water ski professionals who aim to take home the coveted World Ski Fly’s Pit Bull Energy Bar Championship Belt. It’s at Fluid Ski and Sports at Lake Grew, 1251 Holy Cow Road, Polk City. Free. See www.worldskiflytour.com.
We already have lots of Halloween events coming along. It’s the scary season and that means some milder startles, like the “Get Goosebumps” mall tour (for kids), and the scary Haunted Fire House in Palm Harbor (for 13 and older). Fans of the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine can come to Tyrone Square Mall at noon Saturday for ghoulish games, giveaways and giggles, including trying out the Goosebumps HorrorLand video game. It’s free. For older kids, the Haunted Fire House, held Fridays and Saturdays this month, brave souls will wind their way through an array of themed rooms that are not recommended for younger audiences. Children under 13 will not be admitted without an adult. It starts at 7 p.m. at the East Lake Tarpon Fire Station 57, 3375 Tarpon Lake Blvd. in Palm Harbor. Admission is $5, but you can get a limited-wait pass for $15. (727) 784-8668.
Ah, the joy of being a Florida resident. Now you can go on the off-road adventure Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens for free with the purchase of a single-day admission — a $40 savings. The 30-minute trip is an open truck tour of the 65-acre habitat, featuring hundreds of African animals such as antelope and rhinos. This offer will be sold exclusively online when you buy tickets for $79.99 for adults or $71.99 for kids ages 5 to 9. Offer ends Dec. 15. Go to www.buschgardens.com.
At the Tampa Bay Buddy Walk on Saturday, a 1-mile walk around and through the park, the hike will be followed by fun with music, clowns, bounce houses, games, lunch, raffles and a silent auction. It all benefits the National Down Syndrome Society. $5 registration. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo. (727) 462-2274. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
The Horse Power for Kids Fundraiser is a fall festival with pony rides, hay rides, farm animals, train rides, face painting, bonfire, pumpkin patch, music, hot dogs and drinks. Children $10, adults $6. Horse Power for Kids, 8005 Racetrack Road, Tampa. (813) 855-8992. noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
In celebration of “Wild Wedgie Week,” kids ages 6 to 9 can join the fun Captain Underpants Party with creative games and crafts focused on the Captain Underpants series. Proceeds benefit Clothes to Kids of Pinellas County. $3 donation or a package of new underwear, size 4-16. Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 784-3332. 2 p.m. Saturday.
Who lives in that skin? What is the difference between a carnivore and an herbivore? Whose tracks are those? Stop by the classroom at Brooker Creek Preserve for Discover Wildlife with Children. You can go anytime for self-guided educational nature games and activities or attend this free (registration required) block of activity at Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. (727) 453-6800. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday.
Watch radio-control pilots put their aircraft through their acrobatic paces at the Fall Electric Fly-in. There will be a special show (noon) and a candy drop for kids both days. $2 parking. Manatee County Radio Controllers Home Field, 7315 71st St. E, Palmetto. (941) 807-2924. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Or check out the Radio Controlled War Bird Fly In where you can watch radio-controlled scale model aircraft from WWI, WWII, the Korean War and more modern war aircraft in an air show with a static display and aircraft swap meet. Barbecue available for purchase. Free, $5 parking. SPARKS Flying Field, 10550 16th St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 729-2989. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Gather the family and bring chairs and blankets for a free outdoor movie. This week features the G-rated comedy/drama Babe. Concessions available. Movies begin at sundown. Free. Land O’ Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd., Land O’Lakes. (813) 333-2288. 7 p.m. Saturday.
At Saturday's Police and Firefighter Appreciation Picnic you can join neighborhood firefighters and police officers at a picnic with free food, canine demonstrations, a visit from a hook and ladder truck, strolling minstrel and a dunk tank. Proceeds from donations for throws at the dunk tank benefit the families of area firefighters and police officers. Free admission. Lake Vista Park and Center, 1401 62nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 864-4188. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday.
Grab a bean bag chair for Pop-Up Theatre, a free movie screening with family-friendly activities including face painting and balloon artists. Today features Disney’s PG-rated animated film The Lion King. Tuesday features Disney’s 2010 PG-rated family adventure Tangled at Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. Highway 19 N, Suite 2096, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070. 2 p.m. today and Tuesday.
Families can make their own scarecrows at the Scarecrow Festival, a celebration with face painting, games, pony rides, bounce houses and a pumpkin patch. Supplies are limited, so please bring a long sleeved shirt and pants to stuff. Free admission; games and children’s activities additional. Dade City Historic Courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave., Dade City. (352) 567-0284. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Sci-Fi and Sky Night is a fun, science based event for students and families coincides with “International Observe the Moon” and includes the Planetarium Show Moon Dreams (7, 7:30, 8, 8:30 and 9 p.m.), a lecture by Peter Chitko from NASA (7-8 p.m.), a screening of the PG-rated film Despicable Me (8:05 p.m.) and telescope viewings (8:15-10 p.m. weather permitting). $3 per person donation. Science Center of Pinellas County, 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 384-0027. 6:30-10 p.m. Saturday.
Stormtroopers will raid the Star Wars Book Bash. Kids 12 and younger are invited to come dressed as their favorite Star Wars character and join the fun with games and crafts. Free. St. Petersburg Main Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7724. 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday.
Keep on your radar that the Clearwater Jazz Holiday is coming up next week. The free, four-day festival starts next Thursday in Coachman Park, with can’t-miss Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue (8:30 p.m.). Other headliners include Brian Culbertson, Maceo Parker and Dianne Reeves. www.clearwaterjazz.com
Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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