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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



As Halloween approaches we have lots of spooky and pumpkin-y happenings pouring in. But there's also fun pet events, free outdoor movies and more wallet-friendly ways to entertain the kids.

cliffordexhibit.jpgAdventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog has just arrived at the Glazer Children's Museum.  It’s just like hanging out in Clifford’s neighborhood from the books and TV cartoon with this new exhibit at the Glazer Children’s Museum. It features a 9-foot Clifford with a tail to slide down, a giant Xylobone and drum area, and a bone-shaped beach. The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and is on display through Dec. 31. Included with admission: $15, $12.50 military/seniors, $9.50 children, under 1 free. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. (NOTE: If you want to wait for a price break, admission is just $5 on Halloween for their Halloween Spree party where they will be handing out treats, and the next $2 Target Tuesday is Nov. 1.)

Saturday brings the return of the SPCA 3K Pet Walk. After 21 years, this big fundraiser for SPCA Tampa Bay has grown into a community happening. Bring your pup along for the fun 1.8-mile walk around downtown St. Petersburg’s waterfront Straub Park. There will be water bowls scattered throughout the park and lots of goodies for the humans, too, from a free IHOP breakfast for registered fundraisers ($25 to register yourself or a team) to an adoptable pet parade, pet boutique, amateur agility course, best-dressed pet competition, a doggie spa, face painting and clowns. The fun starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the walk begins at 10:15 at Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE. Free.

Have a water-loving dog? Take them to the Soggy Doggie Splash Party. It’s a puppy pool party with a Halloween theme Saturday at Largo’s Highland Recreation Complex. Enter your pup in the costume contest or the owner/dog relay race. Dogs less than 18 inches swim from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; dogs taller than 18 inches swim from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Owners must provide proof of vaccination. No swimming for people. 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. $5 per dog; free for owners. (727) 518-3018.

OK, OK, enough with the dog events. The Halloween activities are pouring in. You can go here for a complete list, but here's some of this weekend's hightlights:
--ZooBoo Lowry Park Zoo’s family-friendly Halloween event with haunted houses and trails for older zoogoers, boo houses and seasonal lights for little ones. Also unlimited zoo rides in the dark. $17, $14 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7-10 p.m. Sunday.
--Halloween Egg Haunt Ghosts and goblins will hide orange and black eggs in and around the pool for kids to dive, swim and hunt for. After the hunt, they can trick-or-treat around the pool deck or just play on the waterslides. $3. St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9264. 11 a.m. Saturday.
--Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch Trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, a bounce house, face painting, dance performances and a children’s rock concert. Pumpkin patch opens at 10 a.m. Leashed dogs are welcome. Free. Hyde Park Village, 1622 W Snow Ave., Tampa. (813) 251-3500. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
--Pint Size Pumpkin Patch Children ages 6 and younger can dress in costume and join the treat parade. There will also be fall activities, crafts, food and a special visit from a storytelling scarecrow. Registration required by Saturday . $5, 1 and younger free. Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. (727) 518-3125.
6-7:30 p.m. Monday.

Have fun while benefitting a worthy cause at the Horse Power for Kids Fundraiser All your favorite fall festivities included with admission, including pony rides, hay rides, farm animals, train rides, face painting, bonfire, pumpkin patch, music, hot dog and drink. Children $10, adults $6. Horse Power for Kids, 8005 Racetrack Road, Tampa. (813) 855-8992. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

See  The Adventures of Stuart Little on stage at American Stage on Saturday. Follow the endearing mouse Stuart on his quest as he leaves home for the first time, meets fascinating characters and learns to survive in the real world. Pay what you can at the door, $15 advance. American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-7529. 11 a.m. Saturday.

Now that the weather has cooled, take advantage of the many free Movies in the Park

  • Land O'Lakes Community Center: Bring chairs and blankets for a free outdoor movie. This week features the family/adventure Gulliver’s Travels. Concessions available. Movies begin at sundown. Land O’Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’Lakes Blvd. (813) 333-2288. 7 p.m. Saturday.
  • Friday Night Movies in Pioneer Park: Features the 1954 horror/sci-fi film The Creature from the Black Lagoon, starring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams and Richard Denning. Dress up as your favorite character or thing from the film. Free. Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue, Dunedin. (727) 812-4530. 8 p.m. Friday.
  • Music and Movies in the Park: Features the 1953 Western/drama Shane, starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Van Heflin.  Bring a picnic and enjoy the water view. Music starts at 6 p.m., and the film starts at dark. Free. North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. (727) 463-4612. 6 p.m. today.
  • Sunset Cinema at Pier 60:  Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Friday features the G-rated film The Wizard of Oz. Saturday features the PG-13 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060.

The Planetarium Shows at St. Petersburg College are a real treat for space fans.  Families with children ages 5 and older are invited to the “star theater,” which can simulate the night sky at any time or location. This portion features “Legends of the Fall.” Weather permitting, the rooftop observatory will be open after the shows for kids to check out the stars and planets using telescopes. Free. St. Petersburg College, 6605 Fifth Ave. N. (727) 341-4320. 7 and 8:15 p.m. Friday.

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 2010 PG-rated family adventure Tangled. Tuesday’s show follows the martial arts-filled adventures of Po the Panda in Kung Fu Panda. Free. Westfield Countryside Mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N, Suite 2096, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070. 2 p.m. today and Tuesday.

The Bank of America Children’s Learning Center will be open for Saturdays at the Morean, a day of art exploration with open art stations and take-home projects. Free. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

MC Phil Penne presides over the Silverhawk Native American Flute Gathering and Arts and Crafts Show. This event honors Native American traditions with flute players, singers, storytellers, didgeridoo players, Sacred Thunder Drumming and a Friendship Fire (Saturday only). Vendors also will be selling handmade flutes, Native American leather clothing, jewelry, blankets, Painted Ponies, Native American food, homemade ice cream and kettle corn.  Free. Withlacoochee River Park, 12449 Withlacoochee Blvd., Dade City. (813) 763-2118. 9 a.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Boktoberfest combines the kickoff of fall planting season with a traditional Oktoberfest-style celebration featuring a biergarten with live entertainment, German food, craft and seasonal beers, tree climbing, face painting, pumpkin painting, prize drawings, and an array of plants for sale. Free admission. Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. (863) 676-1408. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

High school marching band shows look more like a Broadway show or Glee nowadays. About 24 bands — including local ones and some from South and Central Florida — will compete in the Tarpon Springs Outdoor Music Festival hosted by the Tarpon Springs High School Leadership Conservatory for the Arts. Trophies will be awarded, and each division will crown a champion. Free parking. $13 adults; $8 students and children 13 and older; $5 children 12 and younger. Tarpon Springs High School, 1411 Gulf Road. (727) 512-3710. 1 p.m.

The greasy goodies of the Hillsborough County Fair continue through this weekend with midway rides, carnival-style foods, livestock shows, live music, pig racing and the Horses Got Talent Too show. $7, $5 students age 6 through high school, 5 and younger free. You can get a $15 wristband for all rides today. Also, free admission if dressed in FFA jacket or with FFA membership card. Friday, you can get a $20 wristband for all rides. Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, corner of Sydney Washer Road and Highway 60, Brandon. (813) 737-3247. 5 p.m. today-Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday, noon Sunday.

I have to admit this gives me the creeps but the Rattlesnake Festival has become hugely popular in Pasco County.  Snake and reptile shows, arts and crafts, a Western Wear Show, wildlife exhibits, custom car show, Rattlesnake Run, gopher races and the Miss Rattler Beauty Pageant. Free. San Antonio City Park, 32810 Pennsylvania Ave. (352) 588-4444. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

The Wesley Chapel Fall Festival will have a custom car show, battle of the wings contest, arts and crafts show, a beer garden, live music, bounce houses, face painting, inflatable games, interactive crafts and a hamster ball. Free admission. The Grove, 6333 Wesley Grove Blvd., Wesley Chapel. (813) 505-3065. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

This isn't cheap but just so you know, The Addams Family arrives on Tuesday. Buh da duh dum. Snap snap. The macabre musical with Gomez, Morticia and the rest of the weird family comes to life at the Straz’s Broadway Series. The show is based on the Charles Addams single-panel gag cartoons rather than any TV or film incarnations. (Though it does use TV’s catchy theme song.) The touring production is a total revamp of the Broadway show. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Oct. 20, 8 p.m. Oct. 21, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 22 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Straz Center in Tampa. Tickets start at $38.50. (813) 229-7827.  

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:15am]


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