Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
It's like the calm before the storm. A down week after Halloween but before Thanksgiving and the holiday tidal wave. Go ahead, soak in it. Your to-do list can wait. Here's some free and cheap things to do in the meantime, and check out the $9 flights to Fort Lauderdale to get away from it all.
Friday night is date night for you and the kids with a free family movie and ice cream station. Watch Disney’s Toy Story 3 (and we’ll just pretend you have a cold coming on during the scene when Andy leaves for college) on a huge inflatable screen, and enjoy a free ice cream sundae station provided by Working Cow on Friday starting at 6:30 p.m. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs for this free movie night under the stars at the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive.
Ding, ding! Take the kids for a fun and cheap day riding Tampa’s historic streetcars Saturday for Streetcar Fest. Take a ride for 25 cents and get streetcar barn tours, activities at streetcar stations, contests and discounts at area attractions. It’s 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in Centro Ybor, 1600 E Eighth Ave. in Ybor City.
Give food, go to the circus. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is offering free circus tickets
to Tampa Bay do-gooders. For every 10 non-perishable food items donated for Metropolitan Ministries you get a ticket voucher for the Greatest Show On Earth coming in January. There’s a limit of four vouchers per household for the Jan. 5 opening night performance, and plaza level seating is not available. Donations will only be taken on Thursday Nov. 18 between 10 a.m. to noon. The box office is on the northwest side of the venue at 401 Channelside Drive.
Spirit Airlines is increasing the number of its daily flights Between Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. To celebrate, they are offering $9 Fares (each way based on round-trip purchase) today and Friday only. I'm sure this will sell out fast, but you can find them at the company's website here.
Many J.K. Rowling fans might be forgiven for not knowing Melissa Anelli's name but any Harry Potter geek with even a bronze knut’s worth of fan fervor knows about the Leaky Cauldron, her popular Harry Potter fan site that is the go-to blog for all things Potter. Her book, Harry, a History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon, is a New York Times bestseller, and her side hobby as a blogger has turned into a career. Hear her story at a free talk Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the USF Marshall Center Oval Theater on the Tampa campus, 4202 E Fowler Ave. Free.
Opa! Celebrate Greek heritage, culture, and food. That means gyros, baklava and traditional costumes, as well as wine, shopping and dancing Friday through Sunday at the Tampa Greek Festival at St. John Greek Orthodox Church and School, 2418 W Swann Ave., Tampa. It’s 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $2 in advance; $3 at the door; no charge for children ages 12 and younger. See the fest's website or call (813) 876-8830.
See more than 500 exhibits to keep your weekends busy for the next year thanks to the Tampa Bay Home Show. With everything related to Florida homes, entertainment and landscaping,it also has lots of kids' activities. It’s Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free parking and admission at Tropicana Field, 1 Stadium Drive, St. Petersburg.
And finally, somebody's coming. I think you know who. Santa and his helpers have fled the North Pole (where it was forecast to be 17 degrees today) for their extended stay among the palm trees. Here is when they’ll start hanging out at some bay area malls, ready to hear the wish lists of good little boys and girls.
- Ice Palace at International Plaza --The mall transforms into the Ice Palace, a 30-foot village that looks like it was carved from ice. At 7 p.m. Friday, welcome Santa and help light up the Ice Palace at this event with snow princess characters, interviews with characters from The Chronicles of Narnia via live stream from Hollywood and free light wands for children (while they last). The holiday snow globes exhibit, featuring highlights from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, will be open during mall hours daily through Dec. 24. International Plaza and Bay Street, 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa. (813) 342-3790.
- Gulf View Square --Starting Friday in the center court between T.J. Maxx and Best Buy. 9409 U.S. 19, Port Richey. (727) 848-3858.
- Brandon Westfield Town Center Mall --Starting Saturday in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods. 459 Brandon Town Center Mall, Brandon. (813) 661-5100.
- Tyrone Square Mall -- Starting Friday in the center court in front of Macy’s. 6901 Tyrone Square, St. Petersburg. (727) 345-0126.
- University Mall --Starting Nov. 20 next to Dillard’s on the lower level. 2200 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 971-3465
- Westfield Citrus Park Mall --He has been there since Nov. 6 in front of Macy’s. 8021 Citrus Park Town Center, Tampa. (813) 926-4644.
- Westfield Countryside Mall --Starting Saturday downstairs in front of Sears. 27001 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater. (727) 796-1070.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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