Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
We've got sandwich wars and Safari Nights, as well as a European-style circus and lots of free concerts and even fireworks for Memorial Day weekend. Check out our weekly guide to getting out of the house without going into debt:
There’s been a lot of smack talk lately between Tampa and Miami over who owns the “true” Cuban sandwich. Maybe Saturday’s Cuban Sandwich Festival will put the feud between slices of crusty bread to settle it. Celebrate Tampa’s Cuban history in Ybor’s Centennial Park with a day of food, upbeat music, a kids fun zone and friendly competition to find the best Cuban sandwich in the bay area. Among the entries to the competition are Tampa’s Alessi Bakery, Mata Monchies, Mr. Empanada, La Teresita, Stone Soup Company, Gaspar’s Grotto and more. And there is one brave South Florida entry: Hialeah’s Cuban Guys. Will Miami’s sandwich (sans salami) win this sandwich smackdown? It runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. (Meanwhile, we eagerly await a throwdown over which city owns those tasty deviled crabs.)
Lowry Park Zoo’s summer series Summer Safari Night at the Zoo features free rides after 5 p.m. and special animal encounters. Now, we should warn you that nightlife at the zoo isn’t exactly like what you might have gathered by watching Kevin James in 2011’s Zookeeper. For example, the monkeys can’t pick locks (not well, anyway). The lion and his mate aren’t having relationship problems. But the park’s gorilla does sound exactly like Nick Nolte and would really order 30 oranges if you took him to T.G.I Fridays.
Here are our three favorite animal quotes from Zookeeper that you can use to impress (or possibly annoy) the actual zookeepers at Lowry Park.
1. “I may have crushed an ostrich getting here.”
2. “Throw poop at her. That always works.”
3. “Lather, rinse, repeat.”
Admission is $23.95, $21.95 seniors, $18.95 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 5-8 p.m. Saturday.
The fourth annual Memorial Day weekend beach concert Bands on the Sand is a weekend of family events including arts and crafts vendors, food and drink concessions and live music from some of the area’s best. The lineup includes Cope, Steve Arvey Horn Band, Funky Seeds, Have Gun Will Travel, Human Condition, Sunza Beaches, Sarah Mac Band, Hubb Tones, Sound Parlor, Jubal’s Kin, the Exchange and Shoeless Soul. The party runs noon to 9 p.m. Saturday (with a fireworks finale at 8:50 p.m.) and Sunday. Free on the beach at 104th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard, T
Screen on the Green is a new downtown Tampa movie series set in Curtis Hixon Park that kicks off this month with Kung Fu Panda 2, which has the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan. Bring blankets, low-back chairs and a picnic. The fountains will be on for children to splash around in. Dogs on leashes are allowed. Kahwa Coffee will be selling iced and hot coffee products and sweets. Popcorn, candy and food trucks will also be available on site. The movie will start about 8 p.m. Friday at the park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.
The family-friendly street celebration Blast Friday features entertainment, unique vendors, fun foods, family activities and contests. This month features music by the Edgar Winter Band, the legendary band that created such classic hits as Frankenstein and Free Ride. It’s free in the 400 block of Cleveland Street in Clearwater starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Tickets are only $10 and kids get in free to see the Circus Florida Festival running through Sunday at the Florida State Fairgrounds. With European style performances, pony rides, a petting zoo, children’s attractions, pig racing and live music. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. today and Friday with the circus show at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at noon Saturday and Sunday with circus shows at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Gates open at noon Monday with circus shows at 2 and 6 p.m. $10, $18 box seats, 10 and younger free. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (941) 747-1975.
The Corey Avenue area of St. Pete Beach will have a Fourth Friday Food Truck Festival, a street festival that brings a lineup of food trucks, accompanied by live music by the Joel and Dakota Band, and local merchants open late. It starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Other family events this week:
A theatrical performance of Jack and the Beanstalk by Play’ N Around Theater. $15, $12.50 military/seniors, $9.50 children, under 1 free. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. 11 a.m. Saturday.
Once Upon a Time
This week-long program is all about the magical world of fairy tales. The museum welcomes families to create their own fairy tales, make a puppet, and take part in a fairytale fitness activity. $15, $12.50 military/seniors, $9.50 children, under 1 free. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday. Also, Let’s Go Fly a Kite starts the new week with kite flying activities. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday.
Parent’s Night Out: Kid’s Night Outside
Mom and Dad can go out on a date while kids in grades K-5 are entertained with supervised night hikes, crafts and a campfire with S’mores. $15. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 6-10 p.m. Friday.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will present a safety and educational session for kids and parents. Free child fingerprinting and ID card copy, educational material and safety pen. GattiTown, 1560 N McMullen Booth Road, Suite G, Clearwater. (727) 753-9982. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Follow the paths cut into a 5-acre patch of eight to 10-foot sunflowers. Also hay rides, a rubber duck race, tree house explorations, veggie cannon firings, petting farm, story telling, pig races, crafts and a picnic area. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. $8.50, $4.50 age 3-11, two and younger free (Cash only). Sweetfields Farm, 17250 Benes Roush Road, Masaryktown. (352) 279-0977. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
The museum is opening its doors early for families with kids with special needs. The lights and sounds are turned down and there will be special resources. Advanced registration required at glazermuseum.org/events/sunshine-sunday. $5, members free. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Bumbles and the Honey Bees
The popular children’s entertainment group will sing, tell stories and offer face painting to benefit Brandon Florida Help Portrait. Wally and Bobby Bumble will be available for autographs. $10 children, $5 adults. Embassy Suites Tampa Brandon, 10220 Palm River Road, Tampa. (813) 662-7555. 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Wee-time at Weedon
This portion features Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries book, Are You a Dragonfly? Includes crafts, and games. 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.
Young Anglers Fishing Tournament
Annual fishing contest with prizes for anglers 15 and younger. Winners from each of the three age groups (5 and younger, 6 to 10 and 11 to 15) receive a rod and reel combo, trophy and additional prizes. All registered anglers get a tournament T-shirt, bait bucket with shrimp, a bag filled with fishing goodies, lunch and a raffle ticket for additional prizes. Also face painting, kids games and activities. $15 ages 5 and younger; $25 ages 6 to 15. Hubbard’s Marina and the Friendly Fisherman Restaurant, 170 John’s Pass Boardwalk, Madeira Beach. (727) 393-1947. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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