Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
See a free water ski show, and there's free fireworks at the ballpark, and there's lots of free movies in the park or on the beach this week. Meanwhile, a summer zoo party returns and Gulfport salutes its waterfront with lots of family friend fun. We have all this and more in this week's round up of wallet-friendly diversions:
More than 100 skiers ages 6-60 perform theatrical water shows similar to those seen at Cypress Gardens. This week features the Southern Regional Show Ski Championship combined team show including barefoot, jump, ballet, adagio and pyramid acts. Free. Tower Lake, 130 Burbank Road, Oldsmar. (727) 480-9365. 6 p.m. Saturday.
Gulfport salutes its waterfront with Aquamania, a festival that includes a recycled regatta, water slides, arts and crafts vendors, children’s entertainment, live music, kayak and paddleboard races, badminton, a corn hole tournament and a potato sack race. It starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Gulfport Beach Park, 5730 Shore Blvd. Free.
The Fourth Friday Food Truck Festival in St. Pete Beach brings a lineup of food trucks of various cuisines to Corey Avenue starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday. This month features “Karaoke on Corey,” with food by Wicked Wiches, Keep’n it Reel, Killer Samich, Americanwiener, 3 Suns Organic Bistro, Maggie on the Move and more at 155 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach.
You get a free fireworks show after Saturday's Threshers game at 6:30 p.m. It's a matchup against Daytona and tickets are just $5-$9.50 at Bright House Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater.
Get your honey-do list ready. Some of the area’s top home improvement experts will be on hand for the Tampa Bay Home Show at Tropicana Field this weekend, along with more than 600 exhibits with everything related to Florida homes. It also includes live entertainment, seminars, demonstrations, giveaways and do-it-yourself ideas from experts. It’s free admission and parking 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Each Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. it’s free to visit the Tampa Museum of Art. This summer is a good time to take advantage of that deal to see two intriguing exhibits. “A Hundred Years — A Hundred Chairs” comes from the Vitra Design Museum, and should appeal to the whole family (although it may be tough to keep anyone from trying to sit on the art). The exhibit runs through Sept. 16. Also on display through Sept. 9 is “Masterworks of 20th Century Sculpture,” which chronicles important developments in sculpture in the second half of the 20th century. The museum is in downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 120 Gasparilla Plaza.
There's lots of free movies in the parks this weekend. This week features the PG-rated film for Screen on the Green is Shrek, starring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz. Free. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 274-7723. 8 p.m. Friday. In Treasure Island, Friday’s Flicks in the Park bring a blanket or lawn chair for a screening of Puss in Boots. The night begins at 7 p.m. with food vendors and children’s activities. Movie starts at 9 p.m. Free. Treasure Island Community Park, One Park Place and 106th Ave., Treasure Island. (727) 547-4575, ext. 237. 7 p.m. Friday. Or head to Clearwater Beach for Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 to plop on the sand and watch free movies. Friday The Adventures of Tin Tin, rated PG, and Saturday features Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows, rated PG-13. No alcohol. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start at dusk.
This sounds like something teenaged boys would love: Prison Break Mud Run In this 3 to 6-mile race, pretend you are a prisoner who has escaped from the Hillsborough County Correctional Facility. You run for your life through the forest, jumping logs, crossing creeks and sneaking through fields in an attempt to avoid police snipers (with paintball guns). $10-$60. In the Breeze Horse Ranch, 7514 Gardner Road, Tampa. (813) 264-1919. 8 a.m. Saturday.
Lowry Park Zoo’s summer series Summer Safari Nights returns Saturday with free rides after 5 p.m. and special animal encounters including a lady bug release. $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.
When the Rays are out of town, you can take a Tropicana Field Ballpark Tour. It's a 90-minute, wheelchair-accessible, behind-the-scenes tour of the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. See the Rays’ dugout, Press Box, Touch Tank, RaysVision control room, the Hitters Hall of Fame and more. Still and video cameras welcome. $9, $8 ages 65 and older, $7 ages 3-14, 2 and younger free. Tropicana Field, 1 Stadium Drive, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-888-326-7297. 10 a.m. Tuesday-Wednesday.
More family friendly fun
10 and Under Tennis Play Day
10 and Under Tennis uses tennis racquets sized for small hands and courts that are smaller and easier to cover and result in balls that bounce lower, don’t move as fast through the air and are easier to hit. Program includes refreshments and prizes. $20. Sandra W. Freedman Tennis Complex, 59 Columbia Drive, Tampa. (813) 431-5212. Noon-2 p.m. Saturday.
Bike Safety Rodeo
Children can have fun while they learn bicycle safety and rules of the road with games, prizes, giveaways, helmet fittings and bicycle safety inspections. Free. St. Pete Beach Community Center and Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9214. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
Journey back in time to learn about the world of dinosaurs and prehistoric times. $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. Monday-Wednesday.
Go Skateboarding Day
Celebrate with free skating, free barbecue food, giveaways and a trick contest for prizes. Free. Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. (813) 621-6793. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today.
Area vendors join together to help the community prepare for hurricane season at this event with free food, children’s activities, giveaways and raffles. Free. Manor Care, 2851 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor. (727) 787-4777. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Japanese Drumming at the Library
Tampa Taiko presents an interactive program that covers the history of Japanese drumming, a modern drumming performance and gives attendees a chance to actually play these handmade drums. Free. Oldsmar Public Library, 400 St. Petersburg Drive, Oldsmar. (813) 749-1178. 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Children will learn how early homesteaders, fishermen and sailors lived and worked through songs, games, a take-home toy-making project and other hands-on activities. This is a teen volunteer docent lead two-hour program. $3. Heritage Village, 11909 125th St., Largo. (727) 582-2125. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. today-Friday and Wednesday.
Families with children ages 5 and older are invited to the “star theater” that can accurately simulate the night sky at any time or location on Earth. The theme for the current show is “Stars of Summer” and runs through July 20. Telescope viewings from the rooftop observatory after the shows. Free. St. Petersburg College, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 341-4320. 7 and 8:15 p.m. Friday.
Summer Safari Night at the Zoo
Lowry Park Zoo’s summer series features free rides after 5 p.m. and special animal encounters including a lady bug release. $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.
Teen Tidalwave Tuesdays
Teens and tweens ages 11 to 17 can hang with friends and enjoy swimming, snacks, games and prizes in and around the pool. $3. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 7-9 p.m. Tuesday.
Westfield Family Fun Days
Children ages 2 to 5 can celebrate Dad at this athletic-themed experience including story time with Baron Baptiste’s book My Daddy is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids, and Margret and H.A. Rey’s book Curious George at the Baseball Game. Also includes snack time, make and take craft gifts for Dad, bike safety tips, an appearance by McGruff the dog and a display of bike safety equipment. Free. Westfield Citrus Park, 8021 Citrus Park Town Center, Tampa. (813) 926-4644. 4 p.m. today.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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