Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
We've got summer snow slides and a creepy bear giveaways at the Rays games, not to mention a great price break at a local children's museum. Read on for more wallet-friendly diversions with the kids this week:
Is it too early for snow? The Leon Festival on Friday (Leon is “Noel” spelled backward) and time to join the Metropolitan Ministries in marking the half-way point to Christmas at this festival with a 60-foot snow slide, photos with Santa, inflatable games, balloon characters, holiday music, face painting, video games, corn toss and visits by the Tampa Bay Storm mascot “Storm Dawg” and the Storm cheerleaders. Every $10 donation or donation of a new toy gets a free ticket to a Tampa Bay Storm game and “fun tickets” for rides. Free, but “Fun Tickets” are required for some activities. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 209-1000. 5-7:30 p.m. Friday.
See free water ski shows at the St. Petersburg Pier on Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. There will also be an Alligator & Python Show, Florida musicians, free oranges for all and seafood in this celebration of all things Florida.
The Rays are trying to give us nightmares. Just look at their weekend plans for the fans. First there’s the creepy “Zim Bear” giveaway on Friday, shown here at right, where naughty children will be given a teddy bear with Don Zimmer’s face on it. Then on Saturday, the team is going to party like it’s 1979 for their annual Turn Back the Clock night. Since the team only surfaced in 1998, they decided to go with “faux-back” jerseys to imagine what their uniform would have looked like when Carter was president. Check them out here. Hoo boy, nothing says the '70s like powder-blue awfulness, right? The Detroit Tigers will also don their '70s uniforms and Earth Wind & Fire will give a free show after the game. The game starts at 7:15 p.m., so wiggle into your bell bottoms, crank up the Pinto and boogie down to Tropicana Field.
Pollyzoom Live celebrate new artworks by Paula “Pollyzoom” Allen with live Pollyzoom characters and performances, music, projections and live graffiti by artist Christian Thomas. Wear white and get transformed into a colorful piece of artwork; each decorated guest will be featured in a new Pollyzoom collaborative artwork. Free refreshments. 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Free; $5 additional for Pollyzoom Room. Davidson Fine Art/Artful Living, 1100 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 821-2255.
There will be a wide variety of military vehicles on hand for kids to touch at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo on Saturday, and World War II re-enactors from the 1st Infantry Division will conduct presentations and drills. It’ll all take place for free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot (museum admission is $12.95-$17.95). 2050 34th Way N, Largo. (727) 539-8371.
It’s the first Tuesday of the month, so from 2 to 7 p.m. you get a huge discount for Target Tuesday at the Glazer Children’s Museum. Admission is just $2 (regular admission is $9.50 for children and $15 for adults) so be prepared for a long line to get in. (The bargains will continue on Independence Day, when admission to the museum is just $4. Score!) While you’re already at Curtis Hixon Park, check out Playin’ in the Park, a free session of healthy fun organized by Fit Kids Playground, also from 2 to 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month. The event includes exercises for kids, healthy snacks and entertainment. Hula hoops, jump ropes, bubbles and balls will be available for all kids to play with. Learn more at fitkidsplayground.com.
Families and younger kids can play on the courts at the Mirror Lake Shuffleboard Club during Shuffleboard Family Night. This week will feature a special July 4-themed obstacle course. It’s held every from 6:30 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through July 24. It’s $3 per player to slide the discs across the deck, and ice cream will be served each week at 559 Mirror Lake Drive N, St. Petersburg.
There are lots of free and cheap family movies this week, including a showing of Hugo in the lush Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. For $5 you can come explore the gardens starting at 5 p.m., then settle in on a blanket or lawn chair for Martin Scorsese’s lauded movie. Other movie options this week include Dive-In Movie Friday at the St. Pete Beach Pool, which will feature Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II at 8 p.m. for $4. It’s at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. On Clearwater Beach, there were will be free movies just after sundown at Pier 60. Friday is Journey 2: the Mysterious Island, while Saturday brings The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. And as part of its summer cult movie series, the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater will have often-quoted The Princess Bride on the big screen at 3 p.m. Sunday for $5.
Other family friendly events this week
$4 for July 4
For Independence Day, there will be a price break of $4 admission to Glazer Children’s Museum on Wednesday. Regular admission is $9.50 for children and $15 for adults, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa.
All About Owls
This owl program for kids includes live owls, a puppet show, crafts, dissecting owl pellets and games. $3 park entry, class free. Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, 7200 County Road 603, Bushnell. (352) 793-4781. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday.
American Zoo Day
To help guests “connect with the living Earth,” the zoo is offering some extras including ice cream and a scavenger hunt challenge. $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. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Arts of the Spirit
Integrated art, songs, drama and movement that offers children ages 6 to 11 the opportunity to put stories to music. $80. Unity of St. Petersburg, 6168 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg. (727) 502-9065. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today-Friday.
Adventure Island extends their hours for a tropical family event with live entertainment, food, fire performers and island fun. $42.99, $38.99 ages 3-9, 2 and younger no fee. Adventure Island, 10001 McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 987-5600. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. today-Saturday.
Itty Bitty Splashtime
Children ages 5 and younger enjoy the cool waters of the pool’s splash area. $1.50. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 9:45-10:45 a.m. Friday, Monday and Wednesday.
Kids take a walk in the preserve to explore nature through crafts and activities. Best for ages 4-7. $10. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Children will learn how early homesteaders, fishermen and sailors lived and worked through songs, games, a 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 and Friday.
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, with a lively talk about the astronomy. The theme for the current show is “Stars of Summer” and runs through July 20. Telescope viewings from the rooftop observatory will be offered after the 8:15 p.m. show, weather permitting. Free. St. Petersburg College, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 341-4320. 7 and 8:15 p.m. Friday.
Regal Summer Movie Express
Area Regal Cinema theaters will show select G- and PG-rated movies for $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the summer. This week features Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore on Tuesday and Hugo on Wednesday. $1. Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 North, Pinellas Park. (727) 525-7777. Other locations offering this deal include Largo Mall 8 and Citrus Park 20. Movie schedules may vary by location. Check individual theaters for information. 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sunset Music Series
Watch the sunset over St. Joseph Sound and enjoy live music by Ron and the Classics (Playing hits from teh '50s through the ’80s/vocal impersonation). Free. Weaver Park, 2750 Bayshore Blvd., Dunedin. (727) 812-4540. 7-9 p.m. Friday.
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.
Wee-time at Weedon
This portion features Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries book Are You a Butterfly?, a book about tiny living things. Includes story related crafts, games and other hands-on activities. 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.