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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



zoo.jpgIt's midsummer, and it's tiime for someone to give Momma a break! Luckily we have lots of helpers, from $5 day at the zoo, to cool movies in the park to a cool art show in the blessed air-conditioning. And all of them are budget friendly. Read on for more free and cheap things to do with kids this week:

Everyone gets into Lowry Park Zoo for $5 on Sunday. They do this a couple times a year, so you better get there early because you’re not the only one who thinks this is an awesome deal. Wear breathable clothes and water shoes so you can cool off in the zoo’s splash zone when the heats gets too tough to take. The zoo is open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa.

Air conditioning opened up Florida, and is the reason it’s now so populated. It was also the impetus 24 years ago to start the Cool Art Show, running on Saturday and Sunday at the St. Petersburg Coliseum. Now featuring about 80 artists, it runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days . 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free parking and admission. No pets.

Fans of the popular Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Petersburg can still get their favorite foods and crafts from vendors this summer at the Williams Park Summer Market. More than 40 vendors set up shop each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in shady Williams Park until the end of August. 

The Patel Conservatory Youth Theater presents their version of Disney’s play Beauty and the Beast Jr. in which Belle becomes a captive in the Beast’s enchanted castle, with dancing flatware, menacing wolves and singing furniture. $15-$22. Ferguson Hall at David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. 7 p.m. today-Friday.

We have lots of cheap movie options to choose from this week
Dive-In Movies
Bring your noodles, floats and chairs for a screening of the PG-rated animated film Puss in Boots. Get there early so you can float and swim a while before the film starts. $4-$5. St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9264. 8 p.m. Friday.
Flick and Float
Float in the pool while you enjoy themed games, free hot dogs, contests, crafts and a screening of the PG-13 rated film Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke and Gwyneth Paltrow (at about 9 p.m.). $5, $4 resident. Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. (727) 518-3126. 7:30-11 p.m. Friday.
 Screen on the Green
The new outdoor family event features G and PG-rated movies with short animations before the main film. This portion features the PG-rated film Beetlejuice, starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Michael Keaton.  Free. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 274-7723. 8 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. Tuesday features Rio and Wednesday features Spy Kids: All the Time. Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 N, Pinellas Park. (727) 525-7777. Other locations include Largo Mall 8 and Citrus Park 20. Movie schedules may vary by location. Check individual theaters for information. 10 a.m. Tuesday-Wednesday.
Sunset Cinema at Pier 60
Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Friday features the PG-rated film Lilo and Stitch and Saturday features the PG-13 rated film The Vow Edited. No alcohol. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start at dusk.

Families are invited to celebrate the Crochet Coral Reef, the  1,200-square-foot exhibit featuring a bleached coral reef, oil spill reef and thousands of crocheted shells, fish, eels, rays and other marine life at this event with a scavenger hunt, a live coral tank from the Pier Aquarium, coloring, games, a crochet touch tank and a contest to guess how many starfish are on the reef. RSVP appreciated by Monday. Free. Florida Craftsmen Galleries, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 821-7391. 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday.

snooty.jpgBradenton resident Snooty — the oldest known manatee in captivity — is turning 64. You’d think this senior citizen would be getting a Snuggie or a copy of Cocoon on VHS. But no, the South Florida Museum will celebrate Saturday with a free outdoor party of children’s games, a wildlife awareness fair, cookies and juice from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No cake, please! A fellow his age has to watch what he eats; he gets 70 pounds of lettuce and 15 pounds of assorted vegetables each day. Museum admission is reduced to $8 for adults, $7 seniors, $6 for children 4 to 12 at 201 10th St. W, Bradenton. (941) 746-4131.

Ever wanted to try stand up paddleboarding? A three day family camp lets you and kids age 6-16 immerse yourself in the Stand Up Paddleboarding Kids Ocean Crest Experience It's A three-day interactive ocean/shore experience with ocean and shore clean-up, paddleboarding, lifeguard safety, yoga, a Native American tribute to the sea and Earth and programs on sea life including turtles, shorebirds and sharks.  This is not a drop-off camp, but a family experience. Hotel packages with optional late check-out available. There's a barbecue Friday night that's $9 for kids, $12 for adults from 5-8 p.m. And the two day camp is $25. Magnuson Hotel and Marina Cove, 6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane S, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 324-7614 to RSVP or register at 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.

Other family friendly events this week:

Breakfast with the Otters
Is there anything cuter than a river otter? Ponder that during a breakfast buffet from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, when a Florida Aquarium biologist talks about how the aquarium cares for the otters. Guests can feed the otters, too. $39, $34 children. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000.
Summer Nights at the Aquarium
the Florida Aquarium in Tampa greets these dog days with half-off admission after 5 p.m. and extended hours until 8 p.m. on select nights, including tonight. Summer Savings Nights also features an exclusive performance by the new Florida Aquarium Mermaids. If the educational displays don’t satisfy the young ones, there’s always the Explore A Shore water adventure (which closes at dusk). $21.95, $18.95 for seniors 60+, $16.95 for kids 3-12. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000.
Touch-A-Truck and WWII Re-enactors
Visitors can interact with a variety of military vehicles while World War II re-enactors from the First Infantry Division conduct presentations and drills. $17.95, $14.95 disabled veterans/seniors, $12.95 children ages 5-12, ages 4 and younger/retired or active military free. Armed Forces History Museum, 2050 34th Way N, Largo. (727) 539-8371. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Westfield Family Fun Days
Kids ages 2 and older can take an imaginary trip to Paris through Stephanie Rausser and Nina Gruener’s book Kiki and Coco in Paris, and Miroslav Sasek’s book This is Paris. The first 75 kids get a sneak peak at a new TV episode of Super Why Around the World Adventure, a free Super Why storybook and a Super Why mask. Free. Books A Million Brandon, 459 Brandon Town Center Mall, Brandon. (813) 661-5100. 4 p.m. today.
Celebrity Mascot Games
The wacky annual event features approximately 28 mascots from MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA and Arena Football League teams across the country competing to be champion of the mascot world. A few participating mascots include Stuff from the Orlando Magic, Albert and Alberta from the University of Florida, Knightro from the University of Central Florida and Rowdy from the Dallas Cowboys. $10, $16 reserved, $8 military. Amway Center, 400 W Church St., Orlando. (407) 440-7000. 12:30 p.m. Friday.
Itty Bitty Splashtime
Parents and caregivers can enjoy the companionship of other parents and caregivers while their 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.
 Lego Mania
The library brings out boxes of Legos for kids to use their imaginations and explore creativity while developing social skills through interaction with other kids. Free. James Weldon Johnson Branch Library, 1059 18th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7113. 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
 Park Ranger Nature Educational Programs
Rangers guide children ages 9 to 15 through a variety of informative activities. This portion features “Let’s Make Home Made Butter and Eat It!” $5 per child, adults with children free, adult only $5 (cash payment only). Lettuce Lake Park, 6920 E Fletcher Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6204. 10 a.m. Saturday.
Passport Adventures
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.
Planetarium Shows
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.” 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.
Saturday Sunsets on the Trail
Vendors line about 1 mile of the beachfront trail with live music by De Lie’ed Parrots (1-4 p.m.) and Michael Nichols (5-8:30 p.m.), street performers, water slides and various inflatables for the kids. Free. Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. (727) 547-4575. 1-9 p.m. Saturday.
Dascaloja Puppeteers
The library’s Teen Puppeteer Troupe present folk tales, stories and songs with puppets or skits and songs as themselves. Free. Clearwater Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave., Clearwater. (727) 562-4970. 10:30-11:30 a.m. today.
 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.
The PreSchool Place
Children ages 5 and younger explore fun with American Sign Language using stories, music and crafts. Free. Countryside Library, 2741 State Road 580, Clearwater. (727) 562-4970. 10:30-11:45 a.m. today.
 Youth Shuffleboard League and Family Night
It’s family night at the shuffleboard courts. Older kids break up into age-appropriate shuffleboard league play. Meanwhile families and younger kids can also play on the courts. Ice cream will be served. $3, members free. Mirror Lake St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive N, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-2083. 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday.
Be a Reader to Canines
Southeastern Guide Dogs invites kids to bring their books and read to the dogs. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Free. Southeastern Guide Dogs: Sarasota, 1618 Main St., Sarasota. (941) 953-2892. 1-3 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 12:10pm]


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