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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



wiggles.jpgWe're going to head into August with a bang! We've got the Wiggles at the Rays game and fireworks after the Bucs practice and lots of free outdoor fun to wear our your kids this week without wearing out your wallet.

It's free to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp, but Saturday's is the best one to catch. The free night practice Saturday at Raymond James Stadium starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m. Enjoy $1 hot dogs and sodas — and fireworks — while staking out players for autographs. See for a schedule.

Not only is Sunday’s Rays game against the Baltimore Orioles the first Bark in the Park dog-friendly day at Tropicana Field, but there’s a DJ Kitty bobblehead doll giveaway, too. (Cats and dogs ... living together?) But wait, there’s more. In fact, you’d need a program to keep up with all the shenanigans on Sunday. If you could only buy a program at the ballpark. Here’s all you need to know:

  • BARK IN THE PARK:  Obviously, having man’s best friends indoors is going to take some finesse. For starters, dogs will be restricted to the tbt* Party Deck throughout the game. All dogs must enter at Gate 6 and walk up the helix to enter the section. A “dog package” (one person, one dog) will be $20 and include a Rays dog bowl. The dog’s vaccinations have to be current and leashes (no retractable ones) are a must. Plus, be prepared to clean up after your dog.
  • DJ KITTY: Only the first 10,000 kids age 14 and younger get a free bobblehead. Feel free to tease your dog with your new toy but you won’t be getting a second one free when Rex bites DJ Kitty’s head off.
  • THE WIGGLES: You might want to regulate the amount of cotton candy you feed the kids on Sunday, because after the game the Wiggles will take the stage in center field. And keep in mind that in May the Wiggles announced that the superstars who brought us Hot Potato and Big Red Car and Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy announced that three of the four original Wiggles are retiring, so this is your last chance to see this Fab Four live in concert. Jeff Fatt (Purple Wiggle), Murray Cook (Red Wiggle) and Greg Page (Yellow Wiggle) will leave after their 2012 tour. First pitch on Sunday: 1:40 p.m. Predicted time that entire family collapses from fatigue: 6:45 p.m. (888) 326-7297.

Tonight is the last of the Summer Savings Nights at the Aquarium The Florida Aquarium has half off admission after 5 p.m. and extended hours until 8 p.m. on select nights throughout the summer. Also features a performance by the Florida Aquarium Mermaids. Tonight also features live music by Casey Stidham. Explore A Shore water adventure closes at dusk. $21.95, $18.95 for seniors 60+, $16.95 for kids 3-12. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000. 5-8 p.m. today. Other theme parks also have extended hours and summer deals that are expiring soon. Check here for more.

Beach lovers will join hands in protest of offshore drilling at noon Saturday at more than 170 locations across the country for Hands Across the Sand. In Tampa Bay, they will be joining hands on the beach next to the Gandy Bridge and also behind the TradeWinds resort on St. Pete Beach. There will be some special activities at TradeWinds beginning at 11 a.m. at the resort’s Guy Harvey Outpost, including electric bicycle and JetLev jet pack demonstrations. Environmental groups also will be on hand, including Gulf Restoration Network and the Sierra Club. Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Resort, 6000 Gulf Blvd. St. Pete Beach.

This is the last of Tampa’s Screen on the Green summer movie series at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and it’s a good one: the charming Puss in Boots. There will be popcorn, candy and various Tampa food trucks on site, and you are encouraged to bring blankets and low-back chairs to enjoy the movie. The park’s fountains will be on for children to play in if it gets too hot. It’s Friday at 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. The movie starts at dusk.

Like a shopping mall stocked with beautifully plumed birds, the Minnreg building in Largo will be bird central at 9 a.m. Sunday for the Exotic Bird Fair, with lots of toys, cages and supplies as well as live entertainment, food and more. Admission is $4, 12 and under free at Minnreg Hall 6340 126th Ave. N, Largo. $4

The weekly shuffleboard night at the Mirror Lake club in St. Petersburg will be livened up with Stop! Drop! And Shuffle! shopping and music by Can’t Do It, Yo! Kissimmee and Luke Preston. Proceeds benefit families that have lost their homes to the Colorado wildfires. Free admission; $5 shuffleboard. 7 p.m. Friday. St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive N, St. Petersburg.

ropeskipper.jpgPicture rhythmic gymnastics with lightning quick ropes twirling to a beat. Welcome to the world of competitive rope jumping. The single jumpers and the double dutchers continue competition today through the weekend at the USF Sun Dome as part of the World Rope Skipping Championships. An opening ceremony is scheduled Saturday night, with world championships on Sunday. Teams from 19 countries with athletes as young as 12 will jump rope while tumbling, flipping and dancing. Australia, China, India, South Africa and Germany are just a few of the countries that will be represented. Spectators are allowed but must purchase tickets through the Sun Dome. Tickets  are $15 a day, $5 child; opening ceremony: $15, $5 child.

It's the first Tuesday of the month so that means it's time for Playin’ In the Park from the Fit Kids Playground folks at Curtis Hixon Park andit's also $2 Target Tuesday at the Glazer Children’s Museum. Fit Kids created this free program to fight childhood obesity and to introduce children ages 1 to 13 to programs available to help them stay active. The day includes music, demos and healthy snacks. Free. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 785-8484. 2-7 p.m. Tuesday. For Target Tuesday, everyone gets in for $2 from 2 to 7 p.m., thanks to Target. $2. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. 2-7 p.m. Tuesday.

Well, fiddle-dee-dee, who cares if you’ve already seen the 1939 epic romance Gone With the Wind? It’s one of those perfect movies to see on the big screen at the historic Tampa Theatre. The nearly 4-hour film starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable starts at 3 p.m. Sunday at 711 Franklin St., Tampa. $9, $7 members. (813) 274-8982.

Other family events this week:

Book Nook by the Bay
This month features Heidi de Maine’s book Abby the Aquarist and the featured creature is the Zebra Moray Eel. Fresh Fish Theater holds craft time for kids to make popsicle stick eel puppets before the reading. Included with daily admission. $5 adults, $4 students/seniors, 6 and younger free. Pier Aquarium, 800 Second Ave. NE, Suite 2001, St. Petersburg. (727) 803-9799. 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday.
Breakfast with Dali for Families
Monthly docent-led tours introduce Salvador Dali and the Dali Museum to families with children. The interactive tour highlights Dali paintings and other works that appeal to children. A Spanish-themed breakfast buffet and hands-on activities follow the tour. Reservations required. $21, $10 ages 6-12; $10, $5 ages 6-12 members. Dali Museum, One Dali Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg. (727) 823-3767. 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Fiddler on the Roof
An all-youth cast presents this classic musical about Tevye, a poor dairyman, and his five daughters. $14; $12 seniors, students, military; $10 children under 12. Masque Community Theatre, 8825 56th St., Temple Terrace. (813) 983-1710. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.
Itty Bitty Splashtime
Parents can mingle while their children ages 5 and younger enjoy the pool’s splash area. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. $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. St. Petersburg South Branch Library, 2300 Roy Hanna Drive S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7244. 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Let the Games Begin
Celebrates the 30th Olympic Summer Games and includes lessons about sports using relays, challenges and games. $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-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday.
Light Up the Night:  Storytime Series
Children ages 3 and older can put on their pajamas and bring a flashlight, pillow and blanket for a story time with activities focusing on nighttime animals, bedtime silliness, stars and space travel. Free. Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 784-3332. 7 p.m. today.
Miniature Train Rides
Kids of all ages can ride the miniature trains of Largo Central Railroad. Free (donations for train maintenance appreciated). Largo Central Railroad, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. (727) 587-6775. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
 Park Ranger Nature Educational Programs
Rangers guide children ages 9 to 15 through informative activities. This portion features “Jelly Fish and Water Color Art.” $5 per child, adults with children free, adult only $5 (cash only). Lettuce Lake Park, 6920 E Fletcher Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6204. 10 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.
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.
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.
Citrus Park Food Truck Rally
Food trucks, with music, vendors and family activities including musical chairs and a Hula Hoop contest. Broadstone Citrus Park, 8001 Gunn Highway, Tampa. (813) 679-7718. 4-8 p.m. Saturday.
Palm Harbor First Friday Food Trucks
With bouncy houses, rock climbing wall, cash mob, sidewalk chalk art and music. Downtown Palm Harbor. (813) 679-7718. 6-10 p.m. Friday.
Dive-In Movies
This week features the PG-rated animated film Madagascar. 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.
Muvico Free Summer Film Fest
Muvico’s SPF 100 summer movie series brings a different children’s movie every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Today features the PG-rated film Shrek Forever After, starring Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy. Tuesday and Wednesday features the PG-rated film Puss in Boots, starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis. Free. Baywalk 20, 151 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 502-0965. Also taking place at Palm Harbor 10, Starlight 20 in Tampa and Centro Ybor 20 in Tampa. 10 a.m. today and Tuesday-Wednesday.
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 the PG-rated animated comedy Arthur Christmas and Wednesday features the PG-rated animated adventure the Smurfs. $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-Wednesday.
Sunset Cinema at Pier 60
Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch free movies. Friday features Disney’s G-rated film the Lion King, and Saturday features the PG-13 rated film Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start at dusk.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 4:19pm]


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