Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
We've got the last gasp of summer ahead of us and we can celebrate by watching movies poolside, checking out a cool art show or seeing 5 bridges in downtown Tampa lit up beautifully in a new public art display. Read on for more free and cheap things to do with your kids this week:
Summer is winding down and this week is your last chance at some local watering holes to catch family friendly movies while floating in a pool. Friday is the last Dive-In Movie (Smurfs) at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. It’s $4 and the doors open at 8 p.m. Also on Friday is the last Flick and Float (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) at Fossil Park Pool, 6739 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. It’s $4, $3.50 ages 3-12, with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. And Friday at 7 p.m. there will be games and prizes before the last Flicks and Fins (Kung Fu Panda 2) at Seminole Recreation Center, 9100 113th St. N, Seminole. Price: $4, $3 child (nonmember); $2, $1.50 child (member).
Hit the lights! Five bridges around downtown Tampa will be enhanced by artistic lighting in a permanent addition to downtown public art and a nifty way to gussy up the city before the Republican National Convention arrives. The mayor will switch on the lights Friday at 8:15 p.m. in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, followed by a free screening of The Wizard of Oz, so bring some blankets or chairs. Kids will get free glow-in-the-dark accessories and food vendors will be on hand. See www.lightsontampa.org for a map of vistas along the Tampa Riverwalk to see the bridge lights, which were created by Chicago-based lighting artist Tracey Dear, who lit the bridges in Chicago as well as the Wrigley Building.
Saturday's Back to School Fair at the Glazer Children's Museum not only has loads of giveaways, but the $5 admission gets you access to the museum as well. Prepare for the upcoming school year with tips on health, wellness and safety while enjoying live entertainment, games, arts and crafts, face painting, balloon artists, informative speakers, karaoke and workshops. The first 150 kids get a free back to school goodie bag filled with school supplies. Also, 11-year-old author Connor Wilson will read from and sign copies of his new book A Giant Pencil. Includes admission to the museum. $5, members free. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 949-4400. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Today at the Tradewinds' Guy Harvey Outpost (formerly the Sandpiper Resort) there will be a talk about Nesting Sea Turtles and Their Survival The free talk at 6:30 p.m. you can learn about the habitat, life histories and conservation of sea turtles as well as video of the turtles laying eggs and the hatchlings. Following the presentation you will visit a nesting beach habitat with marine educator Joe Malo. It's free at the resort, 6000 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach. Phone: (727) 343-1272
There will be treats for both dogs and people= and a photographer taking pictures of owners and their pooches, free of charge from noon to 2 p.m. at the Dog Daze of Summer art show at the Artist’s Faire Gallery and Gift Shop in Tarpon Springs. It starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. with canine art by gallery artists including ceramics, paintings and photographs. The gallery is at 111 Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs. (727) 934-2952.
Jump over to Leaping Frogs for Kids. This educational program for kids is all about native frogs and toads in central Florida. It includes a puppet show, crafts, games, an art activity and live frogs on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, 7200 County Road 603, in Bushnell. Admission is $3 per carload (up to eight people). (352) 793-4781.
Get ready for school with a Tail Waggin’ Tutor Children can work on their reading skills by reading to a therapy dog. They don’t mind if a child gets stuck on words. They love them anyway. Free. St. Petersburg Main Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7724. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Monday.
The Shops at Wiregrass mall hosts Back-to-School Saturday with Teen Vogue. It's an official day of back-to-school shopping with discounts in select stores and “Bieber Fever” games and activities. Radio Disney will host a Justin Bieber lip sync contest with one lucky winner taking away two tickets to the sold out Justin Bieber concert in Orlando. Present the coupon from the Teen Vogue Insider app on your iPhone or mention the “BTSS” promotion at the register to redeem discounts. Free. The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. (813) 994-2242. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday.
Chess players of all ages compete to see who will be the true “Knight of the Square Table” at chess club matches. Free. St. Petersburg Main Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7724. 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday.
Discover Nature and Culture with Your Child when you stop by the coastal classroom at Weedon Island Preserve on Satuday so children can explore authentic archaeological materials and sift through the past with hands-on aboriginal tools. Free. Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500. 1-3 p.m. Saturday. The Brooker Creek Preserve is hosting a similar event Saturday, with questions like who lives in that skin? What is the difference between a carnivore and an herbivore? Whose tracks are those? These are just a few of the questions you may explore. This is an open classroom event, so stop in anytime from noon-3 p.m. All ages welcome. Free. Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. (727) 453-6800. 1-3 p.m. Saturday.
Other family events this week:
Downtown Movie Night
Bring your own seating to see family movies projected on an outdoor screen adjacent to City Hall. This portion features Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. In the PG-rated film, a 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. Alcohol prohibited. Free. Oldsmar City Hall, 100 State St., Oldsmar. (813) 749-1260. 8 p.m. Friday.
Dream Big: Summer Reading Carnival
Celebrate summer reading at this carnival with skill games, booths, sand art, a bouncy moonwalk, airbrush tattoos, a visit with the Chick-fil-a cow and loads of activities. $1 per ticket, 10 tickets $8; reading club participants free. Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 784-3332. noon-4 p.m. Saturday.
Fiddler on the Roof
An all-youth cast presents this classic musical about Tevye, a poor dairyman, and his five daughters in the little village of Anatevka. $14; $12 seniors, students, military; $10 11 and younger. Masque Community Theatre, 8825 56th St., Temple Terrace. (813) 983-1710. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.
Flicks in the Garden
Bring a blanket or low lawn chair and find a comfortable spot in the beautiful gardens to view a movie after a few hours of garden explorations. Entry anytime after 5 p.m. Movie begins at 8:30 p.m. $5. Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales. (863) 676-1408. 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Adventure Island extends their hours for a tropical family event with live entertainment, food, a Duval Street style market, Polynesian style dancers, 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
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. 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.
Children ages 3 to 4 can join in the fun with a nature story, crafts and outdoor exploration. This week features “Ants on Parade.” Observe ant behavior and learn insect characteristics. $3. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday.
Kids’ Summer Camp in the Kitchen
Kids ages 8 to 15 learn cooking skills in week-long cooking camps. Chef John Lewis leads them through preparing a complete meal, and a mystery basket of recipe ingredients each Wednesday. $185 per week. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 550 Laura Lane, Dunedin. (727) 433-1889. Camp begins 9 a.m.-noon Monday.
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 Main Public Library , 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7724. 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Manufacturing and Team Building Workshop for Teens
Middle and high school students race against the clock in this four-hour interactive role playing game requiring them to work as a team to receive orders, obtain parts, interact with vendors, assemble and deliver a product they’ve agreed to manufacture. Free. Science Center of Pinellas County, 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 384-0027. 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.
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 Puss in Boots, starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis. Tuesday and Wednesday feature the PG-rated animated film Over the Hedge, starring Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling and Steve Carell. 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.
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.
Park Ranger Nature Educational Programs
Rangers guide children ages 9 to 15, and children at heart, through a variety of fun and informative activities. This portion features “Raising Chickens In Your Back Yard.” $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. Sunday.
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.
Summer Safari Night at the Zoo
Shake your tail at the Jungle Jamz-themed night with live music. Lowry Park Zoo’s summer series features free rides after 5 p.m. and special animal encounters. $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 11-17 can hang with friends and enjoy swimming, snacks, games and prizes in and around the pool. This is the “End of the summer” pool party. $3. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 7-10 p.m. Tuesday.
Wee-time at Weedon
This portion features Suzanne Tate’s book Harry Horseshoe Crab: A Tale of Crawly Creatures. This book teaches about “living fossils” that date back nearly 200 million years. Includes story related crafts, games and other hands-on activities. Best for ages 3 to 5. Free (registration required). Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500. 10:30-11:15 a.m. today.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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