Free and cheap things to do with kids this week
As fall comes on with all its busy-ness, we have lots of wallet-friendly ways to spend what little free time you have left with what little cash you have left. You can get a free meal if you don a chicken costume, 1905 prices at Columbia, a price break at the zoo and more in this week’s list of free and cheap things to do with kids:
It’s going to be a busy weekend at the Lowry Park Zoo. Saturday is Zoo Run Run, the annual 5K and children’s fun run inside the zoo and along the Hillsborough River includes admission for the day afterward. Check-in 6:30 a.m. Saturday; $35, $10 kids run. Then on Sunday, it’s the popular $5 Day at the Zoo. They only offer this price break a few times a year so it draws a crowd. This Sunday they’ve added free extra parking available by the Tampa Greyhound Track with free shuttles 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The zoo is at 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa.
Having witnessed hundreds of people willing to dress like a cow for free food at Chick-fil-A, we are guessing Pollo Tropical will have no shortage of people willing to trade their dignity for a free meal on Saturday for National Chicken Lovers Day. Pollo Tropical will give you a free quarter-chicken meal that day, complete with rice and beans, to anyone who dresses from head to toe in yellow and clucks like a chicken. The offer is good from 2 to 7 p.m. Visit pollotropical.com for locations.
Columbia Restaurant’s annual 1905 Day ranks as one of the year’s top don’t-miss events. This year it’s Sunday, celebrating the 107th anniversary of Florida’s oldest dining franchise. What’s the big deal? Just that menu prices at Columbia’s five restaurants statewide (but not the Tampa International Airport and Riverwalk cafes) are rolled back to ridiculously low prices. How low? Try $2.95 for full-portion entrees including chicken Ybor with yellow rice, boliche beef medallions and a Merluza-baked fish fillet. Columbia’s famed 1905 salad is prepared at your table for only $1.95. Spanish bean or Cuban black bean soup is served in a cup (50 cents) or bowl (75 cents). Flan for dessert costs only 50 cents. Get there early because this deal is for dine-in only and tip like you paid full price
Bring your appetite for Festival Del Sabor in Ybor City on Saturday. The family-friendly event showcases the sabor (flavor) of Tampa Bay’s Hispanic culture through food, music and art and attempts to find Tampa Bay’s best arroz con pollo . Free admission. Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
It’s been 31 years since Raiders of the Lost Ark first hit theaters — June 12, 1981, for those taking notes — but as Indy liked to say, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.” That’s why AMC Theaters is bringing back all four Indiana Jones installments — Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — for a one-day-only movie marathon. The adventure begins Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Veterans 24 in Tampa and Regency 20 in Brandon. Tickets are $25 and include a poster and a lanyard, while supplies last. (Go to amctheatres.com/events/indiana-jones for more information.)
The hip Art on the Water event has a lot going for it. For one thing, location: Along the Riverwalk next to Jackson’s Bistro in Tampa will be more than 80 artists with tents and art displays. Add in a display by Ferrari of Tampa Bay and samples by sponsor Blue Moon Brewing Company, plus food, drink and live music by the Soul Circus Cowboys, and you’ve got quite a scene. Both valet and self-park are available at Jackson’s Bistro Bar & Sushi, 601 S Harbour Island Blvd. It’s free and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Celebrate Mexican Independence Day at a street fiesta in Clearwater on Saturday as they celebrate “El Grito,” which refers to the shout for independence that marked the beginning of the struggle for Mexico’s independence from Spain. Starting at 3 p.m. Saturday, the Clearwater East Gateway District at Cleveland Street and Betty Lane will have an outdoor street fiesta with live bands, mariachi music, face painting, bounce houses, Mexican food, beer and soft drinks. Free.
More family friendly events this week
Great Gospel Showcase
Gospel singers, including Tampa’s own Belinda Womack, Marvin Winans Jr. and numerous gospel choirs raise their voices for a fundraiser benefiting A Brighter Own Community preschool. $22.50, $12.50 children. Ferguson Hall at Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. 5 p.m. Saturday.
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 drama Big Miracle, starring Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski and John Pingayak. Saturday features the PG-13 rated drama Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. No alcohol. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start at dusk.
Captain Underpants and Friends Party
At the sound of fingers snapping, you’ll put on some underpants and a red cape with black polka dots for this party celebrating Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series of children’s books. Activities include games, crafts and prizes. Free. St. Petersburg Main Public Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 892-5296. 11 a.m. Saturday.
Crime Prevention Run and Family Festival
The P 28th annual crime prevention 5K run and festival featuring live entertainment, health and financial information and vendors. Free. Childs Park and Center, 4301 13th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 327-2081. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Fold and Fly Paper Airplanes
Dean Mackey, curator of the Online Paper Airplane Museum, teaches different techniques for folding paper airplanes. Then, fly your creations in the Safety Harbor Paper Airplane Contest. Free. Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 Second St. N, Safety Harbor. (727) 724-1525. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Monday.
Nature events at Boyd Hill
Organic Gardening for Children ages 8 to 13 can learn the basic of organic gardening, cooking and healthy living on Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. $8, $30 six classes. On Friday School’s Out: Nature’s Elements Camp’s In will have hikes and crafts for children ages 4 to 7. $30, $40 with extended care 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. Author Craig Huegel leads a Native Plant Walk 9-11 a.m. Sunday in the preserve. A book signing follows. $3, $1.50. Night Hike: See owls, bats, alligators and other animals that come out after dusk at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday $3, $1.50 children (reservations required). Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326.
Park Ranger Nature Educational Programs
This portion features “Turtles Of Florida: What You Can Do To Help.” $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-Sunday.
Sundance Central Railroad
Check out the details of this 45-by 45-foot model railroad and other fine scale models. $7. The Suncoast Center for Fine Scale Modeling, 2645 Success Drive, Odessa. (352) 585-2662. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Nature events at Weedon Island
Youths 10 to 18, their parents and the community can learn about the TRUE Dive Team at 6:30 p.m. Monday, their conservation efforts and upcoming dive trips. Applicants do not have to be dive certified . Free. Today’s Wee Time at Weedon features Tish Rabe’s book On Beyond Bugs!, a portion of the The Cat in the Hat Learning Library. Includes story related crafts, games and other hands-on activities. Best for ages 3 to 5. Free (registration required) 10:30-11:15 a.m. today. Photography Hike on Saturday 8-10 a.m., bring your camera and find ways to get the perfect shot. Best for adults. Free (registration required). Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500.
Festival Del Sabor
The family-friendly event showcases the sabor (flavor) of Tampa Bay’s Hispanic culture through food, music and art and attempts to find Tampa Bay’s best arroz con pollo . Free admission. Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma.