Make us your home page

Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with kids this week



startrekshirt.jpgIt's free to visit the Glazer Children's Museum this weekend and there will be a birthday party in the park. There's also Star Trek night at the Rays game, a day on the farm, the Imagination Movers pay a visit, a library book sale, a messy day of fun and more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with your kids.

It’s a Glazer Museum Birthday Bash on Sunday, as the children’s museum celebrates its second birthday with a free party in Curtis Hixon Park. Another gift: Free admission to the museum Saturday and Sunday. The party Sunday includes pony rides, birthday cake, live music, a petting zoo, face painting, balloon twisting, arts and crafts and a visit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Street Team. The party is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. If you can’t make it, there’s $5 admission to the museum until Sept. 30.

For Farm Interaction Day, city kids can interact with farm animals and enjoy snow cones, popcorn and cotton candy. Ages 2 to 72 can take horse rides around a wooded trail. Horse treats will be available for purchase. Benefits student scholarships at Saddle Up Riding Club. 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday. $2 admission, $5 horse rides. Saddle Up Riding Club, 6080 94th Ave., Pinellas Park. (727) 520-3132.

Disney’s Emmy Award-winning Imagination Movers make a stop in Clearwater on Saturday as part of their Rock-O-Matic Tour. This rock band for kids produces smart, high-energy pop that parents love as well, since they sound more like the Beastie Boys or Red Hot Chili Peppers than Mr. Rogers. The four guys in the band, who hail from New Orleans and some of whom lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina, have a knack for interacting with the children in the audience and bringing the adults in with grownup songs by U2 and other favorites. Tickets are 25-$35 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. Shows are 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Hernando Beach will be awash in music starting at noon Saturday for Bluesapalooza. The lineup is headlined by Josh Lamkin and Automatic Heat with Lalani Rothrock at 5 p.m. and Southern Hospitality at 7 p.m. There will be a variety of food and other vendors on hand. Admission is $5 for adults and teens, $1 for ages 5-12, 4 and younger free at Linda Pedersen Park at Jenkins Creek, 6300 Shoal Line Blvd., Hernando Beach.

Forget the Final Frontier. If this Rays team doesn’t start winning, it’ll be stuck in the Neutral Zone until spring. If that’s not too nerdy for you, beam yourself to the Trop tonight (Thursday) for Star Trek Night where the Rays face the Klingons (well, Boston Red Sox actually). Star Fleet officers will be patrolling the press level seats — phasers set on “fun” — to give fans picture opportunities. But you can get into the spirit wherever your seats are by dressing in your finest Trek garb. (No Tribbles please; they’re just trouble.) The game is at 7:10 tonight at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

For hipsters, PBR stands for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. For the cowboy-inclined, that’s Professional Bull Riders, son, and don’t you forget it! And when the PBR comes to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday and Saturday, it’ll take a little more than quoting lines from 1980’s Urban Cowboy — “All cowboys ain’t dumb. Some of ’em got smarts real good!” — if you want to follow the action. Here are three tips we found on the organization’s official website,
1. A QUALIFIED RIDE IS 8 SECONDS: You learned that in Luke Perry’s 1994 movie titled, ahem, 8 Seconds. The clock starts when the bull’s shoulder or flank breaks the plane of the gate and stops when the rider’s hand comes out of the rope, the rider touches the ground or the rider’s free arm touches the bull.
2. PARTNERS IN POINTS: Four judges rate each rider  — assuming he stays on — and each bull. Yes, even a riderless bull is graded for skills including its kick in the back, its spin and its charisma and good looks. (We’re still double-checking that last category.)
3. VEGAS, BABY: The Tampa PBR event — the DeWalt Guaranteed Tough Invitational — is just one stop during the association’s regular season; the World Finals are in Las Vegas Oct. 24-28. That’ll be a belly-busting buffet of beer, bravado and yeah, even a little Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for Sin City.
The riding is 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa. $10 to $150. (813) 301-2500. Plus, nearly 35 professional bull riders will weigh-in for the competition at 11:30 a.m. today, with an autograph and meet-and-greet session at 6 p.m. at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 5223 N Orient Road, Tampa. Free. (813) 627-7625.

pigpen.jpgWhen we saw that Largo’s recreation department had come up with a Mother-Son Messy Madness night our first thought was, “That’s every night in our house.” But this sounds ideal, since we won’t be the one cleaning up the mess. This is the last hurrah for the old Highland recreation center, and the recreation folks tell us, “We’ve been given permission to trash the place.” They’ll have dinner, dessert and a special gift in this night of fun where moms and sons play lots of interactive messy games. They plan to have fun with shaving cream, whipped cream, Cheetos, loaded balloon tosses, raw egg spoon races, you get the idea. It’s Sept. 29, but you have to register by Friday. The price is $20 per pair and $8 for each additional son at the Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. Call (727) 518-3016.

Tampa’s Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library is holding a Fall Book Sale of hard cover and paperback books as well as graphic novels, CDs, DVDs, business, history and coffee table books. Most items $1-$2. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-3:30 p.m. Sunday. The library is at 3910 S Manhattan Ave., Tampa. (813) 273-3652.

Chili, savory salsas, hot sauces and lively music will be served up at the fourth annual Industrial Strength Chili Cookoff to support the Industrial Arts Center. Winners receive hand-blown glass art. Admission gets you samples of chili, salsas and other fiery fare, and you can vote for People’s Choice. $9, $5 kids, $1 per People’s Choice vote. 6-10 p.m. Saturday. Gulfport Art Village Courtyard, corner of Beach Boulevard and 29th Avenue S, Gulfport. (727) 289-9365.

Two separate Intro to Fishing or Kayaking classes introduce kids ages 6 to 12 to fishing equipment including rod and real, tackle and bait. The kayaking class includes paddling strokes, equipment needed, safety tips and more. 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Both classes $45. Florida Gulf Coast Center for Fishing, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. (727) 365-4660. 

Gaby Rodriguez drew national headlines after pretending to be pregnant for a senior class project to explore stereotypes and the treatment of pregnant teens. The young woman, whose story became a Lifetime movie, has written a memoir of her experience called The Pregnancy Project. Only her mother, boyfriend and school principal were in on the experiment and they watched as she suffered painful slights. On Friday, Rodriguez will be at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus at 9 a.m. to discuss and sign her book. Because space is limited, reservations are requested by the talk’s sponsor, Alpha House, at (813) 253-2638. The campus is at 2112 N 15th St., Tampa. Free.
2Glazer Museum Birthday Bash: The children’s museum celebrates its second birthday with a free party in Curtis Hixon Park and free admission to the museum this weekend. The party Sunday includes pony rides, birthday cake, live music, a petting zoo, face painting, balloon twisting, arts and crafts and a visit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Street Team. Free entry to the museum both Saturday and Sunday. The party Sunday is in Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you can’t make it to the party, there’s a special $5 admission to the museum until Sept. 30.

For Karma: The Shops at Franklin try the popup retail craze today as Tampa Bay Fashion Week winds down. With clothes and accessories, a popup store will be open all weekend after kicking off tonight with a grand opening party ($35) from 6 to 9 p.m. The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Vault, 611 N Franklin St., Tampa.

Other family events this week:

SPCA Tampa Bay Pet and Family Photo Days
 For four days, photographer Laura Allen will donate her time and 100 percent of the sitting fees to the SPCA when you take photos of your family with your four-legged family members Register online at or by phone at (727) 584-5040. $15 sitting fee up to 2 pets, 5 humans; additional pets are $5 each. SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave. N, Largo. (727) 586-3591. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Little Red Riding Hood
The center’s Children’s Theater Series by the Play’N Around Theatre Company presents their version of the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, about the brave girl’s encounter with “Wolfie” in the woods. $7, $6 members, $24 family four pack. Carrollwood Cultural Center, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. (813) 269-1310. 2 p.m. Sunday.
TICA Championship Cat Show
The International Cat Association brings judges from across the country for this all-breed show with more than 25 breeds of cats in 12 rings, adoptable cats available and vendors selling cat related items. $6, $3 children, 5 and younger free. Minnreg Building, 6340 126th Ave. N, Largo. (727) 289-1989. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Fancy Nancy Book Bash
Put on a feather boa, tutu, ruby slippers, fairy wings and join in on a Fancy Nancy party with games, crafts and prizes to celebrate Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser’s children’s picture book. Free. St. Petersburg North Branch Library, 861 70th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 892-5296. 2 p.m. Saturday.
 Father-Son Football Night
Fathers and sons can enjoy a meal together while they participate in activities focused on leadership, competition and sportsmanship. Visit to make reservations at one of 22 participating Tampa area locations. Free (food/drink additional). 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Fearless Friday
Kids in grades 2-5 are invited to join in fun weekly activities including sporting events, tournaments, dance contests, dance room games, a video game room, creative arts and crafts projects and food experiences. Concessions available for $1 or less. $6. J.W. Cate Recreation Center at Northwest Park, 5801 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7751. 7-10:30 p.m. Friday.
 Homecoming Dress Distribution
Belle of the Ball will have nearly 4,000 formal dresses, shoes and purses on display for low-income girls to pick out a Homecoming dance dress and accessories. $1-$5 donation appreciated. Seminole Mall, 11201 Park Blvd., Seminole. (727) 386-4502. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
 Jungle Boogie
Children ages 3 to 4 can join in the fun with a nature story, crafts and outdoor exploration. This weeks theme is “Lunch for a Bear.” $3. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday.
Kids Intro to Fishing or Kayaking
Two separate classes introduce kids ages 6 to 12 to fishing equipment including rod and real, tackle and bait. The kayaking class includes paddling strokes, equipment needed, safety tips and more. Both classes $45. Florida Gulf Coast Center for Fishing, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. (727) 365-4660. 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.
 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.
My Doll and Me
Girls ages 7 to 12 can grab their favorite doll and join a journey following the tales of the American Girl book series. Children will learn about female Olympians from Tampa and Ybor’s immigrant world through crafts, games, snacks and hands-on gallery experiences. American Girl dolls and parental participation not required. $15, $13 members. Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa. (813) 228-0097. 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Organic Gardening for Children
Children ages 8 to 13 can learn the basic of organic gardening, cooking and healthy living. $8, $30 six classes. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 1-2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Parents Night Out: Kids Night Pioneer Style
While Mom and Dad are out for the night, kids ages 7 to 11 will enjoy pioneer activities and a campfire with s’mores. $15 (registration required). Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 6-10 p.m. Saturday.
Park Ranger Nature Educational Programs
This portion features “Florida’s Pine Trees, Logging and Turpentining.” $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.
Lowry Park Zoo pass holders receive free admission to the Florida Aquarium and MOSI in September. In turn, members of the Florida Aquarium and MOSI receive free admission to the zoo. $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. daily.
 Viva Saturdays
Share stories in English and Spanish while making themed crafts. Free. Clearwater East Library, 2251 Drew St., Clearwater. (727) 562-4970. noon Saturday.
Wee Sing with Mrs. Music
Children ages 1 to 5 can learn favorite sings with a twist in this interactive, musical learning experience that incorporates foreign and sign language, music sticks and more. Free. Safety Harbor Library, 101 Second St. N, Safety Harbor. (727) 724-1525. 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Zoe’s Dance, Dance, Dance Birthday Party
Put on your dancing shoes and join Zoe, Elmo and their Sesame Street friends to celebrate Zoe’s birthday with a dance party and lunch. $22, $15 children. Park admission required. Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. Toll-free 1-888-800-5447. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Saturday.
 Odessa Pow Wow
The  American Indian heritage festival with daily grand entries, storytelling, drumming, dancing and educational events. $4, 11 and younger free. Festival Grounds, 13139 Gladstone Drive, Odessa. (727) 495-3901. 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday.
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 Spy Kids, and Saturday features the PG-13 rated action/adventure Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris. No alcohol. Free. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start at dusk which is approximately 7:45 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Spring and Fall Free For All
Bring lawn chairs, blankets, snacks or a complete dinner for an outdoor viewing of the family film Hugo. Free. Sims Park, 6341 Bank St., New Port Richey. (727) 967-6726. 6:30 p.m. Friday.


--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma

[Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 11:11am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours