Free and cheap things to do with kids this week
Hallween events are already creeping up on us, bringing a price break for the first weekend of the zoo's haunts. This weekend also brings Free Museum Day, super speedy boats off Clearwater Beach and more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with kids:
This is the first weekend for ZooBoo, Lowry Park Zoo’s annual family-friendly Halloween event with haunted houses and trails for older zoo-goers, costumed characters, boo houses and seasonal lights for little ones. Also unlimited zoo rides in the dark. It's only $10 this first weekend; $17 adults, $14 children for the rest of the dates. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. See more Halloween events here.
The Super Boat National Championship speed demons are not the typical boats to take out for a spin on the bay. This show and competition features powerboats that hit speeds of 200 mph, with activities on Clearwater Beach and in downtown Clearwater. You can get driver autographs and see the boats up close at the Blast Friday party in the Cleveland Street area of downtown Clearwater. Then on Saturday there will be a seafood festival at Coachman Park where you can meet drivers from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with fireworks after at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. Sunday is race day starting at 10 a.m. for the 2.5-mile race along the shoreline. The race course start and finish line is at the Sandpearl Resort, 500 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For a complete schedule visit the clearwatersuperboat.com. Spectators free. Some $5-$20 viewing available from Pier 60.
Saturday is Free Museum Day, created by Smithsonian magazine and from Lakeland to Sarasota, a slew of Tampa Bay area museums are offering free admission in conjunction with the event. Also on Saturday it's Arts Alive in St. Pete with a number of museums opening their doors for free to residents. Here's the details.
For the Park Ranger Nature Educational Programs at Lettuce Lake, rangers guide children ages 9 to 15 through a variety of “Indians In Florida” themed activities. $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.
Sunshine Sunday is a day of play adapted for children with special needs that includes reduced lighting and sound and special programming. $5, members free. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The first Tuesday of the month brings a Target Tuesday price break for families You get free admission to the Glazer Children’s Museum this Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m. (it’s normally $15 for adults). The museum is in Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza in Tampa.
Next Saturday is Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play on Oct. 6 when the channel will "go dark" so that the kids will go outside and play. Some tennis centers around the country are offering a free day on the courts that day, and some are even getting a jump on it and offering free court time this weekend:
- The Innisbrook tennis center is offering free tennis on Friday (Sept. 28) from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the courts at 36750 U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor.
- Hillsborough Community College courts will be open for kids on Saturday (Sept. 29) from 10 a.m. to noon at 3901 Tampa Bay Blvd Tampa.
- Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis, 10315 Paradise Blvd., Treasure Island from 9 to 11 a.m. on Oct. 6.
- Macfarlane Tennis Courts, the city courts at 700 N MacDill Ave. in Tampa on Oct. 6; and
- YMCA at 4550 Village Center Drive in Palm Harbor on Oct. 6.
To find an event near you, plug your Zip Code into the Youth Tennis website here.
Other family friendly events this week:
Daddy Daughter Date Night
The annual Daddy Daughter Date Night has a “Sail Away” theme of dancing, food and games. $50 per couple, $15 per additional daughter. Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road, Largo. (727) 518-3131. 5 p.m. Saturday.
Family Campfire Night
An all ages evening around the campfire with stories, a short hike and s’mores. Children must be accompanied by an adult. $5. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 7-8:30 p.m. Friday.
Kids in grades 2-5 are invited to join in weekly activities including sports, dance and crafts. 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.
Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta
A smorgasbord of food on wheels in downtown Tampa, courtesy of gourmet food trucks. Lykes Gaslight Square Park, 410 Franklin St., Tampa. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday.
National Night Out Trinity
To heighten crime and drug prevention awareness for the local community, the Pasco County Sheriffs Office will hold this event with free food, a visit by the Florida Blood Mobile, family activities and law enforcement displays. Free. Target, 2900 Little Road, Trinity. (727) 376-2140. 6-9 p.m. Tuesday.
National Night Out Tampa
This event promoting crime prevention will have the Tampa Police Department on hand to engrave valuables, and Tampa Fire Rescue bringing a fire engine. Free. Kate Jackson Community Center at Anderson Park, 821 S Rome Ave., Tampa. (813) 259-1704. 6-8 p.m. Tuesday.
Kids take a walk in the preserve to explore nature through crafts and activities. Best for ages 4 to 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.
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.
Wee-time at Weedon
This week features Lori C. Froeb’s book The Acorn and the Oak Tree. 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.
Capitol Classics Family Movie Series
This week features the '80s classic The Goonies. $5. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. 3 p.m. 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 Madison, and Saturday features the PG-13 rated action film Battleship, starring Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Liam Neeson. No alcohol. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 434-6060. Shows start at dusk.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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