Free and cheap things to do with kids this week
Forget the Halloween basket, our day planner is loaded with goodies this week, from a free airplane ride where kids can take the stick to a great science festival and a huge gathering of sci-fi fans to the Fab Five gymnasts from the Olympics. We've got that and much more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with your kids
Kids ages 8 to 17 can actually take the stick in flight at the Young Eagles Flight Rally and explore the world of aviation for free. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over the beaches area. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and closes at 11:15 a.m. Weather will be monitored; check eaa282.org for possible cancelation. Free. Clearwater Airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. (727) 458-4420. 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.
It’s the Fab Five! The golden darlings of the Summer Olympics are coming to Tampa for the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross and an injured McKayla Maroney, who will still make an appearance. And there’s more. Tour producers also confirmed these gymnasts: Nastia Liukin, who took home the gold all around medal in 2008; and from the men’s team, Jonathan Horton, who won silver in 2008, along with his 2012 teammates John Orozco and Steven Gluckstein. 6 p.m. Sunday. $25-$200. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.
There's a great day in store for young science fans on Saturday, MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival. The annual family-friendly Marine Quest, an open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, brings science to life with hands-on exhibits and activities for adults and kids. Visitors can touch sharks and rays, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spiny lobsters and other marine critters commonly found in Florida’s waters. You can also create “fish prints” (gyotaku), catch fish in a barrel, and get your face painted. At the same time, the nearby USF St. Petersburg campus is hosting the St. Petersburg Science Festival with nearly 100 hands-on exhibits celebrating the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math. There will also be food trucks on hand. They both run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Marine Quest is at the institute’s campus at 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg and the USF campus is a block away on Seventh Avenue. Free.
The free monthly street party Blast Friday brings an ’80s treat: a free concert by the Romantics. The Detroit new wavers rocked MTV in its early days and brought us clap-along crowd-pleasers like What I Like About You and Talking in Your Sleep. The block party starts at 5:30 p.m. in the 400 block of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater. Free.
The Circus McGurkis peace festival and people’s fair returns to Lake Vista Park and community center Saturday with art, crafts, musicians, dancers, storytellers, community action groups, kids’ activities and food. Wear a costume and add to the fun. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park, 1401 62nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free admission.
The Fall Dance Happening is a crowd favorite at the University of Tampa, where more than 100 students will show off their dance moves in a show that literally dances around to different locations. It starts each night at Falk Theatre and ends at Plant Hall. Highlights of this year’s program include a Halloween-inspired tap piece, an original musical composition by a senior music major and the re-creation of an ancient traditional African dance. It’s free at 8 p.m. today through Saturday at the Falk Theatre, 428 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.
The popular Hyde Park Village Art Fair is in its 23rd year at the South Tampa shopping village. It features the talents of more than 150 artists showing a wide range of works from life-size sculptures to photography and jewelry. It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1621 W Snow Circle, Tampa. Free admission.
The popular John’s Pass Seafood Festival fills John’s Pass with fresh local seafood specialties, an Environmental Area, more than 150 unique shops, live music throughout the village, a street dance, fiddler crab races and a children’s area. Friday’s events include fireworks at 9 p.m. and a Halloween Block Party in the main food court with music from 7 to 11 p.m.). On Saturday, a children’s Halloween costume contest takes place at 3 p.m. with trick-or-treating 10 a.m.-6 p.m.. For adults, Gators on the Pass will host a Captain Morgan Halloween Bash 9 p.m.-2 a.m. with live music and a costume contest. Free admission. Food and drink additional. John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, 150 John’s Pass Boardwalk, Madeira Beach. (727) 322-5217. noon-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Sci-fi fans return to the mother ship! NecronomiCon brings award-winning science fiction romance writer Linnea Sinclair (Werelove series) and other best-selling science fiction, fantasy and horror authors at the Stone Hill Science Fiction Association’s 31st annual event. Featured events include the evening masquerade; art show; gaming; anime videos and a Necronomi-Prom. $50 three days, $25 Fri. or Sat., $20 Sun. Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, 333 First St. S, St. Petersburg. (813) 982-9616. Call (727) 894-5000 during the event. noon Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
Other family friendly events this week
With a butterfly tent, wildflower scavenger hunt, working beehives and wildflowers for sale. Free. Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. (727) 934-2680. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Music and Movies in the Park
Get into the Halloween spirit with music by the Hot Rod Hornets and a screening of the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver. Bring a picnic and enjoy the water view. The music starts at 6 p.m., and the films start at dark. Free (donations appreciated). North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. (727) 463-4612. 6 p.m. today.
Capitol Classics Film Series
The Family Movie Series features the 1984 phenomenon Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver. $5. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. 3 p.m. Sunday.
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.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma