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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with your family the weekend



Somehow, we've managed to make it to mid-September. Thankfully, school is off to a great start and we look ahead to a nice weekend to spend with our families. If you're trying to make some plans, we've got plenty of things for you to do right here.

mom_diego.jpgFisher-Price brings a super-sized play area filled with its newest toys for kids ages 5 and younger to try out during the Fisher-Price Play Weekend at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Special appearances by Diego,  from Nick Jr.’s Go, Diego, Go! (Saturday) and other Fisher-Price friends (Sunday). Free with zoo admission. $20.95, $18.95 seniors, $15.95 ages 3-11, 2 and younger no fee. Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lowry Park Zoo is at 1101 W Sligh Ave. Get more information at (813) 935-8552. Note: Dining with Diego on Saturday is sold out.

There are two ways to save at the Museum of Science and Industry this weekend. On Saturday, everyone can tour MOSI’s exhibit galleries and catch an IMAX standard film for just 5 bucks from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Then on Sunday, two children will be admitted free with each paid adult to celebrate the Day of the Family for Hispanic Heritage Month. Sunday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular admission is $25.95 adults (13-59), $19.95 child (2-12), $22.45 seniors (60+). Separate pricing for IMAX-only admission. MOSI is at 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Call (813) 987-6000 for details.

We love free movies so here are three to see this weekend. The Westfield Brandon mall will show free family films this fall in the restaurant courtyard. This week’s feature is The Princess and the Frog. See it Saturday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the mall, 459 Brandon Town Center, Brandon. (813) 661-5100. If CG action is more your speed, bring your blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach at Pier 60 for Sunset Cinema. Concessions will be for sale. (As always, no alcohol permitted on the beach.) The shows start around dusk. Friday features the PG-rated film Hook. Saturday features the PG-13 rated film Iron Man. 8 p.m. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. Call (727) 434-6060.

What's as good as a free movie? Free or cheap food. We've got a deal a day this weekend. At Ikea, every Friday in September is family night and kids eat free. That store is at 1103 N 22nd St., Tampa. On Saturday, head over to Whole Foods for its 30th birthday celebration. There will be a storewide 1980s retro-themed block party featuring live music, trivia games, birthday cupcakes and ice cream from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday and special food and wine tastings from noon to 3 p.m. It's free to go but sushi and sake tastings are $10. The store is at 1548 N Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.  And on Sunday, the Columbia is rolling back prices for 1905 Day. Try chicken and yellow rice or boliche for $2.95, the famous 1905 Salad for $1.95 and creamy flan for 95 cents. But you may have to work for this deal. It’s only available for walk-in seating as space allows. Reservations won’t be taken, and there’s no carryout. It’s available from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at area Columbia restaurants, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Sarasota.

Who said the library is just a place to study and be quiet. There are some great programs going on at libraries around the bay area. Here mom_pawstoread.jpgare a couple: The library is going to the dogs at Paws to Read. Kids can practice their reading aloud skills to a certified therapy dog. Children will also get to make simple craft. It's free from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday at Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W Bearss Ave., Tampa. For more information, call (813) 273-3652. And at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, teens are invited for a free night of games, music, trivia and a movie on the big screen at Teen Night: After Hours. Refreshments provided. Spots are limited so registration is required. Teens must be picked up by a parent or guardian. It's sponsored by the Bloomingdale Teen Advisory Board. It's Friday 8 p.m.-midnight at the library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico. Get more details at (813) 273-3652.

The Project Style Tour stops in St. Petersburg, bringing teens chic fashion tips, hair and skin consultations and electronic gaming fun by Nintendo. It's free on Saturday and Sunday from noon-6 p.m. at Tyrone Square Mall, 6901 Tyrone Square, St. Petersburg. Call the mall (727) 347-3889 for more information.

Who could resist a visit with one of the most huggable bears on the planet. Corduroy Bear pays a visit to the store to tell about the time he was locked in a department store and went on a search for his missing button. Alnd you can get your picture taken with the bear in the green overalls. It's free at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Brandon Square, 122 Brandon Town Center. Get the details at (813) 661-9883.

Pretty things will be fluttering at Hammock Park on Saturday in Dunedin at the free Butterfly Garden Grand Opening. There will be a live butterfly release at 9 a.m. and sale of butterfly-attracting plants, caterpillar petting station and kids crafts. A garden tour kicks off the program of the park’s new Butterfly Garden of 11 large beds with more than 200 flowers, created by Friends of the Hammock volunteers. The park is at 1900 San Mateo Drive.

Your dog gets a photo with you and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Grant Balfour for $5 — free if you adopt a dog — at the Pitch in for Pets and Feed the Farm Animals SPCA fundraiser on Saturday. There will also be drawings for ball caps, game tickets and an autographed Balfour glove starting at 11 a.m. Later from 1:15-4:30 p.m., the SPCA is bringing back its popular free chance to feed apples and carrots to their collection of farm animals, from Mo the donkey and Angie the cow to Ginger and Kisses, the two miniature horses recently rescued from substandard living conditions. The SPCA is at 9099 130th Ave. N in Largo. Call the SPCA at (727) 586-3591

That's still not enough for you? Then check out all the family listings at Things to Do. You can also get some great date night ideas.

~ Sherry Robinson and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 9:50pm]


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