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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Free and cheap things to do with your kids



winter.jpgWe can see our very own dolphin movie star at a free screening on the beach, or take advantage of low light for star gazing or see what artists have done to turn PODS into a portal into their imagination. We have these and more are cheap family diversions this week. Read on for more:

 A hometown hero is the star of the free movie Friday on Clearwater Beach. Dolphin Tale tells the story of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s own Winter, the dolphin with the prosthetic tail. Bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels. Movie starts at dusk. Concessions for sale; no alcohol. 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach.

planets.jpgWe’ve got two good stargazing opportunities this weekend, but one involves a road trip and bug spray. Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve, which is north of Homosassa in Yankeetown, will on Saturday offer a laser show of winter constellations and several large telescopes set up to take advantage of extra-dark setting city dwellers rarely get. Arrive before 6 p.m. so you’re in place before it gets too dark. Bring a flashlight and bug spray. Visit for directions and more info. Or, if you want to stick closer to the city, telescopes will be set up outside MOSI on Saturday at sundown. It’s free and experts will be on hand to answer questions. MOSI is at 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa.

An eclectic group of musicians, the SPC Laptop Ensemble, will use the latest technology combined with traditional rock instruments to deliver an unusual and interactive experience. The free show is at 7 p.m. Friday at the “Digitorium” at St. Petersburg College’s Seminole campus, 9200 113th St. N.

This weekend, the Dunedin Fine Art Center brings back Trashy Treasures, a popular garage sale of donated artwork and supplies. They are also bringing back the Contain It! show, with artists using the interior of PODS as their canvas. And this year brings a mini food-truck rally. The opening-night party on Friday features live music, food and drinks, in addition to the three events. Admission is $5. Saturday, the sale starts at 9 a.m., and admission to the PODS exhibit is free. The Dunedin Fine Art Center is at 1143 Michigan Blvd.

Take Sweetwater Organic Community Farm’s fresh veggies and add Whole Foods Market’s healthy pantry items to create a Farm to the Table Supper, a four-course vegetarian meal with table prizes and live folk music. Proceeds benefit Sweetwater’s educational and outreach efforts. 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday. $35. 6942 W Comanche Ave., Tampa. (813) 887-4066.

Other family events happening this week include:

Character Story Time
This month features a popular Minnie and Mickey story, snacks and a craft for children 5 and younger.  $5 for residents; $6.25 for non-residents; and $9.25 for guests w/out a rec card. Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. (727) 518-3016. 9:15 a.m. Friday.
 Family Art Night
Families can get together for pizza, art and a movie. This month features contemporary glass artist Therman Statom. $40 (two kids and two adults); $5 additional child. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 6-8:30 p.m. Friday.
Graff-Street Art
As an individual and in a group, kids ages 10-16 will explore the elements of graffiti style, sketching walls, bricks to pixels, tape art, history and use of tools. Sessions focus on the early hip-hop culture. $25. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 1-4 p.m. Saturday.
Kid Crafternoons
Kids ages 6-12 will learn basic design principles and hands-on art methods while receiving some teacher direction for crafty creativity in this “design it” yourself activity. $25. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 1-4 p.m. Friday.
Kid Gadgeteers
Kids ages 9-13 can create machines and gadgets using electronics. $45, $35 members. Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6000. 1-4 p.m. Friday.
Lego Building
Monthly program helps children learn about construction, programming and teamwork skills while creating their own Lego masterpieces. This month’s theme is “Transportation.” $7. Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. (727) 518-3125. 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Pioneer Nights
An afternoon of old-time fun ends with an evening around the campfire with s’mores. Best for ages 7-13. $25 (registration required). Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7326. 2-9 p.m. Saturday.
Preschool Art
Children ages 4-6 can explore drawing, painting, clay and fiber art. A teacher guides them in collaborative and individual projects based on their interests.  $20. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-7872. 10 a.m.-noon Friday.
Wee-time at Weedon
This portion features Elaine Shimberg’s book The Creek, the Kazoo and What You Can Do. Includes story related crafts, games and other hands-on activities. Best for ages 3-5. Free (registration required). Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 453-6500. 10:30-11:15 a.m. today.
Story Swap at Park Station
A family friendly event that provides an opportunity for kids and adults to experience the magic of telling and listening to tales tall and small. Stories may be original works of imagination, historical facts or folktales. Maximum telling time for each story should be about 10 minutes. Free. Park Station Pinellas Park, 5851 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. (727) 647-8057. 3-5 p.m. Sunday.
Teen Valentine’s Formal
The TASCO teen program throws this annual semi-formal  Valentine’s Day party for grades 6-9 that includes DJ, dancing, live entertainment, a Wii competition, photo booth, games and a best-dressed male and female competition. $10 (includes dinner). J.W. Cate Recreation Center at Northwest Park, 5801 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. (727) 892-5060. 7-11 p.m. Saturday.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2012 3:17am]


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