Free, cheap family fun for the weekend
For most of you throughout the bay area, the 2009-10 school year is officially in the record books. If you've been paying attention to us, you've already got things squared away for summer camps and now it's just a matter of dropping the kids off in a different place. But whether they are old enough to stay home alone or need something to do all day, your time with them is still important. Here are some great events to get you through the weekend that won't put a strain on your wallet.
One of our favorite events that tell us that summer is nearly here are the myriad dive-in movies that pop up. First up is the Dive-In Movie at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center. This Friday, you can see Toy Story. It's way to brush up on the story a week before Toy Story 3 hits theaters June 18. Bring your floaties, noodles and pool toys and line up early before the 8 p.m. movie begins. There's a limit to the first 150 people so get there as soon as you can. Snacks, drinks and glow jewelry will be sold. Cost is $3 per person. Call (727) 363-9245 for details.
If you're looking for a patriotic way to kick off your summer, check out Saturday's family fun day aboard the SS American Victory ship, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Kids ages 4-12 get free admission, freeze pops and make and take crafts with one paid adult. Limit two kids per adult. There also will be special Flag Day events with war reenactors, authentic uniforms, rare artifacts and military jeeps. Check out the American Victory website for more details on the 10 a.m. event.
If you want to give the kids a thrill this weekend, private pilots will be giving Free Flights for Kids from Albert Whitted Airport at 10 a.m. Saturday. Each ride lasts about 30 minutes for children ages 8-17. Since the program launched in 1992, more than 1.4 million youngsters have taken a free flight. Call (727) 893-7654 or go to the Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society website for more info.
Since you've had a little mommy and me time with your child, how about letting dad have some of the fun too? On Saturday at the Publix Aprons Cooking School, 7835 Gunn Highway, Tampa, kids and dad can whip up a little pre-Father's Day meal. This one isn't free or cheap -- it's $60 for each dad/child team, but with a menu like skirt steak strips, crab cakes and chocolate coma cake, it sounds like it's worth it. Call ahead to (813) 926-4465 to make sure there's a spot for you in the 10 a.m. class. If you would like your fun with dad to be a little cheaper, the folks at the Bloomingdale Library in Tampa are having a free Doughnuts With Dad event at 10 a.m. Saturday. There'll be stories, sweet treats and a nice memory to share. And it's free at the library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico.
Now, just about every weekend there's an activity to do with your dogs. But this weekend, cats get their due at Whisker Fest. This free fest is about about your four-legged feline friends. There's live music, kids crafts, whisker face painting and a "Kitty Kindergarten" where you can get the latest 411 on your cat. Find it all at 11 a.m. at Hillsborough County Animal Services, 440 Falkenburg Road N, Tampa. Call (813) 744-5660 for details.
The Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool gets into the school's out mode with the Summer Kickoff Party beginning at noon Saturday. The pool is loaded with floaties, inner tubes and the diving boards are open. There will be door prizes including tickets to Universal Studios. Cost is $2 for residents, $2.50 for non-residents at the complex, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo.
Finally, the Dog Days of Summer Party at Crisp Park kicks off at 11 a.m. and features inflatables, free food, games and an appearance by the Chick-fil-A cows. Is there anything better than that? Check it out at Crisp Park, at Poplar Street N and 37th Avenue, St. Petersburg.
That should keep you busy. If not, look here for more ideas. And if you're looking for date night ideas, ways to entertain visiting friends and relatives or restaurant reviews, go to tampabay.com/things-to-do.
-- Sherry Robinson
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