On Oct. 6, Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play, the channel will "go dark" so that the kids will go outside and play. Some tennis centers around the Tampa Bay area are offering a free tennis day on the courts that day, and some are even getting a jump on it and offering free court time this weekend.
We also have some ideas for good excuses to turn off the tube that day.
For tennis fans, kids get the run of the courts with special games and even prizes at some locations:
• The Innisbrook tennis center is offering free tennis this Friday from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the courts at 36750 U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor.
• There will be a festival with games and obstacle courses at the Hillsborough Community College courts with prizes for kids this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at 3901 Tampa Bay Blvd. in Tampa.
• Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis, 10315 Paradise Blvd., Treasure Island, will have tennis for kids from 9 to 11 a.m. on Oct. 6.
• There will be a festival of sorts at MacFarlane Park Tennis Courts, the city courts at 700 N MacDill Ave. in Tampa, with music and prizes and of course tennis from 3 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 6.
• Free tennis at the YMCA at 4550 Village Center Drive in Palm Harbor, from noon to 2 p.m. on Oct. 6.
To find a tennis event near you, plug your zip code into the Youth Tennis website at www.youthtennis.com.
But you don't need an official Worldwide Day of Play events to find an excuse to turn off the tube and head outside. Just check out these healthy kid-friendly activities coming up:
Young Eagles Flight Rally: Kids ages 8-17 can actually take the stick in flight and explore the world of aviation for free Oct. 6. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over Countryside and to the gulf beaches area. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 11:30 a.m. Weather will be monitored; check eaa282.org for possible cancelation. Free. Clearwater Airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater.
Box Car Rally: You can start now to build your own gravity-powered box car and join the downhill rally in Clearwater Oct. 6. All cars must be homemade or built from a modified kit, powered only by gravity, pass a safety inspection and have at least three wheels, steering and brakes. Helmets are required for drivers. The day also includes an appearance by the Rays Street Team, music, children's activities, balloons, a dunk tank, food and raffles. It costs $50 per team, but spectators are free. It starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 5 at the Harborview Center, 300 Cleveland St., Clearwater. For information call (727) 431-7362 or see www.achievacu.com.
Canopy Tree Climbing: Climbers ages 6 and older can ascend into the heights of a live oak using harnesses and a rope pulley system similar to those used in the Amazon rain forests. It costs $15 and the gear is included. It runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Lakeview Presbyterian Church, 1310 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg.
Farm Fall Festival: Every Saturday and Sunday in October from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the horse center HorsePower for Kids offers a day of family activities. Admission is $10 for children, $8 for adults and that includes hayrides, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, train rides, games, a bonfire, reptile show and a scarecrow contest. You also get a hot dog and soda. Parking is $1 and you can visit the pumpkin patch for extra. The horse farm is located near Oldsmar at 8005 Racetrack Road in Tampa.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne writes for the parenting blog Whoa, Momma! found at tampabay.com/blogs/moms. Follow them on Twitter @WhoaMomma