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Cool things to do to beat the heat of summer

Yes, it's hot.

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Okay, real hot, but that still doesn't mean you should just draw into that air-conditioned shell of yours and stay hunkered down for the next month.

You can find cool things to do — even some that make you sweat.

Just remember to stay hydrated and get out of the heat if you start feeling sick.

Other than that, get out and have some fun. Here are some ideas for you.

Around the world in 60 minutes

When Jules Verne sent his hero, Phileas Fogg, around the world in 1873, it took 80 days and various modes of transportation, from trains to hot air balloon.

Today, Walt Disney World's Epcot offers its own around-the-world trip — 11 countries in 60 minutes, riding all the way on a two-wheeled sci-fi contraption, the Segway Personal Transporter.

It's a cool and lazy way to see the World Showcase with little effort. You board a one-person Segway and stop at each international pavilion for a bit of trivia from the guide. And don't worry about mowing down people you unsuccessfully dodge. The tours set off at 7:45, 8:30, 9 and 9:30 a.m., all before the park opens. The grounds are empty of all but park workers.

The Segways are remarkably tame. After an hour's training indoors with traffic cones and patient instructors, the tour sets out with a maximum of 10 riders, each with a safety helmet, all 16 or older. The Segways require subtle guidance. It's all in the feet: Put pressure on the ball of the feet, and the Segway goes forward; put pressure on the heels, and it goes backward. Stand still and you stay still. There are no motor sounds as the Segway's five gyros, 10 microprocessors and tilt sensors make minute adjustments every second. Max speed is 6 mph.

The entire loop around the World Showcase Lagoon is 1.3 miles. There's a stop for photos and hydration along the way.

Fred Wright Jr.

COST: $99 above the park entrance fee

WHY GO: How many times do you get to see the park virtually empty of crowds?

FOR MORE INFO: disneyworld.disney.go.com/tours-and-experiences/around-the-world-at-epcot/ or (407) 939-8687

Hippiefest

All you former hippies and wanna-be hippies can relive those days of incense and peppermints on Aug. 25 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater.

Johnny and Edgar Winter headline the concert, which starts at 7 p.m. Also on stage will be Rick Derringer, Leslie West and Kim Simmonds.

Get there at 5 p.m., and you can shop for trinkets like you're at the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco. Vendors offering tie-dyed merchandise, beads and other iconic hippie garb will be set up in the air-conditioned grand concourse two hours before the concert starts.

COST: $45-$79

WHY GO: It's not every summer two Winters come along.

FOR MORE INFO: (727) 791-7400

Wearable Art Fashion Show

You might not wear these outrageously creative fashions to a church social but they sure are fun to watch coming down the runway. This show — the eighth annual — will be Aug. 11 at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd. The wearable art show that combines creativity and edginess is one of the most anticipated artistic events in the area. You won't see your everyday, safe and comfortable fashions here. Artists push the limits of form and style with everything, including outfits strewn with pyrotechnics or raw meat. An after-party includes cash bar, live music and the designers.

COST: $22-$75

WHY GO: So Lady Gaga's meat dress isn't the only bizarre outfit you've ever seen.

FOR MORE INFO: dfac.org or (727) 298-3322

Shell Key Shuttle sunset cruise

Some people take this cruise to relax and enjoy watching the sun go down over the Gulf of Mexico.

The rest of us just want to peek into the back yards of those beautiful waterfront houses of the rich or famous (or rich and famous).

You'll board a 49-passenger catamaran an hour before sunset at 801 Pass-a-Grille Way in St. Pete Beach for an hour-and-a-half boat ride through five residential islands where houses range from historic cypress beach shacks to modern multimillion-dollar mansions. You'll also tour several unspoiled barrier islands where riders often see many different kinds of shorebirds, dolphins and manatees. The tour is narrated and riders can ask questions, giving an educational and sometimes humorous aspect to each cruise.

Reservations are required as departure times vary with the seasons (sunset times).

Bring appropriate clothing — it's often cooler on the water — and your own snacks and beverages (beer and wine permitted).

COST: $25 and $12.50 for kids 12 and younger

WHY GO: To pretend you're Lucy Ricardo peeking into Richard Widmark's back yard in that I Love Lucy episode in which she and Ethel go on a bus tour of movie stars' homes.

FOR MORE INFO: shellkeyshuttle.com/shell_key_sunset_cruise.htm or (727) 360-1348

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' preseason games

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' preseason starts Aug. 10, with the first home game Aug. 17 against Tennessee.

But, they are also home the next Friday, Aug. 24, against New England, and that's the game you might want to see.

It's the third preseason game, the one considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season, according to the Times' Bucs Beat.

Writers Rick Stroud, Stephen Holder and Joe Smith said that means Tampa Bay's starters are likely to play at least a half and, perhaps, even three quarters against the defending AFC champions. And, they said, you'll get to see some interesting matchups like the Bucs' young defensive line against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Single-game tickets are not yet on sale and the actual date is To Be Determined. It should be in the next week or two.

WATCH: tampabay.com/sports/ for the announcement

WHY GO: Because you're ready for some football.

P.S. RAYS FANS: The Rays are out of town (at the Angels) Aug. 17 but home against Oakland on Aug. 24.

All New Fabulous '50s and '60s Revue

If you want some old-time rock 'n' roll but all that tie-dyed Hippiefest stuff isn't for you, the Show Palace Dinner Theater, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson, is presenting more music blasted from the past starting Aug. 24 and running (almost daily) through Sept. 23.

You'll hear songs made famous by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Dave Brubeck, Ritchie Valens, Connie Francis, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Patsy Cline, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas & the Papas and Bob Dylan.

COST: $38.45 for show only; $49.50 for show and dinner

WHY GO: Because you don't have the nerve to see the show you really want to see — the Evolution of Drag — that's playing there Aug. 11.

FOR MORE INFO: showpalace.net/index.htm or (727) 863-7949

Beach Snoballs are not just for kids anymore

Forget about screaming for ice cream and try the thrill of the chill of Beach Snoballs, a delightful, delicious pile of shaved ice loaded with your most favorite flavor (they have 60) and then dribble-drabbled with condensed milk (for 50 cents more — if you want and, trust me, you do) or topped with gummy bears or sour gummy worms (free — if you want).

The straight-out-of-New Orleans shop is located out on the beach (as it should be), just north of the Treasure Island Causeway at 10927 Gulf Blvd.

And now, these refreshing overflowing cups of flavored snow are available in an adult version — spiked. With vodka or rum or tequila. So, while your kids or grandkids are eating Superman flavor and chewing on gummy worms, you can sit back with an innocent-looking rum-spiked concoction.

You may never scream for ice cream again (unless you ask for it at the bottom of your Snoball — for a small upcharge).

COST: $2 for a kiddie, $2.50 small, $3 medium, $3.50 large. Add $2.50 to get any size spiked.

WHY GO: Because you're a local and you need to know where the best tourist places are.

TIPS FROM A SNOBALL VETERAN: 1. A small is actually pretty large, and 2. You gotta get the New Orleans cream (condensed milk) topping.

Patti Ewald can be reached at pewald@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8746.

Cool things to do to beat the heat of summer 07/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:46pm]

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