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Things to do

Things to do

Up close with Fla.'s marine life

Want to immerse yourself in the wonders of Florida's marine life without dipping one foot in the Gulf of Mexico?

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute will present MarineQuest, its annual open house where people of all ages will get to experience science through more than 60 exhibits and discussions with biologists.

"It's a really great opportunity to learn about the environment, wildlife and fish of Florida," said Carli Segelson, media relations coordinator for the institute.

Visitors will be able to feel the texture of a sea star or stingray, see spiny lobsters with their trademark long antennae, and touch the skin of a preserved shark. Kids can cast out a reel for a redfish, get their faces painted, create a fish print painting called gyotaku, and make an origami whale or other creature.

The free open house takes place at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 Eighth Ave. SE in St. Petersburg, and will feature both indoor and outdoor activities.

Visitors will have the rare opportunity to be shown around inside the institute and observe the labs where biologists do their research.

"We don't give tours, so this is our way of letting people take a field trip," Segelson said.

Biologist Andy Garrett will spend the day helping the public understand Florida's gentle giants, manatees. He will be stationed at a rescue exhibit and use a 6-foot stuffed manatee to demonstrate how distressed manatees are saved.

"Kids will be able to actually use the nets we use to rescue manatees," said Garrett, who has been with the institute since 1999. "We show kids how we pull them in and take our measurements and samples."

Garrett will also help out at the manatee skeleton booth, where children can piece together a manatee skeleton and learn about the necropsy lab, an important area where the dead mammals are studied.

Garrett will further discuss the similarities and differences between manatees and other mammals. For example, he said, "manatees' flippers are not just loose skin. There are finger bones in there, the same bones you have in your fingers."

MarineQuest also features lectures on tracking panthers in South Florida, the effects of Red Tide, stranded sea turtles, and how the recent cold snap affected Florida's land and water creatures.

The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute is the research arm of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The institute assesses fish populations, monitors Red Tide and conducts marine life research on manatees, sea turtles and much more.

Call (727) 896-8626 for information.

11 Today

Cajun Crawfish Festival: Authentic Cajun food, Cajun and zydeco dance lessons, and music including Dora and the Entourage and John Wilson and the Zydeco House Rockers. Lawn chairs permitted. 1 to 8 p.m. Cajun Cafe on the Bayou, 8101 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. $10. Call (727) 546-6732.

Festivals of Speed: Motorsports Concours de Elegance offers display of exotic automobiles, motorcycles and watercraft and cafes with culinary offerings, jazz, wine tastings and cigars. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. $10. Visit

Music Fest on the Water: Relax by the water and enjoy the jazz and pop sounds of Double M Band. 1 to 4 p.m. Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free. Call (727) 821-6443.

'Postcards from Heaven': "Medium Mom" Maureen Hancock uses laughter and factual details to deliver messages from departed family and friends. 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. $60. Call 1-866-815-6581 or visit

12 Monday

Food addiction meetings: Food Addicts Anonymous is a 12-step program for individuals struggling with their weight. Go to the north entrance on the southeast side. Noon. Hope Lutheran Church, 1801 62nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. E-mail or visit

Paint the Town 2010: Exhibit features scenes from St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $8, $6 seniors, $5 students. Call (727) 822-7872.

13 Tuesday

'Mindful Moves: Dance for the Wise': An interpretive dance class for seniors to help them get exercise through creative movement. 9 p.m. St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. $6 per class, $20 per month. Call (727) 460-1732.

Swim Skills for Teens: A class for teens only to learn how to swim or enhance their swimming ability. 7 to 7:45 p.m. North Shore Pool, 901 North Shore Drive NE, St. Petersburg. $12.80 nonresidents, $8 residents with card. Call (727) 525-2914.

14 Wednesday

Coffee Talk: Nan Colton portrays a Victorian lady in "What the Dickens: A Quick, Short Sketch," followed by a docent tour. 10 a.m. to noon. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg. Included with admission. Call (727) 896-2667 or visit

15 Thursday

Chicago: The American rock band with hits running from the '60s to today. 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $48-$88. Call (727) 892-5767.

16 Friday

G. David Howard: Standup topical humor, political and observational comedy. G. David holds the record for the longest standup act (16 hours straight). 9 p.m. Brewmaster Steakhouse, 401 Second St., Indian Rocks Beach. $15 cover, $7.50 with dinner. Call (727) 595-2900 or (727) 515-8059 or visit

Steve Wayne: The performer sings favorites from the 1940s to 1960s. Benefits Gulfport Senior Center. 7 p.m. Catherine Hickman Theatre, 5501 27th Ave. S, Gulfport. $8 advance, $10 at door. (727) 893-1070.

Shakespeare open mike: Read your favorite sonnet, perform your favorite soliloquy, act out your favorite scene with your friends or share your AP English essay on Hamlet. Or just sit back and listen. 8:15 p.m. Cabaret Space at American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $15 at the door, $20 advance. Call (727) 823-7529.

Zumba Fitness Bash: Bikers Raising Awareness throws this energetic event to fight breast cancer. Quaker Steak and Lube, 10400 49th St. N, Pinellas Park. 5:30 to 8 p.m. $10. Call (727) 698-0078.

17 Saturday

Downtown Saturday Morning Market: Local vendors, farmers and growers with fresh produce, gourmet foods, much more. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Progress Energy Park/Al Lang Field, 180 Second Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. Free admission. Call (727) 455-4921 or visit

Mainsail Arts Festival: Show of arts and crafts by 250 artists from across the U.S. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Vinoy Park, Fifth Avenue NE and North Shore Drive, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 892-5885.

Third Saturday Art Walk: The Gulfport stroll. Free trolley rides. Pet friendly. 6 to 10 p.m. Beach Boulevard, heart of Gulfport. Call (727) 322-5217.

Up close with Fla.'s marine life 04/10/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 10, 2010 7:08pm]
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