Rock climbing, concerts and beer: Mother's Day activities that don't involve brunch

Courtesy of Lowry Park Zoo
Brewers including Tampa's own Cigar City Brewing will serve up cold ones at WaZoo.
Courtesy of Lowry Park Zoo Brewers including Tampa's own Cigar City Brewing will serve up cold ones at WaZoo.
Published May 3 2016
Updated May 3 2016

Brunch on the water. Flowers. A spa day. There's nothing wrong with any of it. But, just like dads with their grilling and sports and gadgets, moms can fall victim to a sea of well-meant cliches. Moms are actually complex, interesting individuals who just happened to give birth. Maybe she does want brunch and flowers. But maybe she wants to try something new this year. Our critics and writers have offered up a host of Mother's Day ideas for the not-so-average woman in your life.

For moms who know their beer

WaZoo BeerFest

You may think of Mother's Day as all sangria and mimosas, but your dear mom shouldn't be left out of the craft beer craze. With more than 250 beers and beverages from around the world at Lowry Park Zoo's WaZoo BeerFest on Saturday, you're sure to find the right flavor profile. Maybe she's into light and fizzy. Or maybe she's looking for notes of banana and clove, even coffee. This is the 21st year for this all-inclusive tropical tasting party, but this year it has been moved up to spring. Here's hoping for cooler weather and no summer downpour. Still, dress accordingly. Also new this year are more "animal ambassadors," more areas of the zoo open for viewing, as well as outdoor games like corn hole. The party starts at 8 p.m. at the zoo at 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $65, $50 members and $35 for the designated driver through Friday. They go up to $10 on the day of.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer

Crew breweries

LARA CERRI | Times (2014)

3 Daughters Brewery is a cool place with games to play in its cavernous tasting room.

If you don't feel like going to WaZoo, here are some local hot spots for sharing a cold one with Mom:

3 Daughters Brewing: It's a cool place with games to play in its cavernous tasting room. The beers and overall atmosphere are approachable for even non-diehard beer lovers. 222 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg.

Green Bench Brewing Co.: Within walking distance of Tropicana Field, this pub has a diverse range of styles and a beautiful outdoor beer garden, good for afternoon outings. 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg.

Dunedin Brewery: A funky, very "Dunedin" place. They serve a full menu of food, something many breweries lack. It's also a short walk to 7venth Sun, 1012 Broadway, and Dunedin House of Beer, 927 Broadway. Make brewery hopping part of a nice afternoon stroll with Mom. 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin.

Tampa Bay Brewing Co. and Coppertail Brewing Co.: Make a day of it in Ybor City. TBBC is in Centro Ybor, 1600 E Ninth Ave., and has great people-watching on the patio. Coppertail, 2601 E Second Ave., is across from Ikea. Behind-the-scenes tours are $7 on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.

Southern Brewing: The Tampa taproom and biergarten is pet and family-friendly with a range of beers, ciders, meads, wines, kombucha and sodas on tap made in-house at 4500 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa.

Justin Grant, Times correspondent

For indie-loving moms

CHERIE DIEZ | Times (2014)

Browse the Brocante indoor market in St. Petersburg for antiques and fun finds.

Indie moms are all about supporting small, edgy local businesses. Moms who appreciate a good salvaged find will adore Brocante, an indoor market with multiple vendors that only takes place for two days each month. You're in luck — it's this Saturday and Sunday. Brocante is a treasure trove of vintage goodies, from furniture to knickknacks to wearables. 2200 Second Ave. S, St. Petersburg. If all that scavenging leaves you hungry, Deuces BBQ, a funky place with pulled pork, ribs and an open turntable with a stack of records, is just a few blocks south. 911 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg.


Help Mom expand her music collection during a trip to Daddy Kool Records in St. Petersburg.

Mom will also dig Crafty Fest Saturday and Sunday, ARTpool Gallery's monthly market of vendors selling goods including jewelry, art and plants. She can also peruse the shop's collection of vintage clothing and vinyl and grab a bite, brew or coffee at their cafe. 2030 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Music-loving moms will enjoy digging through the crates for that rare find at Daddy Kool Records. 666 Central Ave. St. Petersburg. Find sustenance across the street at Brew D Licious in the form of a coffee or baked good, until 1 p.m. 667 Central Ave.

Maggie Duffy, Times staff writer

For the mom who craves adventure

LUIS SANTANA | Times (2013)

Consider hitting the water and bonding with Mom over paddleboard yoga.

The kids might make mom want to climb walls, so why not get her a little professional instruction? Vertical Ventures, with locations in St. Petersburg and Tampa, welcomes novices and experts alike. Once a fringe sport, indoor climbing has gone mainstream as people are looking for alternative ways to get fit. It's a total body workout — hit the wall and you'll use your hands, arms, shoulders, back, legs, feet, abdominal muscles and, of course, your mind. Introductory packages start at $25.

After a week of balancing work, home, piano lessons and soccer practice, mom needs a chance to cool off. There's no better way than tubing the chilly Ichetucknee. Nine springs pump 233-million gallons of crystal-clear water into this river that empties into the Sante Fe and Suwannee rivers. During peak season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), the state park can get crowded, so get their early. Rangers limit the number of people on the river. To keep the Ichetucknee wild and clean, tubers may not bring food, drink, tobacco or any other disposable items on the river.

Standup paddleboarding is the fastest-growing water sport for a reason. The boards are fun, easy to transport and not too expensive. But the best way to get started is to take a class or check out a "demo day." Most shops that sell paddleboards have one day a month when prospective customers can try boards for free. Once you start paddling, strike out and explore the sheltered waters of Weedon Island or Fort De Soto. Another option for bonding with mom: paddleboard yoga.

Terry Tomalin, Times outdoor/fitness editor

For the stylin' mom


To help Mom suit up or cover up, check out Dody Boutique in Pass-a-Grille.

Remember when you were a teen and your mom would accompany you to the mall and it was mortifying? Perhaps you thought she wanted to keep an eye on you, but maybe she was just really into shopping. Now that you're BFFs, it's time to let mom indulge. What better way than spending a day together strolling through some of Tampa Bay's beautiful retail destinations? Here are some shops to look out for during your Mother's Day spree:

For the jewelry maven, Strands of Sunshine is a can't miss. While meandering through the streets of St. Pete, stop in to see owner Amy Marshall create handcrafted gifts inside the shop at 633 Central Ave. Not only does the store offer one-of-a-kind baubles, you can pick up a letterpress card for mom's special day, plus candles, art or cute succulents. From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Strands of Sunshine is offering a Mother's Day cardmaking workshop with vintage paper, paints, cards and envelopes provided. Register at (727) 823-2878 or

For the mom who loves to pamper herself, there's Bluemercury in Hyde Park Village. The luxury retailer offers high-end beauty products from Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, Lune+Aster and more. The hot property is only Bluemercury's second location in Florida. 704 S Village Circle, Tampa.

If your mom's into unique finds, head over to Warren's in Clearwater. The family owned and operated boutique has been going strong since 1974, offering everything from natural cork handbags to accessories to hand-poured, soy Ella B. Candles with scents inspired by locations such as Safety Harbor and Honeymoon Island. 2500 Sunset Point Road.

Speaking of the beach, Dody Boutique in Pass-a-Grille offers beautiful swimwear from brands originating in Hawaii, Brazil, Colombia, Italy, France and Ibiza. The shop also offers coverups, tunics and caftans, plus crocheted skirts and printed sarongs. Don't miss the beaded leather sandals by Mystique. 107 Eighth Ave., Suite E, St. Petersburg.

For the bohemian mom, check out the quaint streets of Safety Harbor. Tucked away in a sweet little bungalow is Tupelo on 4th. Here, you'll find eclectic jewelry, witty home decor and gifts for new or expecting moms. A fan favorite: grass flip-flops. You read that right. 135 Fourth Ave N, Safety Harbor.

Lydia Harvey, Times staff writer

For the ticket to Mom's heart

Getty Images

Is Mom a music fan? Maybe she'd like to see Gwen Stefani perform on July 26.

Squeeze a few tears from your mama's eyes by promising her a date night with tickets to a concert that'll make her feel young again. Just be sure to pick a show you'll both enjoy. (Drake and Future probably doesn't count. Or maybe it does?) Here are four fun options for a summer night out with your mom.

Gwen Stefani (July 26, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre): She ain't no Hollaback Girl, but your mom may (A) read celebrity tabloids or (B) watch The Voice. She's totally up to speed on Gwen and Blake. $22.95 and up.

Getty Images

Or maybe she'd prefer to rock out with Slash and Guns N' Roses on July 29.

Guns N' Roses (July 29, Camping World Stadium): Just be advised that a road trip to see the reunited Gunners at Camping World Stadium (formerly the Citrus Bowl) might prompt your mom to share some TMI tales about that time she went backstage to meet Trixter and Saigon Kick. $60.50 and up.

Hank Williams Jr. and Chris Stapleton (Aug. 5, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre): Do you consider your mom a rowdy friend? Doesn't matter — Bocephus is only half the draw at this multigenerational country show. Stapleton, the hottest singer-songwriter in Nashville, is worth a ticket all by himself. $22.50 and up.

Seal (Aug. 19, Ruth Eckerd Hall): Moms like Seal, right? C'mon, who doesn't like Seal? $50 and up.

Jay Cridlin, Times pop music/culture critic

For the stay-at-home mom (but not like you're thinking)

Paramount Pictures (1981)

For the mom with a dark side, try Mommie Dearest (1981) with Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel.

Maybe your mom is a homebody. Maybe she loves nothing better than curling up on the couch with a marathon of Snapped and a bottle of pinot. Maybe she's just sick of going to brunch every … single … Mother's Day, forced to sit among other moms who want to be left the heck alone.

For the mom who likes to stay in, we suggest you make the trek to her place with a picnic basket of favorite snacks and drinks, and a willingness to share your Netflix/Hulu/HBO Go passwords. She did give you life, after all.

She probably has some mom-themed movies on DVD (or VHS) already. Try Steel Magnolias, Dumbo, Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and Hope Floats. For the cool moms, Purple Rain, Magic Mike, Dirty Dancing and Top Gun.


What mom wouldn't want to watch Chris Hemsworth and his impressive biceps in Thor on FX?

For the mom with a dark side, try Mommie Dearest, The Addams Family, Edward Scissorhands and Pet Sematary. Sundance TV has back-to-back showings of Rosemary's Baby, Psycho and The Others during its "Mad for Mother's Day Marathon." And in the morning, AMC has a showing of Stephen King's The Shining.

FX has an all-day marathon of How I Met Your Mother followed by showings of Thor and Thor: The Dark World. What mom wouldn't want to watch Chris Hemsworth and his impressive biceps wield a god's hammer?

In the afternoon, Freeform (nee ABC Family) has showings of The Parent Trap and Forrest Gump.

Chelsea Tatham, Times staff writer

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