Scary theme parks: On Friday, Tampa's Busch Gardens creaks open the door to Howl-O-Scream, with two new houses: the Basement, featuring Momma's Meats, and Death Water Bayou, with a voodoo queen. Admission is $89, but there are deep discounts online at howloscream.com. Also debuting Friday is Zoo Boo at Lowry Park Zoo, which is more appropriate for the kiddos (lowryparkzoo.com). And don't forget Halloween Horror Nights at Universal in Orlando, with Walking Dead, An American Werewolf in London and Cabin in the Woods themes (halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando).
Free Museum Day: Lots of museums are free on Saturday through the national Smithsonian Free Museum Day. Included is the grand reopening of the renovated galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay History Center, with a new Florida maps exhibit. For a list and to get your free ticket, go to smithsonianmag.com/museumday/ticket. Also Saturday is Arts Alive Free Museum Day in St. Petersburg, which includes many of the same museums. Note that the Dali Museum is free only for Pinellas residents.
Imagine Dragons: This Las Vegas band has been on a rocket fueled by hit Radioactive. They bring their unique brand of atmospheric active rock to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Tuesday. $34.50-$39.50. (813) 974-3004.
Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck: The Beach Boys icon and the guitar god make for an unusual double bill Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $69.50-$129.50. (727) 791-7400.
The Weeknd: Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. the Weeknd, is easily the most unique new voice in modern R&B. He comes to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Thursday. $48.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.
Kids and Family
Super Boat National Championship and Festival: Three days of racing, activities and music in Clearwater's Coachman Park and Clearwater Beach. There's a boat parade and Blast Friday street party (with John Cafferty), a party with fireworks and music on Saturday and the main day of racing at 180 mph Sunday. Spectators free.
Dragon Boats: Paddles Up St. Pete brings international dragon boat racing to Lake Maggiore on Saturday. They swear the resident alligators won't be a problem. Also an educational village, food trucks, full bar, animal encounters and eco-tours at Lake Maggiore Park. Free; $5 per car on-site parking.
more to explore
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