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Things to Do Planner: Star Wars Night at the Rays, Mako coaster opens at Seaworld, Kidz Bop

FORCE FIELD: Star Wars Night at the Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays' popular Star Wars Night at Tropicana Field is Saturday when the team battles the Dark Side — or, the Houston Astros. Costumes are encouraged, and there will be photo opportunities and lots of music and images from the movies shown throughout the game. But the best part is the night's giveaway: the Chris Archer stormtrooper bobblehead. Past Star Wars Nights have brought bobbleheads like the rebel pilot Wil Myers or the Evan Longoria "Han Longo." But those were special event tickets you had to buy just to get the giveaway. This time, the Archer bobblehead will be given to all ticket holders while supplies last. The game is at 4:10 p.m. Saturday. Also at the Trop, Sunday is Family Fun Day, and kids get to run the bases after the 1:10 p.m. game and play games at the DJ Kitty dance party with mascot appearances. Kids 14 and younger will get a free Rays Bucket Hat while supplies last. Ticket prices vary by game. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg. Toll-free 1-888-326-7297.

HYPERCOASTER HYPE: Mako opens at SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando is going into hyperspeed on its summer promotions to launch the shark-themed coaster named Mako, opening to the public Friday. It's Orlando's first "hypercoaster," one that forgoes loops for high speed and that weightless feeling you get at the top of each hill. Mako is 200 feet high and reaches 73 mph on a track that's nearly a mile long. The 2-acre surrounding realm is fully themed for sharks. Events running Friday through Aug. 7 include the Mako Challenge. Complete the text message-based scavenger hunt, and $1 will be donated to the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. At the new Shark Touch Pool, visitors will interact with bamboo sharks and epaulette sharks. Shark-themed foods include a honey-vanilla mako shark cookie; Mako Blast, a Coca-Cola mix exclusive to SeaWorld; and Mako American Red Ale for sale in the theme park's restaurants. SeaWorld admission is $69-$79 advance, $99 at the gate, $79 children, 2 and younger free. Florida resident deals available at

TOP POPSTERS: Kidz Bop Kids on tour

Kidz Bop, the family-friendly quartet that performs pop music cover tunes, has become a media empire, selling more Top 10 albums than Bruce Springsteen or Madonna. Last year alone, the sing-along superstars sold more albums than Nick Jonas, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Ellie Goulding, Wiz Khalifa, Jason Derulo and Rihanna — combined. To celebrate the group's 15th birthday, the Kidz Bop Kids: Life of the Party tour brings pop songs and dance moves in an interactive show at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre at 7 p.m. Friday. We talked to one of the Kidz, 13-year-old charmer Matt Martinez, who spends a lot of time on YouTube finding funny videos and dreams of being a Hollywood director. This is his last tour because tour managers regularly recast a new band of performers. "They switch off every three years because we get too old," said Martinez, a New Jersey native. "I have really loved this whole opportunity, but I think of this as a step forward and I will do some new things."

$25-$35. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

Read more about Kidz Bop and our interview with Matt Martinez, far left, at

Things to Do Planner: Star Wars Night at the Rays, Mako coaster opens at Seaworld, Kidz Bop 06/08/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 10:54am]
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