Christian music giants Newsboys (pictured) and Crowder and Grammy winners Casting Crowns will headline Rock the Universe, the two-night Christian-music festival at Universal Studios theme park Sept. 11-12. A one-night ticket sells for $61.99; a two-night ticket costs $91.99. A "Rock Your Weekend" ticket option includes both nights of the event, three days of admission to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure to be used Sept. 11-13 for $124.99. Two-park access is $37 more. Acts scheduled to perform on Sept. 11 are Switchfoot, Newsboys, Crowder, Kari Jobe, Kutless, Family Force 5, Capital Kings, All Things New, Clearwater's own Aaron Gillespie and Finding Favour. Sept. 12 brings Casting Crowns, Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, Tenth Avenue North, Building 429, Andy Mineo, NF, Nine Lashes, Rapture Ruckus and Shinebright. Get tickets at rocktheuniverse.com. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
The Glazer Children's Museum is celebrating its fifth birthday this summer by giving out buy one, get one free admissions through September. Go to the museum's website at glazermuseum.org and print your BOGO coupon for a free museum admission that can be used Monday-Friday through September with one paid admission. Coming up this summer are some special themed weeks such the Science of Ice Cream Week July 13-18. Admission is $15, $12.50 for military, seniors, $9.50 for ages 1-12. The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. Sundays at 110 W Gasparilla Plaza. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
Add a surf park with three pools atop a 10-story parking garage to the attention-grabbing features coming to the Skyplex entertainment complex set to open on Orlando's International Drive in about 18 months. Developers have already announced plans for the world's tallest roller coaster, a drop tower attraction, a zip line, a hotel and retail space in the complex that aims to open in 2017. Joshua Wallack, managing principal of Skyplex, told the Orlando Sentinel that the surf area will face the coaster's main tower and will have attractions for toddlers, boogie boarders and even "professional-level surfing" in a continuous-wave pool in a surf park taking up to 2 acres of space. "There's going to be a bar up there. It's a whole beach scene," Wallack said. "We anticipate having a lot of locals that have annual passes and memberships to it." Skyplex is the third mega development setting up shop on Orlando's International Drive after the 400-foot Orlando Eye observation wheel, a Sea Life Aquarium and a Madame Tussaud's wax museum. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
1 Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail: With much fanfare, the final connection between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties opened June 22. Now joggers, cyclists and skaters can enjoy panoramic views of Upper Tampa Bay and safe passage between Clearwater and Tampa on the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail. The Hillsborough portion of the trail, completed in 2013, consists of 5.5 miles of paved sections and bridge along the south side of the causeway that runs to the Pinellas County line. There is free parking available at Ben T. Davis Beach, 7740 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, as well as Cypress Point Park, 5620 W Cypress St., and Skyway Park, 3901 George Road, Tampa. On the Pinellas side, it's a bit trickier, with no big parking areas available in the leadup to the causeway, but there are plans in the works to create one in the future, planners have said. ...
For the littlest ones, especially those younger than 5, it can be hard on July Fourth to find diversions that capture their attention, but don't involve lighting something on fire. Some alternatives:
TNT Pop-Its Those yellow and red boxes of paper packets can be found in the front of every grocery store, Target and Walmart this week. They make a loud snap when thrown against a hard surface or stepped on. And if you throw them when it's dark outside, you can see a small spark. They are cheap (a box of 100 is about $1), but safe enough to snap between your fingers (that's not recommended by the makers, of course, but we do it all the time). ...
Here's a quick guide to where to see the rockets' red glare this weekend. Sunset is at 8:30, and most fireworks shows begin at 9 p.m. but the weather could push back the starting time.
• The Clearwater Threshers will have post-game fireworks displays Thursday and Friday. $6-10. Bright House Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Games start at 7 p.m. Thursday and 6:30 p.m. Friday....
If you must ignore the law and can't ignore your urge to blow something up on the Fourth of July, at least do your neighbors and their pets a favor by being considerate.
Etiquette expert Patricia Rossi of New Port Richey, the author of Everyday Etiquette, urges people to follow the Platinum Rule, which is one step further than the Golden Rule: "You treat people how they want to be treated, not how you want to be treated."...
I have this recurring vision of a producer from the TV show Hoarders knocking on our door, saying they heard we have six grills around our patio and they think it's time for an intervention.
Actually, we have 10 ways to cook outdoors if you count the three in the garage for tailgating and camping and the Cajun cooker for boiling crawfish.
The fire bug in my house, my husband, hails from North Carolina, where barbecue isn't a verb but a noun meaning slow-cooked pork. He became a certified barbecue judge as a hobby and spends an inordinate amount of time and thought on how he can play with fire to make food taste incredible. ...
A close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the sky, has generated several inquiries at the St. Petersburg College planetarium, so the observatory will be open to the public (weather permitting) 8:45 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday for free telescope viewings.
The striking celestial spectacle appears as brilliant stars in the western sky shortly after sunset. These planets have been drawing closer to each other in recent weeks and the conjunction will peak on Tuesday night. The planets will pass so close to each other that both will be visible simultaneously in a telescope — a rare occurrence. ...
Plan your weekend
St. Pete Pride Florida's largest celebration of gay pride gets rolling today with a fashion show hosted by E! network's Ross Mathews at the Tyrone Square Macy's ($10 donation, but Macy's will return the favor with a $10 gift card). Then Alex Newell, who played a transgendered teen on Glee, performs Friday at the corner of Central Avenue and 26th Street in St. Petersburg (free, $20 VIP). The nighttime parade returns Saturday and promises lots more lights in its second year. And Sunday's Pride Festival will have vendors, multiple stages, a wellness pavilion and the St. Pete Art Mash. ...
Orlando is about to get more colorful next week when the Crayola Experience opens as a family attraction where art, chemistry and digital technology combine in 25 hands-on attractions. Spread across 70,000 square feet at the Florida Mall in Orlando, the attraction lets kids color outside the lines as well as sculpt, sketch, dance, play, climb and splash. Along with a cafe and Crayola store, highlights include a Colossal Caddy of thousands of crayons that adults might be drawn to as well; Doodle In The Dark, a dark room with an interactive floor that responds to your motions on a special screen that mirrors your moves; a Color Playground of climbing obstacles; and a puzzle maker to stamp your own creations into a puzzle. The Orlando location will be the second of its kind, following the original in Easton, Pa., near the corporate headquarters. It opens July 1 at 10 a.m. at the mall at 8001 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando. Admission is $19.99 for adults and children over 2, and tickets can be purchased online now at crayolaexperience.com.— Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
1 Venus and Jupiter Telescope Viewing: The two brightest planets in the sky, Venus and Jupiter, have been moving closer for months. Next week, they will appear side by side in the night sky. The two planets are due to reach their closest point Tuesday, so the St. Petersburg College observatory is inviting the public to witness this and check out their telescope views of Saturn and the moon. It's free from 8:45 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, weather permitting, at the campus at 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. The two planets are already something of a sight. If you get a clear evening, look to the west as the stars begin to come out and twilight fades down to night. They can be seen with the naked eye best during mid to late twilight....
Disney’s Animal Kingdom just opened the new Zuri Sweets Shop this week with African-themed treats like Lion King lollipops and gourmet cocoa sets, but in very un-Disney like edginess the shop also has Match the Species treats, or candies that look way too much like animal dung.
It’s $3.99 a pop for poop made to look like the scat of the elephant, giraffe, tamarin and hippo. There were pictures all over social media this weekend when the shop opened and WDW News Today @WDWNT helpfully tweeted a nice shot of all four poo brownies in one shot
Here’s how candy makers design dung:...
Plan your weekend
Dads are free Fathers get free admission and other perks at events all over the Tampa Bay area this weekend. If you need a last-minute gift, spending time with the old man can't be beat. He gets free admission with a child at the Lowry Park Zoo, the Florida Aquarium, Dinosaur World, MOSI and the Glazer Children's Museum. Find a full list at tampabay.com/things-to-do....
Busch Gardens on Wednesday put tickets on sale for this year's Howl-O-Scream fright fest themed "Unearthed."
The current price of $35 for the Freaky Preview Sept. 25-26 and $45 for Oct. 1-31 is a summer deal, and the prices will go up closer to the event, Busch Gardens spokesman Travis Claytor said.
The Tampa theme park hasn't revealed any specifics about haunted houses or new areas. But that will be coming over the next few weeks, Claytor said. ...