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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer

Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Sharon Kennedy Wynne is a Tampa Bay Times writer and editor who focuses mostly on events and fun Things To Do, but also veers off into stories of parenting on the Whoa, Momma! blog, as well as cool gadgets or whatever captures her short attention span. A lifelong St. Petersburg resident, she has been a journalist since 1988 and joined her hometown Times in 1994. She is married and has two sons.

Phone: (727) 893-8595

Email: wynne@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SharonKWynne

Blog: Whoa, Momma!

  1. Rooftop surf park, wave pool coming to Orlando's International Drive


    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...

     A surfer rides the stationary artificial wave in on a San Diego, Calif., rooftop in 2000. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers)
  2. Free and cheap fun: 5 things to do under $5 June 25-July 1


    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. ...

    Relive a Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule performance on the big screen at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on July 2.
  3. 5 non-exploding ways to entertain kids for July 4


    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). ...

  4. Where to see fireworks around Tampa Bay for July 4


    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.

    Early adopters

    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’re lucky, you’ll get one of the 3,100 wristbands that will let you watch fireworks Saturday at Channelside Bay Plaza in Tampa.
  5. Don't be a bad neighbor: July Fourth etiquette rules for noise, fireworks


    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."...

    Colin Hayter of Clearwater shops with his father, Ron Hayter, at Phantom Fireworks in Tampa.
  6. Why we have 10 outdoor cookers and what each ones does


    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. ...

    The Weber Genesis Gas Grill, left, is a weekday workhorse. The Big Green Egg, right, is the most versatile of all the cookers.
  7. St. Petersburg College opens observatory for striking view of Venus, Jupiter duet


    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. ...

    You’ll be able to see Venus and Jupiter simultaneously in a telescope early next week.
  8. Plan your weekend June 26-28


    Plan your weekend

    Rainbow connection

    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. ...

    A fashion show, a Glee star’s performance, a night parade and a Sunday festival will be highlights of St. Pete Pride this year.
  9. Crayola Experience interactive play zone opens July 1 in Orlando


    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...

    Times files (1996)
  10. Free and cheap fun: 5 things to do under $5 June 25-July 1


    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....

    The St. Petersburg College observatory will be open June 29 through July 1 for free telescope viewings, weather permitting.
  11. New Disney candy shop has treats modeled after animal dung


    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:...

    "All 4 poo brownies from Zuri's in Harambe Market" WDW News Today tweeted on Sunday @WDWNT.
  12. Plan your weekend June 19-21


    Plan your weekend

    Father's Day

    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....

    Chill time? This weekend’s all about dads.
  13. Busch Gardens unveils Howl-O-Scream theme, ticket deal


    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. ...

    From left to right, Jack Holland, Brian Jordan, Greg Wirth and Dan Wirth scream in one of the Haunted Houses at Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream in 2005.   (Photo  courtesy of Busch Gardens)
  14. Lea Thompson of 'Back to the Future' scheduled for Tampa Bay Comic Con


    Tampa Bay Comic Con has added Lea Thompson from the Back to the Future films to its celebrity lineup.

    She joins Carrie Fisher of Star Wars, Jena Malone of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones stars Iain Glen, Keisha Castle-Hughes and Jessica Henwick on the list of celebrities scheduled for the eclectic convention for fans of fantasy, comics and gaming at the Tampa Convention Center July 31-Aug. 2....

    Actor Lea Thompson of Back to the Future will attend Aug. 1.
  15. New Harambe Market brings African-themed food to Disney's Animal Kingdom


    The Harambe marketplace, a new dining and drink stop that opened at Disney's Animal Kingdom in late May, features several open air shops that will offer a variety of rotating merchandise, all made to look like an authentic African village. The centerpiece will be four quick service windows that will serve a number of dishes inspired by different African regions. The area also comes with covered seating for more than 200 visitors.Kitamu Grill serves up skewered grilled chicken and a kabob flatbread sandwich. The nearby Famous Sausages window will feature a new take on the classic corn dog, with a South African sausage called a boerewors dipped in curry-infused corn batter. Chef Mwanga's serves spice-rubbed karubi ribs with green papaya-carrot slaw and Wanjohi Refreshments has wines, specialty cocktails, beers and non-alcoholic lemonades. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    The Harambe marketplace, a new dining and drink stop that opened in late May, features several open air shops that will offer a variety of rotating merchandise.