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!

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  1. New Wiggles, including first girl Wiggle, to play at the Trop

    Kids

    The once white-hot kiddie group the Wiggles has wobbled in recent years, but now they are back on television with a mostly new cast — and a girl Wiggle! — and they will make a stop at Tropicana Field on Sunday for a free post-game show.

    A Wiggles concert became a rite of passage for families with young kids a decade or so ago and each member of the group became a millionaire several times over. But then their show full of catchy preschool pop moved from Playhouse Disney to the also-ran Sprout channel in 2009 and three of the original Wiggles retired in 2012, and their popularity wasn't quite the phenomenon it once was. ...

    New girl Wiggle Emma Watkins.
  2. 5 things to do under $5 Sept. 4-10

    Events

    1 Thrill St. Pete Workshop: Admit it. Ever since you saw Jennifer Garner leading her snobby office workers in the Thriller dance in 13 Going on 30 you've wanted to be part of a Thriller flash mob. Now's your chance. For six years now, volunteers from DanceStPete.com have taught novices ranging from age 3 to 86 the steps to Michael Jackson's Thriller video. The group then performs the number for Halloween in downtown St. Petersburg. The late-October dance has drawn from 140 to more than 280 dancers at once, with hundreds of onlookers cheering them on. The next workshop, which lasts about 90 minutes, is at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Suncoast Dance and Music Academy, 290 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. It takes three or four workshops to master the moves, but online videos can help you learn them faster, said dance teacher Lindsey Lumpkins. The big day is Oct. 25, when the dancers will turn into creatures in search of blood "to terrorize y'alls neighborhood" in downtown St. Petersburg. Donations are appreciated for the workshops. See DanceStPete.com or call (727) 455-5688 for information. ...

    Tove Lo will perform a free show Monday at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg.
  3. Universal brings back 3-day Harry Potter fan event

    Florida

    Ticket packages are on sale now for the second "A Celebration of Harry Potter," a three-day fan event at Universal Orlando Jan. 30-Feb. 1. The event includes Q&A panels with the movie stars and technical wizards from the films, special evening activities and an expo of interactive Potter activities, film props and merchandise. Last year all the vacation packages sold out fairly quickly (though all visitors could see some of the events in the park, like the movie celebration or the expo). Packages range from $54 to $285 with special hotel stays and front-line access. The package for passholders has already sold out. Go to UniversalOrlando.com for details. Sharon Kennedy Wynne...

    The Wand Keeper in Ollivanders during the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley media preview event at Universal Orlando Resort on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Diagon Alley will officially open to the public on July 8, 2014.
  4. Falcon's Fury drop ride officially open at Busch Gardens

    Florida

    It has essentially been open for the past week, but on Tuesday Busch Gardens made it official: The much-delayed Falcon's Fury drop ride is open.

    "We know guests from around the world have been waiting to experience this one-of-a-kind thrill ride, and we are excited to officially invite those guests to ride Falcon's Fury," said Jim Dean, president of the Tampa theme park.

    Originally set to open in early May, the ride and its surrounding themed area called Pantopia is estimated by industry analysts to cost $5 million to $6 million. But construction delays cost Busch Gardens the summer tourist season for the tallest drop ride in North America, one of the most anticipated new rides of the summer. ...

    ANNE GLOVER  |  Times
Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens is officially open.
  5. Discovery Cove deal adds free admission to SeaWorld, water park and Busch Gardens

    Florida

    With Labor Day comes theme parks turning their focus to Florida residents, and that means deals. First up is a Florida resident deal at Discovery Cove in Orlando. The theme park, which features swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with thousands of tropical fish and hand-feeding exotic birds, has an all-inclusive package now through December for $149, or $219 to add the dolphin swim experience. That ticket gets you food and drinks plus unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld's water park Aquatica, through Jan. 31. For a $25 upgrade you can also add unlimited admission to Busch Gardens through Jan. 31. Keep in mind that would also get you access to Busch Gardens' Christmas Town nights and the Halloween and Christmas events at SeaWorld. Proof of valid Florida residency is required. See DiscoveryCove.com or call (877) 434-7268. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne ,Times staff writer...

    Tampa Bay RaysÕ outfielder, Wil Myers took a break from baseball to swim with dolphins, meet real-life rays at Discovery Cove in Orlando 

ORLANDO, Fla. Ñ April 25, 2014 Ñ Tampa Bay RaysÕ baseball player, Wil Myers, traded in his rigorous practice and game schedule to immerse in the tropical oasis of Discovery Cove ̈ in Orlando. For the day, the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year swam with real-life rays, dolphins and tropical fish. The mini-getaway left him refreshed and refueled to step back on the field, and deliver a powerhouse performance. Discovery Cove Orlando was ranked #1 in the 2013 TripAdvisorÕs TravelerÕs Choice Awards under Ã’Top 25 Amusement Parks & Water Parks in The WorldÓ category. For more information, visit www.discoverycove.com.
  6. Falcon's Fury up and running at Busch Gardens

    News

    TAMPA — As your toes dangle 335 feet high atop your perch on the Falcon's Fury drop ride at Busch Gardens, you can see Tropicana Field nearly 25 miles away in St. Petersburg. It's a moment of pure awe. Just before the panic.

    That's when your seat smoothly but firmly tilts forward 90 degrees. It's the ride's signature move, the first drop tower in the world to put riders face-down as they hurtle toward the concrete. ...

    ANNE GLOVER  |  Times
Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens is open more and more to riders.
  7. Plan your weekend Aug. 28-Sept. 1

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Labor Day

    Boat parade and fireworks The Channelside district in Tampa is making Labor Day festive with a lighted boat parade followed by fireworks starting at 5 p.m. Sunday. The Florida Aquarium is getting into the act with extended hours until 9 p.m., and admission (regularly $23.95 for adults) is only $15 after 5 p.m. Then at 8:30 p.m., head to the Channelside waterway to view the boat parade and fireworks. The epicenter will be the Channelside Bay Plaza, 615 Channelside Drive....

  8. Falcon's Fury up and running at Busch Gardens; here's what it's like to ride

    Florida

    TAMPA — As your toes dangle 335 feet high atop your perch on the Falcon's Fury drop ride at Busch Gardens, you can see Tropicana Field nearly 25 miles away in St. Petersburg. It's a moment of pure awe. Just before the panic.

    That's when your seat smoothly but firmly tilts forward 90 degrees. It's the ride's signature move, the first drop tower in the world to put riders face-down as they hurtle toward the concrete....

    Falcon’s Fury is the tallest drop ride in North America.
  9. 5 things to do under $5 Aug. 28-Sept. 3

    Events

    1 Sleep Walk Tampa Bay: A walk on the beach to raise awareness of sleeping disorders is fittingly called the Sleep Walk. Participants are encouraged to wear pajamas or other sleep-related costumes from the land of Nod for this 1.5-mile walk behind the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort to benefit Project Sleep. It's $5 to sleepwalk and it runs from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday at 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 798-0174....

  10. Rays host 'Star Wars' night Saturday when playing dark lords of Boston

    Kids

    Saturday is Star Wars night when the Tampa Bay Rays take on the dark empire of the Boston Red Sox, and if you buy a tandem ticket by Wednesday night, you get a special Rebel Pilot Wil Myers Bobblehead. There will be Star Wars-themed contests throughout the game and characters available for pictures wandering about. It's $45 for the tandem tickets with the bobblehead, which features our favorite slugger in an orange flight suit with a life support backpack and a flight helmet on his hip. (You know, the outfit that Luke Skywalker and other Rebel fighter pilots wore in Episodes IV, V and VI.) The tandem ticket can only be purchased online at raysbaseball.com by Wednesday at midnight. But if there are any tickets left for this package on the day of the game, they will be selling for $60 while supplies last. The game is at 7:10 p.m. Saturday at Tropicana Field. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

  11. USF students get free show by 'Undateable' comic

    Events

    Comic Chris D'Elia, better known to TV viewers as Whitney Cummings' boyfriend on Whitney and one of the leads in the NBC sitcom Undateable, is coming to the Straz Center on Oct. 25, but if you're a USF student, you can see him for free sooner. He'll be the headliner at the school's annual USF Round Up pep rally and comedy show Thursday at the USF SunDome. Students must bring their IDs to get in. D'Elia is on a hot streak lately as both a comic and an actor. He toured this summer in the portion of the Oddball Comedy Festival that did not come to Tampa (the one with Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer). And the Detroit-based sitcom Undateable was just renewed for a second season. The show set in the Black Eyes Bar (say it out loud for the running joke) features a group of odd and nerdy guys who seem undateable while D'Elia's character schools them on his luck getting women, while realizing his shtick of being unwilling to make a commitment is getting old in his 30s. His Under No Influence comedy tour brings him to the Straz Center's Ferguson Hall on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.50-$35. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    NBC Chris D'Elia as Danny in Undateable.
  12. Notorious Tampa Bay murder case to be featured on Investigation Discovery

    Blog

    The story of the 1989 murders of an Ohio mother and her daughters found floating in Tampa Bay will be featured on the true crime channel Investigation Discovery on Saturday. Oba Chandler was executed in November 2011 for the 1989 murder of Joan Rogers and daughters Michelle and Christe. The Ohio family was visiting Florida when they were found floating in the bay, bound, tied to concrete blocks and stripped below the waist....

    Hall and Joan Rogers with their daughters Michelle, standing, and Christe. The women were found bound and floating in Tampa Bay.
  13. Plan your weekend

    Events

  14. 5 things to do under $5 Aug. 21-27

    Events

    1 "Toons" opening reception: The Bluelucy artists collective can always be counted on for a fun party for its opening receptions at its gallery in St. Petersburg, but with the small space in its Ybor branch, the fun will be on the walls — with art inspired by classic cartoons — and the partying will likely be in Centro Ybor next door. For "Toons," more than 50 Tampa Bay area artists produced panels on everything from the Powerpuff Girls to Porky Pig, Speed Racer, King of the Hill, The Jetsons, Care Bears, Fat Albert. You name it, they have it. And Bluelucy also came up with a very clever T-shirt that's a mashup of eight or nine different characters in one. A limited run of the shirts will sell for $25 but the reception is free Saturday. It's from 7 to 11 p.m. at Bluelucy Ybor, 1600 E Eighth Ave. Tampa. ...

    Salvatore James, Popeye
  15. Has American Idol been 'Frozen' out at Disney theme park?

    Florida

    Disney World will close its American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park Aug. 30, much earlier than previously announced. The attraction based on Fox's long-time singing competition was supposed to close in January 2015; a Disney spokesman said the park isn't ready to reveal what's coming next when the attraction closes at the end of this month. Could Idol be getting Frozen out? Disney recently announced that its summerlong celebration of the animated hit Frozen will continue at Hollywood Studios through Sept. 28. The event includes singalongs several times a day, a processional of characters, ice skating and a special fireworks show on the weekends. The American Idol attraction opened in 2009 with TV host Ryan Seacrest at the Orlando theme park and all the past Idol champions on stage at the same time: Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and David Cook. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff...

    (2009) The American Idol Experience  at Disney's Hollywood Studios opened in 2009 and will close next week. This "golden ticket" sign greets potential performers as they enter backstage.