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....
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. ...
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...
The longest marathon in TV history is coming Thursday when FXX begins airing every episode of The Simpsons since 1989 — that’s 25 seasons spread out over 12 days starting at 10 a.m. Thursday. And for Simpsons diehard Jay Cridlin's take on the 10 episodes he'll definitely be taping, click here....
The weekend brought a surprise for some Busch Gardens visitors when the park quietly allowed riders on the new Falcon's Fury — a good sign the drop ride will officially open soon.
Several hundred visitors — and even the rock band All-American Rejects — on Saturday were the first non-employees to ride the long-awaited 335-foot drop tower ride that was originally scheduled to open in early May at the Tampa theme park. ...
1Water Works Park Festival: Tampa's new $7.4 million park will have a grand opening celebration Saturday with fireworks, food trucks, entertainment and children's activities from 5 to 9 p.m. The 5-acre park at 1710 N Highland Ave., near the historic Tampa Armature Works warehouse, includes an extension of the Riverwalk, an 8,500-square-foot dog park, an overlook shaped like a ship's prow next to the Hillsborough River and a splash playground with a giant water bucket that will drench the kids below. Free....
August offers fans of Dinosaur World a "Dino Days" deal of a free ticket in December. Purchase a ticket in August ($16.95 for adults, $14.95 seniors, $11.95 for kids 3-12) and you get a free ticket to visit Dec. 1-19. The Plant City attraction, best suited for ages 3 to 10, has more than 200 life-size dinosaurs, numerous exhibits, an interactive boneyard, playground and a shop with everything dinosaur. Dinosaur World is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Parking is free. Pets on leashes are welcome. There is no food service, so you can pack a picnic or get pizza delivered to Dinosaur World at 5145 Harvey Tew Road, Plant City; (813) 717-9865; dinosaurworld.com. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden: It's only fitting that two of the best bands of the '90s unite for a co-headlining tour celebrating their entire catalog at 7 p.m. today at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. $29.50-$99.50. (813) 740-2446.
Less: Karleigh Chase's one-woman show about being a homeless female opens at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg on Thursday, and the gallery will also have paintings by a previously homeless artist and music by a band comprised of homeless or previously homeless musicians. The show runs through Sunday. $15, $10 students/seniors. (727) 895-6620...
Well that didn't take very long. Universal Orlando announced this week that 1 million people have already ridden the Hogwarts Express, the iconic locomotive that connects the Wizarding World of Harry Potter sections of Universal's two theme parks. It reached the milestone a little more than a month after it opened July 8 as part of the new Diagon Alley expansion. To celebrate, the park surprised some 200 guests at the train station Thursday with free Butterbeer ice cream, Hogwarts scarves and souvenir train tickets. Visitors with two-park tickets can board the train and take virtual trips between London and Hogsmeade, where the boy wizard goes to school, at Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios theme parks. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
The popularity of Frozen is still so strong that Disney's Hollywood Studios just can't, well, Let it Go. The park's summerlong events celebrating the movie have been extended another month, Disney announced Thursday. The themed series was supposed to end Sept. 1, but the park will extend everything through Sept. 28, though the fireworks will only be Fridays through Sundays after Sept. 1. Other Frozen events include: • A daily processional at 11 a.m., featuring Anna and Elsa and mountain man Kristoff. • Multiple rounds of 30-minute singalongs at the park's Premier Theater. • Frozen Funland, which includes an ice rink (skating sessions are $10 for 30 minutes, including the use of ice skates, socks and a helmet), snow-related activities and special retail options. • A live band and DJ headline a daily dance party for guests. But the meet-and-greet opportunities with Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa remain only at Magic Kingdom, where fans often wait three hours or more for a picture with them. The movie is not only Disney's top-grossing film; at more than $1 billion in sales, it is the top-grossing animated film of all time. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival We have quite the lineup of odd fellows coming Friday with Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick and more. Funny or Die put together this standup comedy spectacular held over two stages at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, starting at 5 p.m. Friday. The comedians will each do short sets and DJ Trauma will bring the music. 4802 N U.S. 301, Tampa. $35-$79.75. ...
Universal Studios has released some of the movie and TV-themed scare zones coming to this year's annual scare fest Halloween Horror Nights, including the Alien vs. Predator franchise, The Purge, The Walking Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn and the Syfy series Face Off. This is the 24th year for Halloween Horror Nights, and it will run for 28 select nights between Sept. 19 and Nov. 1. The theme park announced Tuesday that puppetry and costumes have been created for an Alien vs. Predator maze and haunted house. Plus, characters from the new film The Purge: Anarchy will be featured in a scare zone, and Syfy's Face Off — in which makeup artists come up with gruesome creatures for movies — will inspire a "street experience" and haunted house. Halloween Horror Nights is a separate-ticket event; tickets start at $42 at halloweenhorrornights.com/Orlando. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne...
1 Meteor Shower: The annual Perseid meteor shower is lighting up the summer sky again, and if you want to escape the light pollution of the city to see it, the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell is inviting star gazers to bring a lawn chair Sunday night to view the shower at its peak. Perseids are known for leaving long streaks of light and color as they tumble through the Earth's atmosphere, with an estimated 50 to 100 meteors seen per hour. The park is at 7200 County Road 603 in Bushnell, and the viewing will be from 8 to 10 p.m. Sunday. $3 per car. (352) 793-4781. ...
Busch Gardens will once again let its Facebook fans have a say in the planning of a new haunted house at this year's Howl-O-Scream, a separate-ticket Halloween-themed event starting Oct. 2.
The Tampa theme park did the same thing for last year's Howl-O-Scream, when fans chose three key elements of the Death Water Bayou haunted house.
This time fans can vote on Dead Fall, a Victorian garden and greenhouse populated by lots of ghosts. They will vote on the name of the estate in Dead Fall, a murder tool one of the residents fell victim to, and the name of one of Dead Fall's residents, the park announced Tuesday. ...