If you are visiting the Florida Aquarium in Tampa on Monday, make sure you head to the otters on the Wetlands Trail on the second floor because handlers are going to be giving the critters a big pile of snow to play in. They really went to town on the snow pile last year, aquarium spokeswoman Katherine Claytor said, and seemed to be making snow angels. It starts at 3:30 p.m. and only lasts about a half hour, so plan accordingly. It's included with admission, which is $23.95, $20.95 for seniors 60+, $18.95 for kids 3-12. Tickets are generally about $2 cheaper if you buy them at flaquarium.org. The aquarium is at 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. —Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
Well my family just got a party game to play over the Christmas holidays: Name all the celebrities, authors, world leaders (yes, an ex-president), Hollywood actors, media pundits and bold-faced names who joined Stepen Colbert in a touching singalong of We'll Meet Again for his series finale Thursday night. Check out the video here and add names of the faces you recognize in the comments section. (bonus points for titles, like the US Ambassador to the UN)...
Star Wars actors, stormtroopers and other characters will once again be stationed at Walt Disney World in May and June for the 2015 edition of the popular Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The lineup of celebrities hasn't been released yet, but nerds at least know now that on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between May 15 and June 14 they can immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe with special interactions, parades and shows with celebrities from the films and the related animated series. Actor Mark Hamill visited last year, bringing Luke Skywalker to the park for the first time, and Billy Dee Williams drew big crowds from Lando Calrissian fans. Events are included in regular admission to Hollywood Studios, but there are other add-on features to buy, such as character meals. The cleverly named Darth's Mall for special merchandise is exclusive to Star Wars Weekends. disneyworld.disney.go.com.— Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
Phantom of the Opera: This production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical has reinvented staging and stunning scenic designs. It's the tale of a beautiful soprano who is the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius. At 8 p.m. at Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa. $25-$128.50. (813) 229-7827; strazcenter.org.
Outlaws: The Southern rock legends return with guest stars Blackhawk at 8 p.m. at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $36-$56....
Plan your weekend
Fleetwood Mac With singer-keyboardist Christine McVie returning after a 16-year absence, this Tampa date at Amalie Arena is the Mac's last show of the year. There won't be any solo material, but who needs that when you can have hits like Never Going Back Again, Little Lies and The Chain, which fuse all the group's Brit-rock, Laurel Canyon folk and pop polish into a catalog unrivaled in classic rock. Seeing McVie on stage with Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and guitar demigod Lindsey Buckingham will make for a night that will be hard to forget. The show is 8 p.m. Saturday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $42.65-$176.25. (813) 301-2500....
TAMPA — In an era of tight defense budgets, there will be no Tampa Bay AirFest at MacDill Air Force Base next year and even a 2016 air show "isn't set in stone," a MacDill spokesman said.
The free on-base event, which always draws large crowds, was called off in 2013 in the face of federal budget cuts when both the Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels were grounded.
The newly renamed Tampa Bay AirFest returned in March with the Thunderbirds, but with fewer military aircraft and more civilian fliers and stunt pilots filling the gap. It also had a hybrid funding model that relied on $250,000 in private money raised by the Tampa Bay business community....
1. St. Pete Makers Fest: Also known as hackerspaces and fablabs, a makers fest is a DIY gathering for people with common interests to collaborate and create. For St. Pete's first makers festival, the family-friendly event at the Mirror Lake St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club will have a Biscuit Bot Challenge. Makers will compete to build a robot or device that can launch or push a shuffleboard disc (called a biscuit in shuffle slang) the length of the shuffleboard court, landing the biscuit inside the scoring area. The winner will be determined from the cumulative score of three slides down the court. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday there will be craft vendors, drone demos, hands-on activities and food trucks. Admission is $5, children free at the shuffleboard club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive N, St. Petersburg. See stpetemakers.org....
Legoland Florida is offering a couple of Christmas deals that will get you a free second day. If you visit the Winter Haven theme park by Dec. 27, you get a free ticket to return between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28. Simply show your paid ticket at the park turnstiles for processing before Dec. 27 to claim your free ticket. And we were already intrigued by the disco elevator coming to the new 152-room hotel now under construction at Legoland, but now comes word that you can get a free second day and a resort hopper upgrade for reservations made before Christmas. One of the most popular features borrowed from the company's California hotel is the "disco elevator." The doors to the elevator open and you step into a mini disco complete with a mirrored ball and thumping Bee Gees music. Still under construction, it will be a 152-bedroom hotel, with themed interiors like a large Lego box and will be within walking distance of the park's entrance. No opening date for the hotel has been announced, but room reservations are open from June 15 to Jan. 31, 2016, at LegolandHotel.com. Room rates start at $279 and all units include two sleeping areas, one with a queen-sized bed and a separate sleeping area for up to three children. See florida.legoland.com for park information and tickets.— Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer...
The Tampa Bay Lightning has launched a new free mobile app for smartphones that allows fans to keep up with team news and even get seat upgrades and proximity-based special offers while at games. Called the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Club, the app alerts users of game stats and special offers. Fans attending Lightning home games will have access to seat upgrades, Zamboni rides, special offers and game notifications based on where they are seated. Those who download the app by Dec. 21 will have a chance to enter to win Lightning tickets and signed Lightning items, including the grand prize: a signed Tyler Johnson jersey. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...
This weekend is packed with holiday parades, both by land and by sea. So if you are wondering why all of Pinellas Park's traffic around Park Boulevard will come to a halt Saturday afternoon or why the bridge at Johns Pass is tied up Saturday night, you might as well stop and watch.
Here's the reign of parades passing by this weekend:
St. Pete Illuminated Boat Parade: Twinkling boats of all makes and sizes parade along the downtown waterfront area. Plenty of viewing spaces are available along the Vinoy Basin sea wall, at Demens Landing and on the Pier approach. Free. Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3277. 6 p.m. Saturday....
Thanksmas Fundraiser: Major League players and coaches serve up spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and pierogis prepared by former Rays manager Joe Maddon with all the tips benefiting the Rays annual Thanksmas feast for hundreds of needy citizens. This year the fundraiser has expanded to both 717 South and Maddon's new restaurant Ava, which is across the street at 718 S Howard Ave., and will be held at the same time at both restaurants. Reservations suggested. 5 p.m. $75 dinner, drinks and tips additional. (727) 825-3242....
12/11/14 Music & Concerts
Dazzling diva Diana Ross returns to the Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 18 on her In the Name of Love tour. The legendary Miss Ross, who turned 70 this year, was last at the Mahaffey in September 2013, when she rocked five costume changes, each one more blingy than the last, and was backed up by a nine-piece orchestra and three back-up singers as she wailed Love Child, Upside Down, Love Hangover and even Ease on Down the Road from The Wiz. Wear your dancing shoes for this show. Tickets are $70.50-$130.50, and go on sale at noon Thursday at TheMahaffey.com, (727) 893-7832 or at the theater box office. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer...
Dazzling diva Diana Ross returns to the Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 18 on her In the Name of Love tour.
The legendary Miss Ross, who turned 70 this year, was last at the Mahaffey in September 2013 where she rocked five costume changes, each one more blingy than the next, and was backed up by a nine-piece orchestra and three back-up singers as she wailed Love Child, Upside Down, Love Hangover and even Ease on Down the Road from The Wiz. Wear your dancing shoes for this show....
Plan your weekend
Usher The 36-year-old R&B superstar is doing his first bay area show in almost a decade. The "UR Experience" promises fresh takes on classic Usher fare, and there will likely be a bevy of material from his forthcoming eighth studio LP. N'awlins rapper August Alsina and DJ Cassidy support this stop, ensuring it will be a rager from front to back. The show is 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $35-$150. (813) 301-2500....
Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:
• Jerry Seinfeld, 7 p.m. April 30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. May 1 at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, $59-$149, on sale at noon Friday at the box office, 400 First St. S, or by calling (727) 893-7832, or online at TheMahaffey.com.
• Graham Nash, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, $50-$70.50, on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Ruth Eckerd Hall ticket office, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road in Clearwater or by calling (727) 791-7400 or online AtTheCap.com....