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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: @SharonKWn

Blog: Whoa, Momma!

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  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sunday May 24

    Events

    Rush: The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers celebrate 40 years and this is their only Florida show at 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $46-$151. (813) 301-2500; rush.com.

    Sunset Music Festival: The festival of electronic music continues today with Porter Robinson and Armin van Buuren among many others on three stages starting at 2 p.m., Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $109-$194. ...

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22:  Musician Alex Lifeson of Rush performs at the Barclays Center on October 22, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York, New York.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday May 23

    Events

    Memorial Day Live with Flo Rida and Lunch Money Lewis: Ubiquitous hitmaker Flo Rida and Bills rapper LunchMoney Lewis headline this year's WFLZ Memorial Day Live concert at Shephard's on Clearwater Beach beginning at 9 p.m., 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. $35 weekend pass. (727) 442-5107.

    Tampa Bay Margarita Festival: Margaritas galore at this festival with live music headlined by Smash Mouth, games and a fireworks finale. It starts at noon at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. $17, $75 (VIP), military free....

    Flo Rida attends 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball in 2013.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. Florida Orchestra lands singer Michael Feinstein for January gala concert

    Stage

    Playing off the American theme running through the Florida Orchestra's coming season, the orchestra has landed one of the greatest American pops singers of all time: Michael Feinstein.

    The Florida Orchestra's second annual fundraising gala concert on Jan. 30 will bring the multiplatinum selling artist and master of the Great American Songbook to join new music director Michael Francis in his inaugural season. ...

    Musician Michael Feinstein in 2012.  (Getty Images)
  4. Universal will double down on Halloween Horror Nights scares this year

    Florida

    It's no surprise that after the gangbuster business Universal raked in last year for its Halloween Horror Nights, the theme park announced it is expanding the scare-fest to a record 30 nights and doubling the number of actors roaming the park to startle visitors.

    Universal Orlando on Tuesday fired off an early Halloween Horror Nights 2015 tease, complete with video of Jack the Clown, an insane clown serial killer who has been a popular icon of the event over the years. ...

     Universal
  5. Disney resort bar lets you see Magic Kingdom fireworks without park ticket

    Florida

    A new bar has opened up at Walt Disney Word's Polynesian Resort, and you don't have to be a theme park or resort guest to take in this unusual watering hole. Trader Sam's Grog Grotto is a bar loaded with tiki-tacky Hawaiian kitsch, special effects that go off on the ceiling, walls and fake windows with a screen that gives the impression of a volcano outside. And then there are the sound effects of approaching thunderstorms and erupting volcanoes. The menu includes small plates and themed drinks with names like Mosquito Mojito that set off some interactive attractions around the bar when ordered. Wander outside to the Tiki Terrace, which features tables set along the waterfront and live music nightly. But best of all in this low-key area is a prime view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, with the Wishes fireworks show music played on the terrace. Fireworks times vary, but it's generally around 10 p.m. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer...

    Reminiscent of a South Seas hideaway, Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort whisks away guests to a tropical oasis with a selection of exotic cocktails, small plates and scenic views. ? Located in the Great Ceremonial House, the themed lounge overlooks the resort's marina and Seven Seas Lagoon and features signature beverages such as the Polynesian Pearl and Castaway Crush and a? varied? menu? including? pork p‰tŽ b‡nh m“ sliders, Hawaiian poke, sushi and pan-friend dumplings. The lounge has 50 seats inside and 82 on the patio.? Disney?€™s Polynesian Village Resort? is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.? (David Roark, photographer)
  6. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Friday May 22

    Events

    Darius Rucker: The former Hootie and The Blowfish lead singer, now a respected country singer, performs with openers Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne, A Thousand Horses. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $25-$$44.75, Country Megaticket.

    Chris Thomas King: The artist has been the vanguard of blues and roots music in the 21st century, and has been featured in O Brother, Where Art Thou? and had a recurring role in the HBO series Treme. 8:30 p.m., Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $25 general admission; $35 reserved seating....

    INDIO, CA - APRIL 30:  Musician Darius Rucker performs onstage during 2011 Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 30, 2011 in Indio, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) 113291727
  7. Busch Gardens, SeaWorld raised ticket prices Thursday

    Florida

    Busch Gardens and SeaWorld ticket prices went up $2 to $97, Busch Gardens announced Wednesday — the second ticket price increase in a year for the theme parks, which hiked prices $3 last May.

    Today's Weekend section featuring look at the new theme park attractions this summer is printed in advance, and features yesterday's prices.

    General admission to Busch Gardens and SeaWorld is now $97, $92 for ages 3-9. ...

    The Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Busch Gardens.
  8. Plan your weekend May 22-24

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Holiday

    Memorial Day Weekend The long weekend gets started early with parties, tributes and salutes to the red, white and blue. Among the events: Oldsmar Freedom Fest, Friday to Sunday with live music, food and craft vendors, children's activities and a ceremony at State and Fairfield streets. $2, 12 and younger free. Shephard's in Clearwater Beach brings the party all weekend with Memorial Day Live, but the main event is Saturday with Flo Rida and Lunch Money Lewis. $35 weekend pass. Find more events at tampabay.com/holiday....

  9. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 21

    Events

    Music and Movies in the Park: Bring a picnic and enjoy the water view. The music starts at 7 p.m., and the films start at dark. Families are encouraged to ride their bicycles to the films. Free and secure valet bicycle parking available. The series continues with music by Sarasota Slim and a screening of The Blind Side. 7 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. Free (donations appreciated). ...

    PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT SpongeBob SquarePants and his Treat Truck will be in Tampa on Thursday.
  10. Lowry Park Zoo extends Chinese lantern festival by a month

    Events

    The lights will continue to shine for an extra month on the Lowry Park Zoo's exhibit of dazzling Chinese lanterns.

    Zoominations, the Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights, was supposed to flicker out at the end of May but the zoo announced Wednesday that due to popular demand it has been extended through June 28 with a new schedule.

    For the remainder of May, Zoominations will continue nightly, opening at 6 p.m. Starting in June, it will operate Wednesday through Sunday nights only, with an opening time of 7 p.m. to adjust for longer daylight. ...

     The 52 foot tall porcelain pagoda at the Zoominations exhibit at the Lowry Park Zoo was created with 68,000 ceramic cups, bowls, spoons and plates. It is inspired by the White Pagoda, created in 1204 AD in China’s Yunnan province.
  11. Free and cheap fun: 5 things to do under $5 May 21-27

    Events

    1 Dollar Splash Day: To mark the opening weekend of St. Petersburg city pools, it's just $1 per person to swim at the seasonal city pools from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Then on Sunday, new, lower swim rates go into effect for the whole summer, $2 for ages 3-12 and $3 for age 13 and older. Many of the pools have water slides, kiddie splash play areas and diving boards, including Walter Fuller, 7883 26th Ave. N; Childs Park, 1227 43rd St. S; and Shore Acres, 4142 Shore Acres Blvd. NE. Programs vary at every pool site. For more on pool lessons and pool information, see s tpeteparksrec.org....

  12. Kid-friendly Legoland Hotel newest addition to theme park

    Florida

    The theme park aimed at the 2-12 age group just added a five-story, 152-room Legoland Hotel, fewer than 100 steps from the Winter Haven theme park.

    More than just kid-friendly, the hotel feels built for little ones with loads of play areas. Everything from the bathroom towel hooks to the buffet line in the restaurant is kid-height, and delightfully juvenile jokes abound.

    There's a Whoopee Cushion on the carpet by the elevator, then when you step into the elevator the doors close and a disco ball lights up and '70s music plays. All the dinner place mats — not just the ones for kids — are made to be colored on and have jokes like, "Why does a gorilla have big nostrils? Because he has big fingers." ...

    Photo by Chip Litherland for LEGOLAND Florida Resort/Merlin Entertainments Group
Legoland Hotel at the Winter Haven theme is putting its final touches in place ahead of the May 15 opening of the new 152-room hotel built for kids
  13. What's new this summer at Universal, SeaWorld and Orlando's International Drive

    Florida

    Universal Studios

    The Orlando theme park is having a blockbuster concert series this summer to mark its 25th anniversary starting with Latin pop star Prince Royce this Saturday and teen heartthrob Shawn Mendes on Sunday. The rest of the lineup is even bigger with Pitbull (May 30), Kellie Pickler (June 6), Huey Lewis and the News (June 13) and the Goo Goo Dolls (June 20). All concerts are included with admission and will be held in the Music Plaza of Universal Studios. See UniversalOrlando.com for tickets and information. ...

    FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2013 file photo, host Pitbull speaks on stage at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Pitbull is set to host the 2014 American Music Awards again. Dick Clark productions announced Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, that the platinum-selling rapper will also perform at the Nov. 23 event at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, to air live on ABC.  (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File) NYET108
  14. For summer, Adventure Island brings scream of a new water slide, Island Nights party

    Florida

    Adventure Island brought a screamer of a new water slide on board this summer called Colossal Curl, (above) a 622-foot-long thrill slide with a "weightless wave wall" that leaves riders a little breathless in the finale.

    A clover-shaped raft takes its riders high up the walls and soaks them with lots of twists and turns. But the ultimate kicker is the big finish when you get sucked into a steep roller-coaster-type drop that propels you into weightlessness. Yikes....

     Colossal Curl, the new thrill slide at Adventure Island
  15. For summer, Busch Gardens brings back shows, fireworks, riding coasters in the dark

    Florida

    Busch Gardens brings back its extended hours and fireworks in summer, and the new drop ride Falcon's Fury will be in full stomach-churning swing to ride in the dark.

    From June 27 to Aug. 16, the Tampa theme park's Summer Nights features extended hours (9 p.m. most days, midnight Fridays and Saturdays) and nightly fireworks. And thrill seekers can test their mettle on Falcon's Fury and the triple-launch coaster Cheetah Hunt, both running in the dark....

    The new Twisted Tails Pretzels is a Busch Gardens cafe with craft beers and assorted freshly made pretzels and breads with an array of dipping sauces. A must-try is the Bacon Pretzel Fury, shown to the right of the mustard dipping sauce here. Two strips of thick cherrywood bacon are embedded in a freshly baked buttery pretzel that’s braided around a long stick. Then get on Falcon’s Fury.