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5 things to do under $5 in Tampa Bay this weekend: Dec. 6-8

Boat parades, snow festivals, a free Family Day at the museum and more top the list of free and cheap fun.
The St. Pete Beach holiday boat parade will return on Dec. 7 with a visit by Santa at the Merry Pier. [Tampa Bay Times (2015)]
The St. Pete Beach holiday boat parade will return on Dec. 7 with a visit by Santa at the Merry Pier. [Tampa Bay Times (2015)]
Published Dec. 4, 2019

1. Boat parades: One of the better free Florida traditions is a parade of elaborately lit boats on parade, and this week brings a whole battalion. The Tarpon Springs’ Illuminated Boat Parade sets off as part of its annual snow festival (see below) starting at 7 p.m. Friday at Craig Park, 100 Beekman Way. The rest kick off around 5 p.m. Saturday. The Alafia Lighted Boat Parade leaves the Riverview Civic Center, 11020 Park Drive. Stick around for a chili cookoff tasting. The Pass-a-Grille/Vina Del Mar Lighted Boat Parade will have Santa greeting kids at the Merry Pier, 801 Pass-a-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach. Dunedin’s Holiday Boat Parade and Tree Lighting will have s’mores and Santa arriving by boat at Edgewater Park, 51 Main St. The Cotee River Christmas Boat Parade will wind its way to Sims Park, 5547 Main St., New Port Richey. And the Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade offers good viewing from the docks of the clubhouse to be followed by an annual chili cookoff at the Tampa Sailing Squadron, 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd.

Kids will get to slide down a snow trail at Straub Park in St. Petersburg during Snowfest on Dec. 7. [Times (2012)]

2. Play in the snow: Another oh-so-Florida way to celebrate the holidays is by playing with fake snow. Snowfest returns to Straub Park with giant toboggan slides, an art tent, karaoke, inflatables, food trucks and a teen area with video games. $5 wristbands. 9 a.m. Saturday. Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE, St. Petersburg. There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs has a free snow play area, hayrides, children’s activities and a holiday movie downtown. Free. 5-10 p.m. Friday. Tarpon Avenue between Spring Boulevard and Ring Avenue. And Miracle on Cleveland Street is back with falling snow, ice skating, train rides, photos with Santa and a free concert by the Romantics. An $8 wristband includes the Holiday Express Train, skating, bounce houses and Rock’em Sock’em Robots. 5-10 p.m. Saturday. 400 block of Cleveland Street, Clearwater. There will be sledding and Santa Claus at Oldsmar’s Christmas Wonderland. 5 p.m. Friday. R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Drive W. Palm Harbor’s downtown tree lighting will include a snow play area. 5:30 p.m. Friday. 1190 Georgia Ave.

3. Museum Family Day: The Tampa Museum of Art will host a pay-what-you-can Family Day with family-friendly activities including make-and-take art projects. There will also be refreshments and live holiday music. Tours of the centennial exhibition “The Making of a Museum: 100 Years, 100 Works” are at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday. 120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 274-8130. tampamuseum.org.

4. Car-Free Scavenger Hunt: Assemble a team of two to four members to decipher clues, take pictures at landmarks and use car-free transportation options around downtown St. Petersburg. The scavenger hunt is sponsored by the Downtown St. Petersburg Partnership and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to promote alternative transit options. $5. 2-5 p.m. Saturday starting at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave. S. eventbrite.com.

5. MOSI Skywatch: Bring the whole family to look at a variety of cosmic objects through MOSI’s telescopes as astronomers explain what’s up there. This month is your last chance for a while to see Saturn and the Summer Triangle, but Venus will begin to retrograde and become visible in the sky to the west. The moon will make an appearance along with the Pleiades star cluster and the Orion Nebula. Free. 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday. Museum of Science & Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-6000. mosi.org.

This month will be your last chance for a while to see Saturn using MOSI's powerful telescopes at its Skywatch in Tampa. [AP]

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