1. Fun

Best things to do in Tampa Bay: Melons for Moolah, wildlife tours, water gun fight

Animals like this beautiful domesticated Amur Siberian leopard have been cared for by Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary since 2005. On Sunday, the Wimauma nonprofit will provide a guided tour to get up close with its residents. [Times (2013)]
Animals like this beautiful domesticated Amur Siberian leopard have been cared for by Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary since 2005. On Sunday, the Wimauma nonprofit will provide a guided tour to get up close with its residents. [Times (2013)]
Published Jul. 3, 2019

PLANTING SEEDS: Melons for Moolah

The watermelon-themed festival to benefit the Safety Harbor Public Library Foundation returns as an all-day Melons for Moolah family event. After setting a Guinness World Record for "Most Participants in a Watermelon-Eating Contest" last year, Melons for Moolah is expanding to a full day of activities, with water slides, contests, a homebrew competition, entertainment, food and drink sales and a screening of the summertime classic The Goonies on a 25-foot movie screen in the park to close things out. Free admission, water slide wristband is $5 for unlimited rides. 3-10 p.m. Saturday. Safety Harbor Waterfront Park, 110 Veterans Lane.

SPLASH: Red, White and Sploosh

Join the Geekocracy meetup group to celebrate your independence by blasting your fellow geeks and gamers in the face in this giant water gun fight at Red, White and Sploosh. There will be inflatable kiddie pools set up to refill your guns. Organizers suggest bringing two water guns in case your first one breaks and you are without a defense. Noon-2 p.m. Saturday. Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa.

CLASSIC: Sing-Along Grease

There's no time like Tampa Theatre's Summer Classics series to watch a movie about the most famous summer romance ever and belt out the tunes to Sing-Along Grease. Based on the hit Broadway musical and full of catchy songs, the 1978 blockbuster starred John Travolta as the greaser Danny and Olivia Newton-John as prim Australian Sandy. Grease was the top pick in this year's poll of fans by Tampa Theatre, so it remains an audience favorite. Follow the lyrics on the screen and sing along to bring back memories of those suhhh-uhhh-mer ... niiii-hiiiiights. Before the film, pose for a free souvenir photo starting at 2 p.m. in the lobby. $13. 3 p.m. Sunday. 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-8286.

SANCTUARY: Wildlife tours

Some of the lesser-known homes to wildlife in the area offer up-close looks at their residents this week, and ticket sales benefit animal upkeep at two local nonprofits. Elmira's Wildlife Sanctuary, just south of Sun City Center in Wimauma, is home to lemurs, parrots, tigers, leopards, bears, wolves, tortoises, bobcats and assorted birds. The nonprofit provides care for exotic and wild animals that need a home. On the first Sunday of each month, employees offer a guided tour to get up close with the exotic animals. $15, $10 seniors, $7.50 for 12 and younger. Tours are at 12:30 and 2 p.m. Sunday, and there are regular Saturday tours at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Elmira's Wildlife Sanctuary, 13910 Seminole Trail, Wimauma. (813) 634-4115.

Croc Encounters was established in January 2005 as a nonprofit sanctuary dedicated to rescuing unwanted reptiles. While crocodilians have been the main focus, the sanctuary has extended the haven to unwanted snakes, lizards, turtles and amphibians. Take advantage of Guided Saturday to check it out, from the alligator and crocodile ponds to a live feeding encounter and a hands-on live animal encounter. $13, $10 ages 3-11. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. 8703 Bowles Road, Tampa. (813) 217-4400.


  1. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  2. Dave Bautista, shown here at his South Tampa office, has been named grand marshal of the 2020 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.
    The Guardians of the Galaxy star will lead the Pirate invasion along with Tampa police Lt. Travis Maus, who recently served in the Middle East.
  3. Halsey performs during the European MTV Awards in Seville, Spain, in 2019. [Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP]
    A mix of new hits and blockbuster blasts from the past.
  4. Roberto Gomez, of Puerto Rico, dressed as Darth Vader, attends the world premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on Dec. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. [CHRIS PIZZELLO  |  Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]
    The massive fandom was built on the strength of a universe that continues to expand beyond the movie theater.
  5. Fashions by De Johnea Bianca, a designer involved in the Fashion Market that will take place in Tampa on Jan. 18. [Courtesy of De Johnea Bianca]
    Plus, a pre- Gasparilla fashion and hair event and markets dedicated to a healthy lifestyle.
  6. Clay Goodison, of Brandon, pulls sons Parker and Davis and wife Krissy in a pirate ship float after the Gasparilla Preschooler's Stroll in Tampa in 2015. The stroll took place before the Gasparilla children's parade on Bayshore Boulevard. [Tampa Bay Times (2015)]
    Kids plunder the Gasparilla children’s parade, the best college players are here for the East-West Shrine Bowl and more.
  7. British actor Charlie Chaplin performs on the high wire during the filming of "The Circus." Theater organ virtuoso Tom Hoehn will perform at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center while the film plays on Jan. 17. [AP]
    Watch a theater organ pro perform or wheelchair rugby, attend a steel drum party and more.
  8. Employees working inside Tabanero Cigars, which is one of the stops on a new self-led audio tour produced byt Visit Tampa Bay. [Times 2016)]
    Hillsborough tourism bureau launches audio tour of historic Cuban district.
  9. Jan. 13• Arts & Entertainment
    Celine Dion will perform at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Jan. 15. [ANDREW WHELAN  |  Columbia Records]
    Celine Dion brings her pipes to town, the Gasparilla children’s parade starts rolling and bands get ready for next week’s big MLK parade.
  10. Rod Stewart performs at Papp Laszlo Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary, in 2018. [BALAZS MOHAI  |  AP]
    Starting Friday, you can secure a spot at a few upcoming shows.