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Best things to do in Tampa Bay: SharkCon, MetroCon, a fun run

SharkCon will return this weekend to Tampa’s Florida State Fairgrounds. The convention’s aim is to educate and entertain the public about how important sharks — and the ocean — are to the planet. [Times (2014)]
Published Jul. 10

FINS TO THE LEFT: Shark Awareness Day

July 14 is officially Shark Awareness Day, and in addition to a free talk on the fascinating creatures on Sunday at the Sulphur Springs Museum, this weekend brings the return of SharkCon to the Florida State Fairgrounds. There will be fun and games, but SharkCon also slips in some education with speakers from Shark Week, National Geographic and Animal Planet. Look for more than 100 vendors featuring shark- and ocean-related merchandise, and you can try indoor scuba diving with professionals in a specially built pool. There will also be touch tanks, a shark tooth sand dig, bounce houses and slides, all included with admission of $19.95, $4.95 children 13 and younger; $24.95 ($7.50 children) for a two-day pass. 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (941) 539-0833. shark-con.com. For the more serious-minded, the University of Tampa's Dan Huber will give a free Shark Awareness Day Talk at 2 p.m. Sunday about his research on the biomechanics of the shark's flexible skeleton. His research helps us understand how sharks swim, eat and evolve, and why now is the time to conserve shark species. Free. Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center, 1101 E River Cove St., Tampa. (813) 935-9402. sulphurspringsmuseum.org.

FUN RUN: Night Nation Run

Ready, set ... glow. On Saturday, Raymond James Stadium will be the setting for the Night Nation Run, billed as the world's first running music festival 5K. There will be multiple DJs, an illuminated race course and an after-party filled with dancing, glow lights, lasers and live music. The first DJ gets on stage at 7 p.m. Saturday and the first wave of runners head out on the course at 8:30. Runners will find bubble zones, light shows, neon and black lights along the course. Proceeds benefit Stand Up to Cancer. $25-$80. Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. nightnationrun.com.

ANIME: Metrocon

Expect to see a lot of pink and purple hairdos in downtown Tampa this weekend as Metrocon returns for its 17th year at the Tampa Convention Center. The focus of Metrocon is anime, the style of flashy Japanese animation and artwork familiar to anyone who has seen Speed Racer or Sailor Moon. Now Florida's largest anime convention, Metrocon has grown into a four-day extravaganza where more than 10,000 attendees are expected to dress in costume and do some serious shopping. It has a packed schedule of voice actors, exhibitors, video games, film and a wide array of collectibles and cosplay artists. It opens at noon Thursday and at 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday, with after-parties running into the wee hours. Day passes are $30-$40, $10 ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and younger at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. metroconventions.com.

PLAY TIME: Grown Up Night

Why should kids get all the fun? Friday at the Glazer Children's Museum is Grown Up Night, and that means guests 21 and older are invited to play at the museum during this adults-only event. The night will include classic games, innovative challenges, snacks, free beer by Florida Avenue Brewing and a cash bar. Tickets are $20 at glazermuseum.org or $25 at the door. 5:30-8 p.m. Friday. Glazer Children's Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861.

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