Advertisement
  1. Life & Culture

5 things to do with kids in Tampa Bay this week: March 1-7

Plant City’s strawberry festival returns, though without its big music acts, you can have a Victorian Picnic in the Park or check out circus performers at a benefit show.
Its stellar music lineup has been canceled, but the Plant City festival that celebrates strawberries will still go on from March 4-14 with a midway, animal shows, eating contests, racing pigs and, of course, lots of strawberry shortcake.
Its stellar music lineup has been canceled, but the Plant City festival that celebrates strawberries will still go on from March 4-14 with a midway, animal shows, eating contests, racing pigs and, of course, lots of strawberry shortcake. [ ROBERT BURKE | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Feb. 26
Updated Feb. 26

1. Florida Strawberry Festival: Its stellar music lineup has been squashed, but the festival that celebrates Plant City’s juicy red king will still go on this year. The Florida Strawberry Festival opens Thursday and runs through March 14 with a midway, animal shows, eating contests, racing pigs, a magic show and other local entertainment on the festival grounds. And, of course, strawberry shortcake stands will bring on the great sponge cake versus biscuit debate. (You can’t go wrong with either.) More than 200,000 shortcakes are typically shoveled out during the festival, and other fair foods to watch for include giant Amish doughnuts, strawberry cookies and shakes, fried corn and funnel cakes. Be sure to grab a flat of strawberries from the local farms to take home. There will be no headliners, which in years past included the likes of John Legend and Taylor Swift. Masks are required. Admission is $10, $5 ages 6-12, 5 and younger free. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily starting Thursday. 303 BerryFest Place, Plant City. 813-752-9194. flstrawberryfestival.com.

The annual Picnic in the Park put on by the Plant Museum features Victorian games, people in vintage clothing, live theater and entertainment.
The annual Picnic in the Park put on by the Plant Museum features Victorian games, people in vintage clothing, live theater and entertainment. [ Times (2014) ]

2. Picnic in the Park: The Henry B. Plant Museum likes to highlight its Victorian roots by inviting the community every year to an old-fashioned family picnic with live music; a performance by Upstairs/Downstairs Live Theater, in which Victorian employees of the old Tampa Bay Hotel are re-created; and the museum, which is open for exploring. Admission is limited to 25 people per hour, masks and temperature checks required for entry. Free. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. A limited number of picnic tables are available for $20 by calling 813-258-7301. plantmuseum.com.

3. Pancake Breakfast and Train Rides: The Grand Concourse Railroad presents a breakfast of all-you-can-eat pancakes and unlimited rides on its miniature trains. $6, $4 for children 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. The Concourse, 11919 Alric Pottberg Road, Shady Hills.

A view of the Krakatau volcano, the centerpiece water attraction at Universal Orlando's Volcano Bay. It opened for the spring season on Feb. 27.
A view of the Krakatau volcano, the centerpiece water attraction at Universal Orlando's Volcano Bay. It opened for the spring season on Feb. 27. [ JOE BURBANK | AP ]

4. Volcano Bay opens: Universal, which insists on calling Volcano Bay a theme park and not just a water park, turned on the spigot for the season last week. The attraction, which has a huge volcano visible from Interstate 4, is limiting capacity, though reservations will not be required. Universal warned on its official Twitter account recently that “Due to increased demand ... parks may reach capacity more quickly at times throughout the year, and entry to the parks may be limited or unavailable for the day of visit at times throughout the year.” Capacity status for Universal’s theme parks and Volcano Bay can be checked on the Universal mobile app or by calling 407-817-8317. Face coverings will be required upon entering and exiting the park, and while inside restaurants and stores. Face coverings will not be allowed on waterslides and in the pools. universalorlando.com.

5. PREVAIL: Sarasota’s rich circus heritage is kept alive by the Circus Arts Conservatory, a school for the circus arts with many outreach initiatives for performers to share their work in schools, nursing homes and other places throughout the community. For 10 performances over the next two weekends, the Circus Arts Conservatory has engaged a lineup of circus artists — many of them featured in various Cirque du Soleil shows — to perform in a benefit called PREVAIL. You can see the shows live or online. Proceeds will support programs for students, seniors and aspiring artists. $20-$50; digital tickets $25. 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday and also March 12-14. Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota. Get tickets at circusarts.org/prevail-a-benefit-for-the-circus-arts or call the box office at 941-355-9805. circusarts.org.