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Free and Cheap: Treat mom on her special day

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 05:22 AM

You could make your mom a ceramic ashtray for Mother's Day, but what she really wants is for you to spend some time with her on her special day. We've rounded up some places to take your mom without breaking the bank. You're welcome. See, we knew you were thinking "thank you" because your mama raised you right.

Moms are admitted free with a paid child's admission to Dinosaur World in Plant City on Mother's Day (Sunday). The park is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers interactive dinosaur displays and fossil hunting and picnic facilities. You can even bring your dog.  http://www.dinosaurworld.com/

If your mom is really into flowers, she will probably enjoy visiting the oldest botanical garden in Florida. Sunken Gardens, in downtown St. Petersburg, is a treasure trove of some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. Try to find the 'sensitive plant' that closes its leaves when you lightly touch it. Moms are admitted free with a paid admission on Sunday. http://www.stpete.org/sunken/index.asp

Bok Tower Gardens combines beautiful plants on nearly 50 acres of central Florida natural habitat, so wear your walking shoes. Mothers are admitted free and will be treated to a carillon concert from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The Tampa Bay History Center (801 Old Water St., Tampa) will celebrate Mother's Day with free admission for moms with one paid admission on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For extra fun there will be arts and crafts for kids in the Lykes Atrium and a 15 percent discount in the museum store on select items.

Lowry Park Zoo extends the "moms get in free offer" to include admission on Saturday, in addition to Sunday. Moms receive a free ticket with the purchase of their child's full-priced admission. The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. http://www.lowryparkzoo.com/

There's plenty for the entire family to enjoy at the Museum of Science & Industry on Mother's Day, including seeing the "Mummies of the World" special exhibit (an extra charge applies). Moms enjoy free admission to MOSI with a paid child's ticket. Special "mummies day" themed activities also planned. http://www.mosi.org/

King Fisher Fleet, at Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda, invites moms to cruise for free in honor of Mother's Day. Moms can choose from sunset cruises or day cruises from Friday through Sunday. Advance reservations are recommended for all cruises. For more information, call (941) 639-0969 or visit http://www.kingfisherfleet.com/

Find your mom a free kitten in a box at the supermarket? Get that cutie spayed or neutered for half price at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay clinic from Saturday through Friday, May 18.

Don't make mom cook on her special day. Instead, treat her to an inexpensive, yet delicious all-you-can-eat brunch at Ikea. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sundayand costs $9.99 for adults and $4.99 for children 12 and under. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Swedish Market on site. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/tampa/activities

Bring your mom in for a free breakfast at any of the 188 Bay area McDonald's on Sunday, including a breakfast sandwich or entree along with her choice of a small orange juice, coffee or soda during breakfast hours. No purchase is necessary, but your mom must be accompanied by a child and there's a limit of one free offer per customer.

And you might want to act on this deal quickly, buy three Starship Dining Yacht tickets for brunch or dinner and mom's ticket is free. The offer is good for the first 50 mothers, only. http://www.yachtstarship.com/#!special-events

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