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Free and Cheap

A deals blog by Janine Dorsey

Janine Dorsey loves to save money: it doesnít matter if itís hers or someone elseís. She rounds up all the best deals and freebies to be found in the Tampa Bay area - †in shopping, dining, entertainment and more Ė to help you save, too.

Cheap things to do with kids in Tampa this summer

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Published:   |   Updated: June 13, 2014 at 08:35 AM

You're going to want to clip and save this article.

Because starting in 3 ... 2 ... 1... the cries of “I'm booooorrrrreddd” and “I have nothing to doooooo...” are going to start, and there's a limit to how loud you can turn up your stereo to drown those kids out before the neighbors start complaining.

Most items on our list are free, but a few incur a modest charge. Consider it an investment in your summer sanity.

Dilly-dally with Dali: Kids discover the creative, artistic world of Salvador Dali through free games, puzzles and crafts Saturdays at 11:45 a.m. in the first floor education classroom. The Dali Museum, One Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg; (727) 823-3767

Free planetarium shows: The St. Petersburg College Planetarium and Observatory offers free shows every Friday night at 7 and 8:15 p.m. when college is in session on the second floor of the Natural Science Building (SC 205). Free parking is available for the celestial shows. Please note: children younger than age 5 are not permitted. June's show is “Saturn: Lord of the Rings” and in July it will be “The Stars of Summer. For information, visit www.spcollege.edu/planetarium/; St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg.

Target Tuesdays: Everyone is admitted free from 2 to 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at the Glazer Children's Museum. Remaining dates for the summer include July 1 and August 5. Glazer Children's Museum, 110 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa; (813) 443-3861

Summer movies: Kids can cool off in a dark theater and chill out with a good movie on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at participating Regal Theaters. Admission is just $1 and titles include “Free Birds,” “The Lego Movie,” “Walking with Dinosaurs,” “Rio 2” and more. Visit www.regmovies.com/Movies/Summer-Movie-Express# for a schedule and participating locations.

Tuesdays at the library: The librarians of Safety Harbor have scheduled a lot of free fun this summer. Special guests are invited to entertain kids of all ages with juggling feats, tricky dogs, cartooning, science experiments, exotic animals, Japanese drumming and more. Programs are free and open to the public and generally take place starting at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. Admission tickets are given out to the first 150 in line starting at 12:30 on program days. View the program schedule at cityofsafetyharbor.com/; Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 Second St. N., Safety Harbor; (727) 724-1525

Tampa Bay Rebels basketball: This minor league team made of up of former college and international players plays at Freedom High on Saturdays in the summer. Kids younger than 13 are admitted free; everyone else is just $10. Sponsors sometimes offer coupons for free haircuts or hamburgers at games, too. Visit www.tampabayrebels.com/ for schedule. Freedom High, 17410 Commerce Park Blvd., Tampa.

Donate goods, score free tickets: Bring a donation of clothing or household items for Goodwill to a home Dunedin Blue Jays game in June and score two free tickets. Ticket vouchers can be redeemed for same-day admission or at a future 2014 home game, excluding playoffs. For a game schedule, visit dunedin.bluejays.milb.com/; Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin; (727)733-9302.

Free tokens at Chuck E. Cheese: Print out one of the several good behavior calendars available on the website, fill it out when your child completes the desired tasks and turn it in for 10 free tokens. www.chuckecheese.com/activities/rewards-calendars. Admission to Chuck E. Cheese is always free, and all games are just one token.

Summer reading: Kids can earn a free book by completing a reading log and turning it in at a participating Barnes & Noble store before Sept. 2. Just print out the official reading log at http://tbo.ly/1kcRbxT and start reading! Free book titles to choose from include “Sideways Stories From Wayside School,” “Snuggle Buddies,” “Dragonbreath,” “Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister,” “The World According to Humphrey,” “Bad Kitty School Daze” and more. Limit of one free book per customer.

Art Spot: The Tampa Museum of Art offers free, drop-in art activities for kids on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Different themes are offered each week. To view the schedule, visit tampamuseum.org. Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa; (813) 274-8130

Cool off with ice skating: Save at the rink when you skate during non-primetime hours. The Tampa Bay Skating Academy offers discounted admission and free skate rental when you visit during the less busy public skate times. Visit www.tbsa.com/ol_open.php for a skate session schedule; Tampa Bay Skating Academy, 255 Forest Lakes Blvd., Oldsmar; (813) 854-4010

Free bowling for kids: Students in grades kindergarten through 12th can stop by any of the three Tampa Bay area Pinchasers locations during June for the “Fit and Fun Summer Card.” The card entitles the bearer to five free games of bowling, up to two per day, per person. Visit http://pinchasers.net/ for information.

Polk Museum of Art: Everyone is admitted free to the museum during “Lois Cowles Harrison Week” June 24 through June 28. The commemorative week celebrates the former Lakeland resident and patron of the arts and offers the perfect opportunity to introduce kids to fine art and photography, including a special exhibition on the art of skateboarding on display through July 20. The museum is open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. during the free admission days. Polk Museum of Art, 800 E. Palmetto St., Lakeland.; (863) 688-7743.

And speaking of skateboarding: June 21 is “Go Skate Day,” and free admission is offered at Skatepark of Tampa beginning at 9 a.m. Free barbecue will be available, and an Ollie contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. Visit skateparkoftampa.com for information. Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa; (813) 621-6793

Put on your calendar for August: “Tampapalooza” on Aug. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. promises to celebrate all things Tampa with an aerial yoga show, stilt walkers, kids activities, farmers market, music, raffles and more. Free admission. For information, visit www.tampapalooza.com/; Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301, Tampa; (800) 345-3247

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