Saturday: Arts Alive Free Museum Day

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If you love art, spending time with your family and free stuff, then you’ll have a great time this weekend! This Saturday, September 25th (always the last Sat. in Sept.) is Arts Alive Free Museum Day; no passes required and no residency restrictions.  Last year my husband and I got a very late start with our little boy, so we were only able to make it to the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Pete). This year, we are determined to see more than one. Here’s a list (taken from stpete.org) of local museums you can visit for absolutely FREE this Saturday:

So grab your family and take advantage of this great deal! I think we’ll try to make it to Great Explorations and The Morean Arts Center this time to see the Chihuly Collection. Which museums will you visit for free? To learn more about our local museums and other activities going on this weekend, click here.

Last year at the Museum of Fine Arts all the kids were invited to make their own art to display.

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Restaurant Review: The Conch Republic

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16699 Gulf Boulevard North Reddington Beach, FL

One of my favorite things about my birthday is the traditional birthday dinner out with my family. Every year my parents let me pick where I want to eat and buy us all dinner. I love to try new places so I asked my friends on Facebook for recommendations. They said I should go to the Conch Republic on North Reddington Beach, so I did.

The food was awesome! We started with the smoked fish spread on Club crackers that was so good that my fish-hating dad ate it and so did my 3-year-old. My son kept eating the spread off the same cracker (yes, it became gross) and asking for more. Then, I had a house salad with bleu cheese dressing–pretty good. For my main course, I had the Stuffed Pork Chop–amazing! It was a Bone-in oak-grilled pork chop butterflied stuffed with their own apple bacon chutney dressing, topped with an apple walnut glaze. I only wish I could’ve eaten while it was hot. I was holding the baby when it came out, but it was delicious at a few degrees above room temperature.

I would love to go back, but next we’ll go with the kids when it isn’t so busy. We went on a Friday night and the restaurant was packed. We were seated very close to a full bar so it was cramped and LOUD! It was also difficult to get a high chair. There was only one left when we showed up at 6:30p.m., but the buckle was broken, something my 7-month-old can’t be without. We had to take turns holding him and eating until another chair was free, which wasn’t until halfway through our main course. Yet, these were my only issues and I could easily avoid them by eating there on a weeknight or at lunch time. And, if you don’t have little ones and don’t mind some noise, it’s not an issue at all.

On the bright side, the food was great and everyone sitting to the right of the bar had a great view of the beach. The staff was very friendly and helpful and it was reasonably priced ($15-$25 per person). Next time I’ll try some of their seafood, like the Cedar Plank Salmon or the Fresh Gulf Grouper (my mom and husband had, and loved, grouper sandwiches).

Just a reminder, Patrons Insurance Agency insures restaurants and other businesses. If you’d like choosing a policy for your business, please call us at 727-394-1890 or get a free quote online at www.patronsinsurance.com.

Chug on down to Largo Central Railroad

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The first full weekend of every month, my family loves going down to Largo Central Park. We pack up the diaper bag, slap on some sun screen, put a few dollars in our pockets and we’re ready for some good family fun. This park is special because it is the home of the Largo Central Railroad (LCRR), a miniature railroad that you can ride for FREE! The railway is maintained and operated by LCRR club members and is funded by the donations of those who visit.

Everyone can ride, except pregnant women and babies who cannot sit up unsupported. So if you fall into one of these categories, make sure you bring a friend to escort your child(ren) or watch your baby. Each adult can sit with two kids, but first each family must fill out a waiver. The trains start running at 10:00 a.m. (and stop at 4:00 p.m.), but you may want show up half an hour earlier to beat the heat and the long line. If you get hungry while waiting, you can grab a snack at the concession stand, which is run by a different community group each month (i.e. Boy Scouts). For a few dollars you can get a hotdog, chips and a can of soda.


There are several different trains that vary in size, but most can fit a few families. You can’t choose which one you ride, but you can ride multiple times. The track is about 1.2 miles long and the ride is longer than you might expect. You’ll wind around the beautifully landscaped park, including a ride through a tunnel and over a short bridge. My 3-year-old son loves to hear the train whistle, Wooooo wooooo! as it leaves and returns to the station. Be sure to stop by the gift shop (a card table manned by a LLRC volunteer) and buy a whistle and a hat (just $6 each).

For a train schedule click here and to the rent the train out for a birthday party read this first. The trains will be running this Saturday only, because Sunday is the 4th of July, but they usually run both days. Hope to see you there sometime!

Weekend Fun: June 11th-13th

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Looking for something to do this weekend in Tampa Bay? There are several special events you may want to check out, like…

Florida Highwaymen: Legendary Landscapes Exhibition and Reception at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Celebrate the work of 26 African-Americans who used to sell their Florida landscapes roadside to make ends meet. Now these artists are known nationwide. The reception is Friday evening from 6-8 p.m. and the exhibit is open until June 30th. To learn more about the Florida Highwaymen watch this video. 335 2nd Avenue Northeast St. Pete, FL.

The Tampa Bay Brewing Company, in Centro Ybor, is releasing a new brew called the “New Horizon”, a version of their True Blonde Ale. This Friday from 11 a.m. til 5 p.m. this beer will sell for $6 a pint. Two dollars from each one sold  will go to support the Florida Aquarium’s efforts to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife from the Gulf, after the Deep Horizon oil spill. Remember to choose a designated driver and drink responsibly. 1600 East 8th Avenue         Tampa, FL.

The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival at the Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg. This is the 18th year of the event. Come out and enjoy the music of a live steel band and DJs, ethnic foods, crafts and a parade on Sunday. Alison Hinds and Shaggy will be headlining this year. Buy your tickets in advance for $20 or pay $25 the day of the event. Call 877-318-0073 for more information. For a schedule check out their website.

Or you may want to check out the Hibiscus Festival at Sunken Gardens on 4th Street in St. Petersburg, Saturday June 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00p.m.. You’ll find 250 different varieties of hibiscus for sale. Take advantage of educational opportunities by listening to a hibiscus lecture or sitting in on a Ikebana demonstration. The kids will enjoy Captain Tut’s Pirate Parrots and face painting. Tickets cost $4 for kids (ages 2-11), $6 for seniors and $8 for adults. 1825 4th Street North St. Petersburg.

Weekend Fun: May 21-23

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St. Pete's Saturday Morning Market

Do you know what you’re doing this weekend? Are you searching for a fun family activity that won’t drain your wallet? Well I’ve done some searching and found a few free/inexpensive activities that you can do as a family. I’m always on the look out for free and cheap stuff to do around town. I love taking my little boys to our local parks and to special events. Here’s what’s going on this weekend:

  • Movies in the Park: Friday starting at 7:00 p.m. at Largo Central Park. Bring the family down to watch The Never Ending Story. Family activities start at 7:00 and the movie starts at dark. FREE.
  • Pasadena Community Church children’s consignment sale: Friday + Saturday morning at 227 70th St. S. St. Petersburg. Find great deals on new and gently used clothes, toys, baby gear, furniture, bedding, books, decorations and entertainment.
  • Photography Hike: Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at Weedon Island Preserve. Photographers of all levels go a guided hike with a preserve volunteer who points out seasonal features and wildlife behaviors. FREE, pre-registration is required.
  • Guided Nature Walk: Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at Philippe Park. FREE, pre-registration required.
  • Rain Harvesting Workshop: Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at Pinellas County Extension. Learn how you can collect rain water for your plants and receive free set-up instructions and reference booklet. This class is FREE, but pre-registration is required. You can buy rain barrels for $30.
  • Saturday Morning Market: Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium parking lot. Enjoy fresh produce, gourmet baked goods, greenery, hand-crafted gifts and live music. Only two Saturdays left for the season.
  • Swing Dance Saturdays: Saturday 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. at Largo Community Center. $5 admission includes 1 hour lesson and dancing from 8 – 11pm with DJ Arleene Norman.

I hope you find something fun to do this weekend. Please let me know about any of the great events and activities you’ve heard of too. Together we’ll defeat boredom!