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Still Time to Head Out for a Saturday Family Outing in St. Pete

Here are five easy and fun family activities in St. Petersburg today that take little or no preparation. Best of all, most of the activities are free or low cost.

From the Saturday Morning Market to a special family day at the new Dali Museum, locals have plenty of ways to have fun  in the 'burg today without spending much or any money. As parents know, that's a big benefit when there are kids in tow. What at first seems like an easy family outing can turn into an expensive undertaking. The following are five easy and cheap things to do alone, as a couple or with the kids:

1.) Saturday Morning Market: Eat, drink, shop and stroll through the lively
Saturday Morning Market, in the Al Lang Field parking lot downtown.
This is the largest farmer's market in Florida. It also is an ideal place to purchase fresh fruit and veggies from local farmers. It's straight from the garden or farm field to you. While you're there, choose from BBQ, New Orleans or Cuban cuisine, to name a few of the handcrafted foods, ready to eat on the spot. Or, drink a fresh smoothie, smell fresh flowers, and check out arts and crafts from local artisans. Be prepared for a crowd. Al Lang Field parking Lot, corner of 1st Ave. and 1st St. S., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free admission. www.saturdaymorningmarket.com

2.) Mazzaro's: It doesn't look like much from the outside, tucked in an area of industrial buildings and big box stores along 22nd Avenue, just past I-275. But once you're inside Mazzaro's Italian Market, you've entered a different world, an Old World setting of fresh Italian foods, wine, coffee and other tantalizing products. Mazzaro's brings Old World Italy to St. Petersburg, with counters for deli, pasta, pizza, desserts and coffee. Have a hot meatball or Italian sandwich for lunch, with a cup of cappucino and a pastry for dessert. The kids will love the fresh gelato. This is a Saturday morning ritual for many locals. 2909 22nd Avenue N, St. Petersburg. Phone: 727-321-2400 www.mazzarosmarket.com

3.) Saturday Guided Hikes, Weedon Island Preserve: Just minutes away from
the commercial hub of 4th Street is the Weedon Island Preserve, an oasis of natural calm. Enjoy a free guided tour of the preserve, led by an experienced volunteer. 1800 Weedon Dr. N.E. 9 to 11 a.m. Every Saturday. www.pinellascounty.org/environment or 727-453-6500.

4.) Family Day at the Dali: Want to see St. Petersburg's newest
world-class attraction, without paying big bucks for admission? Bring the kids to today's Family Day at the Dali. Scheduled activities include a kid-friendly tour, a sound and music performance from artist Marcey Walsj and an afternoon or crafts and games. Meanwhile, while the kids are busy, parents can check out
the rest of the museum. The events are free with the price of admission. 1 Dali Blvd., Bayshore Dr. S.E. and 5th Ave. S.E.

5.) Bike, walk or run along bayfront parks: Here's the easiest activity. Turn off the tube, put the PC to sleep, and head downtown to any of the waterfront parks: Straub, North Shore, Elva Rouse, Spa Beach. Bring the family and go for a walk or bike ride. Remember, Florida was the only state this in the Continental U.S. without snow on the ground. Take a photo and send it to relatives up north! 

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