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13 free and cheap things to do around St. Petersburg

Whether it's going to a beach, a sunset festival, an art museum, or a sponge factory, St. Petersburg has plenty of free and cheap things to do. Here are 10 family fun adventures you can enjoy in and nearby St. Petersburg, while on a budget.

1. Sunsets at Pier 60

Celebrate the sunset, 365 days a year, at Sunsets at Pier 60. The celebration begins two hours before sunset and continues for two hours after sunset. The event features live entertainment, live music, the work of crafters and movies. Scheduled movies and live music is only available on the weekends. The daily festival is located at 1 Causeway, Clearwater, FL 33767.

2. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve 

With five distinct eco-systems, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is an astonishing natural habitat with miles of trails. At the preserve you can enjoy Lake Maggiore Island, willow marsh, swamp woodlands, pine flatwoods, sand scrub trail, pioneer settlement and an environmental studies area. The preserve is located at 1101 Country Club Way South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705 and the entrance fee is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children. For more information and preserve hours, call 727-893-7326.

3. Morean Arts Center

Enjoy a free visit to the Morean Art Center. The gallery offers rotating exhibits, classes, child learning experiences, and a workshop with art work from local artist. The museum is open, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is located at 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. For more information, call 727-822-7872

4. Pass-a-Grille Beach

If you're looking for something a little more remote, Pass-a-Grille Beach is a four mile long, undeveloped, public beach. If you happen to get a little hungry or want to do some window shopping, on Eighth Avenue you will find small galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Pass-a-Grille Beach is part of St. Pete Beach, voted TripAdvisor’s No. 1 Beach in the U.S. and No. 5 in the world in 2012, but begins where Gulf Boulevard passes the Loews Don CeSar Hotel.

5. Fort De Soto Park

If you're looking for a place to admire bird life, sea life, wild life and plant life, Fort De Soto Park has it all. The park offers the greatest diversity of systems just about anywhere. The park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands which are home to beach plants, mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks, hardwoods and native plants. Fort De Soto Park is at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde 33715. Fee is $5 for vehicles. For more information, call 727-582-2267

6. Spongeorama 

The Spongeorama's Sponge Factory has the world’s largest selection of natural sea sponges. If you walk along Dodecanese Boulevard, you will find docked sponge boats, shops selling sea sponges and Greek cuisine. Learn the history of the sponge industry at Spongeorama’s world famous museum. The museum offers a movie that will teach you what a sponge is and where it comes from. The museum and movie are both free. The sponge factory is located at 510 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689. For more information, call 727-943-2164.

7. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral

If you're into architecture, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, built in 1943, replaced a smaller structure built in 1907 by Greek settlers. The current church is decorated after St. Sofia’s in Constantinople and is an example of New Byzantine architecture. You can find Grecian marble, stained glass and detailed icons inside. The cathedral is located at 36 N. Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Spring, FL 34689. For more information, call 727-937-3540.

8. Heritage Village

If you’re looking to take a walk through history, the Pinellas County Heritage Village, home to some of Pinellas County’s most historic buildings, is a 21-acre living history museum. The museum features 28 structures dating back to the mid-19th century. Enjoy demonstrations and hands-on activities such as pioneer cooking, blacksmithing, and traditional fiber arts. The Pinellas County Heritage Village is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday’s from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Its located at 11909 125th Street N. Largo, FL 33774. Admission is free. For more information, call 727-582-2123.

9. Florida Botanical Gardens

Bring the family to spend the day at The Florida Botanical Gardens, which showcases flora, fauna, and natural resources in motivational surroundings to promote environmentally friendly techniques. There is also a nature trail, a children’s trail, art in the garden, wildlife, a gift shop, and boardwalks and bridges. The Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774. The Gardens are open daily from 7 a.m. until sunset. Admission is free. For more information, call 727-582-2100.

10. Sawgrass Lake Park

Walk through one of the largest maple swamps on the Gulf Coast at Sawgrass Lake Park. The park offers a mile long boardwalk and a half-mile dirt trail where you can see birds, butterflies, plants and wildlife. If you're into birding, thousands of birds migrate through the park during the fall and spring. According to the Great Florida Birding Trail and the National Audubon Society, the park is one of the premier birding sites in Florida. The park is located at 7400 25th St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33702. For more information, call 727-582-2100.

11. St. Petersburg ArtWalk

On the second Saturday of the month, meet artist and gallery owners at the St. Petersburg ArtWalk. The event is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and features over 40 studies and galleries from the five Art Districts. Take a trolley and hop on and off whenever you like. For more information, call 727-518-5142.

12. Gulf Beaches Historical Museum

The Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, originally the first church in Pass-a-Grille, highlights early development  of the South Pinellas beach communities. The museum features postcard collections, a World War II exhibit, Don Cesar artifacts, photos from the early 1900s, special exhibits and more. The museum is open June through September on Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free. This piece of history is located at 115 10th Ave., St. Petersburg, FL 33706. For more information, call 727-552-1610.

13. Weedon Island Preserve 

Weedon Island Preserve is a coastal system that’s home to numerous species of native plants and animals. On Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., experienced volunteers host a free guided preserve tour featuring hikes through coastal mangrove and upland ecosystems of the preserve. The preserve also offers a free photography hike once a month. Weedon Island Preserve is also a well-known birding site and hosts a free guided bird hike once a month. Registration is required for all activities. The facility is located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St Petersburg, FL 33702. For more information, call 727-453-6500.

Living on the CheapMiami on the Cheap is a member of Living on the Cheap, a network of websites published by frugalistas, journalists and consumer advocates. Find practical advice on saving money on groceries, travel and shopping, plus tips from our experts on how to live the good life for less at Living on the Cheap.

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