Tampa Bay is hopping with things to do this weekend. There’s the Gasparilla Knight Parade, Rays Fan Fest, the Florida State Fair and much, much more. Here’s our complete list of the best things to do for the weekend of February 17 – 19.

9. Meet Leonardo the lion Cub at Wild Things in Dade City

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If you prefer activities on the exotic side Dade City’s Wild Things has a new lion Cub you can meet. Wild Things is a small Zoo in Pasco country that offers animal encounters with many animals including their new star, Leonardo the lion cub.  They also have beautiful gardens as well as traditional Zoo tours. Wild Things is not open on Sundays. There is an admission price with animal encounters being additional.  See our photo gallery of him. 

8. Free Friday Night Movie in Simms Park in Pasco

The city of New Port Richey’s Cultural Affairs Committee has announced the return of “Spring & Fall Free for All: Movies in the Park.” The movie  on the Friday night the 17th will be ‘Sleepless In Seattle ‘ starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The movie will start at 6:30 p.m. and is free to attend. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

7. Grande Experience Tasting Saturday at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

This pricey but worth it event showcases some of the world’s finest wines from the most talented winemakers, as well as masterfully created dishes from the Tampa Bay area’s most skillful chefs. Hours: VIP -Noon to 1 p.m., General admission -1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $100 VIP, $75 General admission, $85 at the door

6. St. Petersburg’s Chili Cookoff

St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District’s Chili Cookoff and Street Festival is Saturday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on the 2400 to 2600 blocks of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Taste hot fresh Chili, drink beer and listen to music. Admission $15.

5. Bret Michaels at Busch Garden’s: Bands Brew and BBQ.

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This yearly Busch Garden event offers four weekends of smokin’ hot fun. This Saturday, February 18 it’s Bret Michaels in concert. Admission includes concert and rides, food and beer extra.

4. Enjoy Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival 

Satisfy your seafood and Blues cravings at the Knology Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival at Coachman Park this weekend. Music entertainment includes: Legendary Buddy Guy on Saturday night and Janiva Magness on Sunday night.  This festival runs both Saturday and Sunday. Starting at 12:00 noon Saturday & Sunday the 19th starting at 1:00 pm. Free general admission. Food and drinks are additional. Classic Hits radio station Q105 will be on hand throughout the weekend as well.

3. Pig out on Florida State Fair food, ride rides and visit the animals.

Saturday the State Fair will hold a Midway Power Hour where  all rides will cost just $1 each. This is only between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.  Saturday the 18thRides normally are between $3 and $6.  Saturday – Sunday fair admission is: Adults Age 12 & Over $12.00. Children Ages 6-11    $6.00. Ages 5 & under are free.

2. Hang with the Rays at Tropicana Field for Fan Fest

Get ready for the Rays 2012 season with Fan Fest, presented by MetroPCS on Saturday, February 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Admission and parking are free.

1. Party Saturday at the Gasparilla Knight Parade

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The Sant ‘Yago Knight Parade in Ybor City is the night parade with over 100,000 in attendance. It is one of Tampa’s largest festivals. The bead throwing parade starts at 7 p.m. in Ybor City along 7th Avenue.

Gasparilla Knight Parade 2011 in Ybor City. (Photo Credit: Barbara Ann Kelley)