Free and cheap things to do in Miami – July 31-Aug. 2

Head onto the island of Key Biscayne and help celebrate Historic Virginia Key Beach’s 70th birthday this weekend or practice your salsa moves and domino-playing skills before making your way to Little Havana for Cultural Fridays.
Skip the stuffy gym and visit a nearby park for a boot camp class taught by military vets who will kick your booty into shape. Or, for a culturally enriching weekend, visit one of several museums for free.

Virginia Key Beach turns 70
Get ready to reminisce about the 1940s when Virginia Key Beach first opened and then through the various decades up to today during their 70th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A timeline exhibition and classic car show take you back in time while a Junkanoo band, Latin retro music, disco dancers and Motown ’60s review with the powerful singing chops of Maryel Epps provide a musical showcase. There will be free mini-train and carousel rides for kids and food and beverages are sold at retro prices. Admission is free.

15 Years and going strong
Fresh off a 15th anniversary gala celebration at Calle Ocho’s hippest club Ball & Chain, Cultural Fridays once again takes over from 7-10 p.m. on Eighth St. between 13th and 17th avenues. The music and arts festival may just span four blocks but it’s a night jam-packed with percussion and horn-heavy bands bringing on the salsa sound, colorful artworks at nearly a dozen galleries and street performers parading the streets. Hitting the stage will be Grupo Raices from Peru, Giselle Gastell with tropical sounds, Rene Angel with bachata and pop singer Tony Lebron.

Butt-kicking boot camp
It may be a play on words but the boot camp exercise classes at various parks around Miami-Dade are no joking matter. Taught by military veterans from the Coast Guard, Navy, Marines and National Guard, they’ll use the park’s outdoor equipment in their tailor-made circuit training sessions that last between two and three hours. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. Weekend class times vary. The program is part of the Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness Program. Classes are free.

Once a month museum freebies   
That Bank of America or Merrill Lynch debit or credit card will come in handy this weekend for more than just regular purchases. Your card also gets you free admission to the Miami Children’s Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art and Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. They’ve all got stellar permanent and traveling exhibitions for the entire family and are a great way to take advantage of our city’s best and most popular museums.

Yeehaw, it’s country tunes on the beach
Spend the day enjoying a host of country music performers playing near Deerfield Beach on Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. Kicking off at noon with country singer Maggie Baugh, she’s followed by the Nash Carey Band, the Ocoee River Band, Samantha Russell Band and Drake White and the Big Fire to close it out. The festival also features art and food vendors as well as an auto show. Admission is free.

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