By Nick Kania • June 25, 2015
After reading our last segment, you know that there are plenty of free or dirt-cheap ways to enjoy your family time this summer. But what if you’re willing to spend a moderate amount of money? If that’s the case, then you’ve just opened up a whole new list of affordable (fun) family activities!
Zoos have long been a family destination due to the sheer amount of fun kids can have at them. Seeing many different kinds of animals is both interesting and educational and is fun for parents as well! Some zoos have discounts and varying prices for different age groups. Additionally, your local zoo may have a free admission day – at the Bronx Zoo in NYC, it’s Wednesdays.
Similar to zoos, botanical gardens are places where plant-loving families can see all sorts of flora. From aged trees and beautiful flowers to scent and texture gardens, botanical gardens contain aesthetically-pleasing arrangements of plants that can definitely be worth a visit. Check your local garden’s website for pricing options, as botanical gardens also offer various prices for students, the elderly, and more.
Nowadays, it’s getting quite expensive to see a movie. By me, I’m pretty sure the price has shot up to at least $12.00. However, movie theaters offer matinee pricing, which is generally half-off earlier in the day. That means a family of four can see a blockbuster movie for the price of two people on a weekday morning, and then spend their savings on a nice lunch somewhere! Be sure to look for discounted movie tickets and promo codes from companies like Fandango on our website for to save your family even more money!
Families that enjoy sports may find themselves spending a ton of money on their passion. Between tickets, parking, food, and merchandise, sporting events can cost quite a lot. A nice alternative to the major leagues is minor league games. Minor league teams are composed of rising stars and older talent, and their games can be quite exciting without costing an arm and a leg. The Long Island Ducks, a professional team by me, sells tickets for $12.00 – a steal to see a professional sports team play.
Sometimes, more fun is to be found in the journey than in the destination. A family okay with long car rides may spend a day (or even a weekend) driving around an area of scenic beauty. Stopping at different locations to take it all in provides an opportunity to take pictures, and most of all to bond over the experience. The only price to consider is gas money (which is entirely dependent on the type of car your family has), and hotels. Some hotel groups, like Choice Hotels, have programs where kids stay for free. This can cut down on the total cost of your trip.
Probably the most expensive option on this list, amusement parks generally require some travel time in addition to the price of entry. However, they offer the most “bang for your buck” – large amusement parks contain small zoos, gardens, pools, and restaurants along with themed rides and attractions. Parks like Six Flags offer package deals and pass options to help mitigate the price. Families considering going to Disney World should look into sites like Undercover Tourist, which not only offers pricing discounts, but contains information on movement of people and direction planning to help avoid lines.
Whatever your family’s interests, there’s a guarantee that a fun and cheap way to spend a summer day exists for you. A family with a large amount of time to set aside may consider taking multiple suggestions from this list and making a vacation out of it. Regardless, it’s good to know that bonding with your family doesn’t have to empty your wallet.
Nick Kania Nick is our summer editorial intern who attends St. John’s University and lives in Brooklyn, New York. You’ll likely find him drinking his third cup of coffee somewhere, thinking about faraway places and how to get there.