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Reasonably Priced Family Outings (1 Viewer)

This thread is intended to be a companion to Joe's thread about the rising costs of family outings. The idea is to share ideas for affordable family outings to help us all get through the summer until our children are back in school where they belong. it can be an afternoon outing, a day trip, an idea for a weekend getaway or a reasonably priced week-plus travel destination.

Here's one of each from me for purposes of illustration and to get the ball rolling:

Afternoon outing: Go Karts. I never did this when I was a kid so I was surprised to find that they are way more affordable than expected. Our local joint is $9 a race, and I've never seen a kid who doesn't love it.

Weekend getaway: I like to pick a nearby city the kids haven't visited in reasonable driving distance, scout out free or cheap entertainment options, and if possible apply the savings to a reasonably priced downtown hotel room. The good thing about cities is that there's lots of residents with children who require reasonably priced entertainment so there's options beyond tourist price-gouging. We did this with Philly recently, took the kids to Reading Terminal Market (free until you get hungry, cheap thereafter), the best kids' museum we've ever seen by far ($19 per person), and a couple other nice parks and tourist areas. Saving tons of money on transportation and entertainment meant we could afford a decent hotel with an indoor pool and a nice looking lobby and whatnot, a destination of its own for kids who don't travel much.

Weeklong vacation: AirBnB a house close to the nearest swimmable lake. Lakes are great IMO. My kids like them more than the beach bc they're more swimmable and we can rent boats and fish and whatnot. Plus the real estate and nearby tourist stuff tends to be a lot more affordable. 

 

Rich Conway

Footballguy
Copied from the other thread...

Depending on where you live, your local public library may be a useful resource to keep prices low for certain outings.  In my town, the library has season passes to almost all of the museums, zoos, etc. in the area.  You can go get and use those passes for free.

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
Someone in the other thread mentioned NFL football training camps. Way cheaper or free and you are much closer to the players. Sometimes you are allowed to ask for autographs.
I remember going to Saints training camp way back when.  Got the jump on Marques Colston when I saw him abusing rookie DBs on day 1.

 

Bob Loblaw

Footballguy
If you and your kid(s) like golf, sign them up for a Youth On Course membership, and then have them enjoy $5 rounds of golf at participating courses. It's a pretty sizeable discount when you average the cost out per person.

 

Chris B.

Footballguy
For the Los Angeles families. You can ride the light rail around town with a $3.50 day pass. Go from Santa Monica to the Exposition Park museums to downtown on one fare. Pretty easy and cheap way to kill a day.

 

SoBeDad

Footballguy
For the Los Angeles families. You can ride the light rail around town with a $3.50 day pass. Go from Santa Monica to the Exposition Park museums to downtown on one fare. Pretty easy and cheap way to kill a day.
Speaking of LA, my daughter is not a sports fan, but she said for $3 she might attend a WNBA game at the Crypto.com Arena, formerly Staples. I guess those are nose bleed seats. She'll bring her own food and claim a vegan diet if anyone asks. Do they let you bring your own food? When we attended the Nutcracker in Miami a few years ago, she showed me how to save on drinks with minis.

 

NutterButter

Footballguy
Bob Loblaw said:
If you and your kid(s) like golf, sign them up for a Youth On Course membership, and then have them enjoy $5 rounds of golf at participating courses. It's a pretty sizeable discount when you average the cost out per person.
My daughters love driving the golf cart when I "play" with my parents in cancun.   

 

Don Quixote

Footballguy
Good thread topic...

Cost of sports outings was discussed in Joe's thread, but I think plenty of sports options at cheaper levels in most cities (minor league/college/women's), and, if kid is right age, won't matter too much. Pre-Covid, I had GW basketball season tickets that I shared with friends (around $100pp for entire season) and would take my son on weekends (always games that not everyone could make, and would just use each other's tickets).

Instead of Disney, there are cheaper amusement parks locations that could try. I made a few trips to Lancaster, PA to check out Dutch Wonderland and Strasburg RR. Sesame Place outside Philly was good too (although they have been the subject of some controversy lately). Also did a trip up to NH and went to Story Land. 

Agree with the AirBNB on lakes. Meet up with my wife's family at an AirBNB on a lake that straddles the VA/NC border every year; can get a house that can fit 15 people for pretty affordable price. Much cheaper than OBX.

 

NutterButter

Footballguy
Instead of Disney, there are cheaper amusement parks locations that could try. I made a few trips to Lancaster, PA to check out Dutch Wonderland and Strasburg RR. Sesame Place outside Philly was good too (although they have been the subject of some controversy lately). Also did a trip up to NH and went to Story Land. 


Went here every summer when the kids were younger.  They had a great deal where if you bought season passes after 8/1, you could use them for that year as well as the whole following year.   One time when we were walking up without tix yet, they were having a blood drive so my wife and I gave blood and got 4 passes so that was a nice score.   Up in north NJ, there's a really affordable place called land of make believe that has an odd combination of tame dry rides with some of the most intense water slides I've ever been on.   So its really good for a wide age range.  

 

Gally

Footballguy
Speaking of LA, my daughter is not a sports fan, but she said for $3 she might attend a WNBA game at the Crypto.com Arena, formerly Staples. I guess those are nose bleed seats. She'll bring her own food and claim a vegan diet if anyone asks. Do they let you bring your own food? When we attended the Nutcracker in Miami a few years ago, she showed me how to save on drinks with minis.
I highly doubt that she will be allowed to bring in food and I believe that arena has vegan options so that excuse won't work.  

 

grateful zed

Footballguy
one of the moms is our neighborhood used to take us to a beach by the river for the afternoon.  snacks, drinks, no sunscreen.  

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
one of the moms is our neighborhood used to take us to a beach by the river for the afternoon.  snacks, drinks, no sunscreen.  
I also remember the good old days. Mayo covered sandwiches baking in the sun. Broken bottles and sharp edged pop tops buried in the sand we ran across. Good times.

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
Schlitterbahn is a good deal, especially if you are with a group of young teens who are allowed to freely roam together and do all that waiting in line, while you ride in circles around the wave pool for hours at a time.  It's more of a staycation destination than a trip to watch your local minor league baseball game.  A quick gander shows $53/per for a one-day pass and $90 for a two-day pass.  But here is the best part, you can bring your own picnic packed in coolers, which is really, really awesome.  You can bring your own beverages too (no alcohol, no glass, obviously), but really it's better to purchase the souvenir cup and get free-refills all day long.  It's a Jim Gaffigan paridise is what I'm trying to say - Let me get out of the wave pool and go eat a BLT, and then get back in the wave pool (aka, rinse and repeat).

Pro tip: lines are shorter on Mother's day. 

 
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Mister CIA

Footballguy
4 cane poles $40 bucks. 2 dozen minnows $18 bucks. Find a local lake take the kids with few pb and j sandwiches and brews for you. Cheap enjoyable day out the kids will remember and it won't break the bank.
Sounds cool, but what could I catch with a can of sardines? ... in case I want to upgrade the brew selection.

 

Kanil

Footballguy
Rich Conway said:
Copied from the other thread...

Depending on where you live, your local public library may be a useful resource to keep prices low for certain outings.  In my town, the library has season passes to almost all of the museums, zoos, etc. in the area.  You can go get and use those passes for free.
State parks here in Colorado, too.

 

Dezbelief

Footballguy
Sounds cool, but what could I catch with a can of sardines? ... in case I want to upgrade the brew selection.
You would have better luck with whatever bugs the kids can catch around the body of water. It's a nice feeling catching a fish off a grasshopper you chased down. It's also makes you twice as mad when your bait gets stolen.

 

grateful zed

Footballguy
How much do you typically have to spend on gear per person? 


i havent bought a disc in decades.  the people i play with have discs coming out their ears, so i will just borrow or bum one.

but to equip a familly for a year would cost about 100$, including replacing lost ones. 

The average cost of a disc golf disc is around $13 to $15 dollars. But disc golf discs can cost between $8 dollars and $20 dollars depending on quality of plastic, manufacturer, rarity, dye, type of disc, and whether the model is still being made.

 

Lehigh98

Footballguy
When my kids were really little, like 4 and 2, they really liked the escalator at the mall.  On some weekend mornings, I'd let my wife sleep in and take them to the Corner Bakery store at the mall for breakfast and then we'd just go up and down the escalator until they got tired of it.

 

DA RAIDERS

willy t flyers
For the Los Angeles families. You can ride the light rail around town with a $3.50 day pass. Go from Santa Monica to the Exposition Park museums to downtown on one fare. Pretty easy and cheap way to kill a day.
Also a great way to deter your children from doing drugs. Rode from DTLA to SM and back a few months ago. Holy #### it was gnarly. 

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
When my kids were really little, like 4 and 2, they really liked the escalator at the mall.  On some weekend mornings, I'd let my wife sleep in and take them to the Corner Bakery store at the mall for breakfast and then we'd just go up and down the escalator until they got tired of it.
Excellent. My local mall has beltways running from one half of the mall to the other. A main street with heavy traffic runs underneath them. Saw one kid doing a pretty good Michael Jackson moonwalk over the traffic.

 

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