With spring break a few weeks away, now is the time to start thinking about planning family fun. In our last post, Spring Break Fun In Hampton Roads, we offered a few options of things to do in the 757 while the kids are out of school. Unfortunately, some of those options could become a little expensive, especially with a large family. The first thing to remember is to not feel obligated to do something outside the home everyday. Stay inside, do crafts or projects around the house. You can pick one or two activities to do outside the home (cost or free), to make the week a little easier. Here are some other ways to have fun, but not break the bank.
1. Picnic In The Park (weather permitting)
One of our favorite things to do as a family is going to the park. It’s free, fun and great exercise. Depending on the weather and time of year, we also pack a lunch and eat at one of the picnic tables. It saves money from having to eat out or grab fast food. It’s healthy and economical. Some of our favorite parks to visit are Newport News Park (which offers paddleboats), Riverview Farm Park and Mid County Park (Kidsburg).
While movies can be expensive, we love visiting Cinema Cafe in Hampton for their great rates. On Wacky Wednesdays, all showtimes are only $3.99, minus special engagements. The Greenbrier location of Cinema Cafe is the least expensive theater I have seen, with prices ranging from only $1.75-$3.99 and no charge for 3D! By going to the movies before noon at other locations (AMC, Regal, Paragon), using Military or Student ID’s and skipping the 3-D, you can also save money on your next family movie outing.
To save even more, if the weather is cold or rainy, have a movie day at home. Rent a movie(s) from Redbox, pop your own popcorn and/or make snacks and enjoy movie time in the comfort of your own home.
3. Busch Gardens
Traditionally, visits to Busch Gardens can be quite expensive with admission, parking and food. To help minimize costs, opt for the Fun Card (pay once and have unlimited visits) or an EZ-Pay annual pass. Dependent upon your child’s age, you may qualify for the Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™ Preschool pass. The pass is available for unlimited free visits to Busch Gardens & Water Country USA for children ages 3-5. What works for my family is having Fun Cards for the kids and a seasons pass for the adults. The children do not need the parking or food discounts, so it is more economical to save the higher cost for the adult. Once you have your passes, your visits are now free. That can save up money to spend on food or souvenirs (you can set a budget/limit) or you can skip the additional expenses altogether. You also have the option to pack your own lunch in a cooler (must stay in the car) and have a picnic using the provided tables in the parking lot.
4. Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge can be expensive, especially during weekends and holidays. Opt to book a room for one night during the week, especially Wednesday (lowest rate day). If an overnight stay is not an option, you can still enjoy a day at the resort (minus the waterpark) without a room. The arcade, Magiquest/Shadowquest and a few other activities, do not require a room reservation. For more information on how to save at Great Wolf Lodge, visit our post How To Do Great Wolf Lodge On A Budget.
5. Coupon Discounts & Social Media
If you have a favorite place or activity you like to do with the kids, keep an eye out for discounts via Groupon or LivingSocial. Also make sure to follow the company’s social media accounts for any announcements of discounts or deals for the spring break holiday. A great local resource is the City Saver Guide (they always have Chuck E. Cheese coupons on the back) or the ValPak that comes in the mail.
Have any other spring break budget ideas? Share them below!