How To: Family Entertainment

Miniature golf is a family-oriented activity that's usually very affordable.

When’s the last time you and the kids went to play miniature golf (or putt-putt)?

Your staycation savings don’t have to begin and end with the summer. You can save on family activities all year round. There are wallet-friendly alternatives to family entertainment. Local businesses and community programs offer an opportunity to have just as much fun at a fraction of the cost. Some are even free.

There are a variety of activities you and your family can participate in that are both indoors and outdoors. Here are just a few ideas on how you can make the most out of your entertainment budget.

The Run Down

  • If the movies are too expensive, consider a drive-in theater.
  • Many traditional “indoor” theaters offer discount programs.
  • Look to your neighborhood park for a schedule of events that are low to no cost to you.
  • Petting zoos and museums are also affordable alternatives for entertainment.
  • Local colleges also offer plays, dance recitals, concerts, and more. These are typically at a cost that’s much lower than one would find for a touring production.

Indoor Activities

Do you remember going to the drive-in theater as a kid? When it comes to summer and holiday blockbusters, the cost of seeing those new releases can quickly mount depending on the number of kids in your family multiplied against the cost of snacks and beverages. One alternative is to go to a drive-in showing. Admission to a drive-in is usually less than a regular theater. Bringing your own drinks and snacks can also help you save. Movies being shown may vary by location but most drive-ins will still have the same new releases as regular movie theaters. There are websites dedicated to listing active drive-ins around the country. One might be closer to you than you think (and technically, since the seats are in your automobile, this is an indoors activity).

If you want the traditional movie theater experience look into what discounts may be available such as matinee pricing, senior-citizen discounts, and discounts for students.

Outdoor Events

If your kids are into music and want to attend a concert you might find that the latest boyband at the largest local venue can leave a void in your pocket, especially after the cost of merchandise. Look into any free concerts in your area particularly at local parks, your town square, or during local festivals. Your kids may gain an appreciation for unsigned talent and who knows, you might be able to catch the next big star for free.

Nature is probably your most affordable resource when it comes to family outings. Camping is a wonderful activity for families, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re looking to spend a bit more you can borrow a camper and rent space at a campground; you could also just pitch a tent in the backyard. Don’t forget to bring your own food to get the full experience.

Another idea is to head to a local or state park for the day. Some parks may have playground equipment which can keep the kids entertained. Another option is to find a hiking trail in your area as another exploratory activity. A park is also a great place for a barbecue!

Here are some more inexpensive family activities to consider:

  • Miniature golf. Engage in some friendly competition and head to the links. You can also see if your local miniature golf course offers any discounts that could bring the cost of this fun activity down. Not sure where to find your local miniature golf facility? There’s a website dedicated to that.
  • A petting zoo. Although they may not have as many as animals as a typical zoo your children will have a better chance to interact and feed the animals one-on-one.
  • Visit a museum. Consider searching the museums in your area to find out how much admission is, any special they may have, and the cost of a yearly pass if you feel this is an activity you’d like to do more than once.
  • Boating. Renting a boat might be an option if you live near the ocean or a lake. Canoes, paddle boats, and paddle board rentals are other great inexpensive water activities.
  • Check out your local college. Colleges and universities often put on plays, concerts, and movie showings which can be inexpensive and sometimes free. Just choose the event wisely as some events, such as a sports game, might not be a good place for children.

The Takeaway

Don’t let budgeting keep you from having fun with your family; find econoical activities that you can all enjoy! AmOne is America’s one source for all things money. We have blog articles focused on the small ways that you can save every day, and our experienced representatives can help you to identify ways to save in the bigger picture. Whether it’s for a family vacation, your children’s college educations, or retirement, our knowledgeable associates are ready answer your questions on financial planning, money management, budgeting, and more. AmOne offers solutions; your call to us is free and we won’t try to sell you anything. Find out how to reach us and learn more about how AmOne can help you today.