Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Summer is here and we are enjoying every minute of it! There are so many free and inexpensive stuff to do around here in the summer. It is wonderful! Some stuff isn't 'cheap' but if you buy a season pass to things and use it a lot, it actually does translate to pretty cheap. Here's some suggestions for stuff to do this summer.

1. Amusement Park Passes.  Definitely NOT cheap but if you go often, it is a great deal! My kids are all into roller coasters now (my one reluctant one finally decided they were fun) and they've been having a blast. Another fun thing is the variety. Not only Great America but also their water park, Boomerang Bay. It is not  a huge water area but my kids are loving it and a great way to cool off on a hot day. Though much lower key, Gilroy Gardens is pretty and seldom crowded so it is fun to go for a few hours on their favorite rides. All in all, we're quite happy we decided to purchase season passes this year.

2. Movie Theaters. Many, like Cinelux Almaden, have a special program for kids, be it a cheaper day during midweek, or even 'older' shows for only 1.50 and "jr. popcorn pack' for 2.50. I haven't yet taken advantaged of this yet but some of the shows I know my kids would love to see on a (semi) big screen again!  At the same theater, (almaden Cinelux) their movies are only about 5.50 or so, and even 4.50 on Tuesdays.  Check out your local cinemas for their unique specials for kids. There's also a Discount Day on Tuesdays at another local theatre. 6.50 admission.

3. Bowling. I think most bowling centers have a "Kids Bowl Free" program.  I know Cambrian Bowl does. Sign up for their program HERE. Typically you purchase the shoes and they get a free game. Per day, I believe. It is more fun when you go with their friends. Us moms typically let the kids play while we chat. It is air conditioned and fun way to let the kids expend some energy. Sign up!

4. Miniature Golf. Some mini golf places have a discounted day or night for families. The nearest to me is Golfland Emerald Hills and has Family Night on Mondays after 5, 4.99 a person for a round of mini golf. Plus, check out groupon or other sites for deals.

5. Minor League Baseball.  - San Jose Giants. What fun! I can usually get free tickets at various merchants, making this a pretty inexpensive outing, or allowing us to purchase food while there since we 'saved' money by not buying a ticket. The General Admission tickets are only 7-11 dollars so even if I have to pay it isn't so bad . My kids LOVE watching baseball in this quaint, throw-back venue . Last time my middle child even caught a baseball. Go early and the players will sign autographs. Tons of family-friendly fun.

6. Museums, cultural events, gardens.

7. Air Museum - Hiller Aviation Museum because airplanes are so much fun. Plus they have some special events this summer, such as Happy Birds, Raptor Wings and Starlab. Hmm... might be worth getting a family membership!

8. Parks!

9. Drive-In. A dying breed, the venerable old drive-in! Most have closed but lucky me, I have one nearby. These are so much fun to attend with friends - tailgate style. Just bring a chair, blanket, and some type of radio and tons of friends and food and you're set! I've heard it is technically a 'double feature' but I've never been able to stay awake for both movies, especially since (in summer) they seem to begin at 8:55. Tuesday night is family night and each person is $5, with kids under 11 only $1.  You can also sign up for the coupons and newsletters to be in the know of upcoming promotions and events.

10. Krispy Kreme - Oh yes, I know it is a donut shop but my kids are loving this one! First because they love donuts and hardly ever get to eat them, and second because they enjoy watching the donuts go through the little glaze waterfall on its little conveyer belt. The folks at Krispy Kreme know it too so the last (and first time) we went they freshly made the kids their donuts so they could watch. (even though they had plenty in their display cases). One of my kids tried a fancy cake batter one but decided that the original glazed, freshly made, warm and gooey, was the hands down winner. At only 1.29 each donut, it is a fun and inexpensive little treat. If you sign up for their email club they will send you information about promotions and even a free donut.

11. The Beach - My kids love the beach. Surfing, skim boarding, playing in the sand, boogie boarding - they love it all. Any beach. Any time. Fun. Fun. Fun!

12. Church VBS