As the long anticipated summer season rapidly approaches, parents in the Triangle are taking to the internet in search of some inexpensive ways to keep the kiddos entertained this summer. To help make your jobs easier, we've put together a list of some of the best budget-friendly attractions around town! These 10 places in and around the Triangle offer families an affordable opportunity to spend some quality time together without breaking the bank.
1. Carmike Cinemas Blue Ridge 14
I'm such a fan of the cheap movie theaters. While some may turn up their noses, I revel in the fact that I'm able to find such a budget-friendly alternative to the vastly overpriced "regular" theaters. You and your family can catch a flick here for $2.25 per ticket. With all the money you save from your tickets, you can actually purchase snacks without feeling too guilty.
2. Henderson Drive-In
The Henderson Drive-In is something of a landmark around here. While there not quite as close as I would like, in the long run, it's a fun experience that all families should try every once and a while. Bonus: what you spend in gas, you will most definitely save in theater tickets.
3. Pullen Park
Since arriving in Raleigh, we've had the pleasure of checking out the park scene. Of all the parks we've visited so far, Pullen Park is definitely the cream of the crop. In addition to walking trails, Pullen Park offers a number of outdoor activities for children, including: train rides, boat rides, and a carousel. Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary deserves an honorable mention. They have a 4.5 miles of walking trails, a decent sized lake and boat rentals. You can rent everything from paddle to row boats. Bonus: it's within walking distance to plenty of restaurants
4. Marbles Kids Museum
I heard about Mables Kids Museum (MKM) long before moving to Raleigh was even a possibly. Most people who go rave about the experience, and the kids always want to go back. The best thing about the MKM (besides the fact that it's a great learning resource for kids of ALL ages) is that it's inexpensive. Admission is $5 per person. Kids under the age of 1 and members are free. Curious about the cost of membership? Let me save you the trouble. The family basic membership will cost you $100 a year. For your entire family. And you get all these added perks: Free general museum admission for one year. Special discounted pricing for all IMAX documentaries with no online ticketing fees. Invitations to members-only events and exhibit openings. Special discounts in Marbles Corner Store, in Pogo Cafe, on birthday parties and for enrichment programs like camps, classes and more. Early registration for our award-winning summer camps. Advance ticket sales for popular events Advance seating for IMAX movies I'd say that's well worth the cost!
5. Adventure Landing
We discovered this little gem in Charlotte, and were beyond excited to see that they have a location here in Raleigh. Although it's certainly no Disney World, it's a great place to spend those hot summer days without breaking the bank. Although activities vary based on location, in addition to 50+arcade games, the Raleigh Adventure Landing has: Miniature Golf Laser Tag Go-Karts Batting Cages Prices vary, but most activities will cost you $8. Plus they offer military and senior citizen discount. Bonus.They currently have a web coupon for 70 arcade tokens for $10. Sweet.
6. Frankie's Fun Park
Honestly, if you ask me, Frankie's is actually the better deal. Not only do they offer more attractions, but it appears the facility is kept in better shape. (Sorry Adventure Landing). Frankie's has: Various go-kart courses Batting cages A fun house Bumper boats A sky web A sky trail Miniature golf Lazer tag Tons of arcade games and even a few rides. They also have two dining areas, and the prices are basically the same, if not cheaper, than Adventure Landing.
7. Movies by Moonlight
Don't feel like making the drive to Henderson for the drive-in? Here's a solution. Movie by Moonlight is outdoor movies series hosted by WakeMed that takes place throughout the summer. Tickets are only $3 per adult. Kids ages 12 and under get in free. That's a pretty sweet deal! Even better still, some of the proceeds go to WakeMed Children's Hospital. That is definitely a win-win.
8. Oak City 7 Outdoor Concert Series
Concerts take place from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Thursdays, beginning the Thursday after Memorial Day and ending the Thursday before Labor Day. This is an awesome way to get in some great music, taste some great food and spend time together as a family. Oh and did I mention it's free?
9. Raleigh Aquatic Centers
Though I'm typically not a fan of aquatic centers, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this budget-friendly activity. The aquatic centers here in Raleigh actually aren't quite that bad. There inexpensive, well-kept and they have plenty of activities for children.
10. First Friday Gallery Walk
The first time I heard of an art/gallery walk, I was living in the tiny town of Fayettville, NC. Mr. A and I had just started dating, and frequently went downtown to enjoy the sights and sounds of our small little town. Flash-forward four years later and gallery walks are still something we like to do. For one night, the whole city comes out to celebrate the rich arts and culture scene. This can be a great place to bring your family to unwind and kick off the weekend.
So, are there any places I neglected to mention? What are some of your favorite places to hang out in the RDU area?