It’s summer, it’s hot, and the kids are bored, but you can’t stand the thought of shelling out $20 a person to see monkeys pick bugs off each other at the zoo…again. So, what do you do?
Here are a few ideas for low-cost or free entertainment to get your imagination (rather than your wallet) going:
Outdoor (and outdoorish) activities
The beauty of living in New Mexico is that there is an abundance of natural wonders to explore. It isn’t called the Land of Enchantment for nothin’. The best mountains, hiking trails, campgrounds, and open historical sites are right outside our doors (or close enough). A day hike is a great way to spend time with the family, get some exercise, see breathtaking views, and, of course, not spend a dime. Aaah, the smell of fresh air—smells a lot like $FREE.
But, if you don’t feel like leaving your backyard, there are plenty of activities and projects you can do to entertain the kiddos. For instance, did you know there are like, a million things you can do with a tarp? You can make an outdoor waterbed or a throwing tarp that will keep your kids entertained for hours. (The outdoor waterbed seriously makes me wish I was five-years-old again).
If you’re a little more indoorsy, try a $1 movie night. Albuquerque has a dollar theater on San Mateo, and I can tell you from experience (I spent many a night there as a poor college student), it’s a great deal. I was able to see most of the movies I missed when they were in the big theaters and the $1 ticket eased the pain of a $5 soda.
Find local deals and coupons
The city of Albuquerque lists several free or affordable activities on its website, and they range from arts and culture to wine tastings (in case you want a little more “mommy” and a little less “me” time). If you’re outside the Albuquerque area, look up your town or city’s government page for local listings and offers. Also, a lot of museums, theme parks, etc. give discounted admission on low-traffic days, so be sure to call and inquire about any deals they may be offering.
Potlucks are a great way to get friends and family together without racking up a huge dinner bill. Everyone brings one dish (or supply, like cups, for the culinarily-challenged *points to self*), and all eat like kings. Bonus: no one gets stuck doing all the dishes.
What are some of your favorite ways to relax without spending a lot of money? Tell me in the comments section below.