By Kylie Keeler
Places to Vacation With Children for Less or Free
The best family vacation getaways don’t always have to break the bank. Try these travel ideas to entertain your kids and save some cash.
By Kylie Keeler
With expensive theme parks and consumer-driven mall excursions competing for your child’s attention — and eventually your wallet — it may seem like there’s few choices out there for vacations with the kids. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for vacation destinations that involved loads of fun without breaking the bank.Grant’s Farm – St. Louis, MissouriHome to more than 1,000 animals, Grant’s Farm is an animal sanctuary operated by Anheuser-Busch. This unique zoo, located on the ancestral home of the Busch family and named in honor of former president Ulysses S. Grant, is free to the public and features animals from six different continents, including the world famous Clydesdale horses. The farm holds daily elephant education classes as well as one-on-one encounters with a variety of exotic animals.
10501 Gravois Rd.
St. Louis, Missouri 63123
http://www.grantsfarm.com/Downtown Disney – Lake Buena Vista, FloridaWhile a trip to Walt Disney World will put quite a dent in your pocketbook, there are some free activities and attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort. One such location, Downtown Disney, is an outdoor shopping and activity center that requires no admission. Complete with an outdoor Lego playground, daily entertainment and numerous eateries, this is one Disney location that won’t strip you of your hard-earned cash as soon as you walk through the entrance.
1494 E Buena Vista Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Montana, IdahoHome of Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, which spreads across three states, has been a family destination for more than 100 years. Yellowstone is home to a number of wild animals including bears, coyotes, bison and deer. From the safety of your car, your family can travel back in time to an America before the progress of metropolitan cities and industries. Specifically for children ages 5-12, Yellowstone features a Junior Ranger program which, for a $3 fee, allows children to complete a special program that will designate them as a Junior Ranger complete with emblem patch.
Yellowstone National Park (Information Office)
PO Box 168
Mammoth, Wyoming 82190
http://www.nps.gov/yell/Santa Monica Pier – Santa Monica, CaliforniaThis popular family destination mixes free with some beachside fun. Santa Monica Pier offers free musical entertainment and performances throughout the year along with the pier’s iconic view of the sandy beaches of Santa Monica. Though you can enjoy walking along the pier and the beauty of the beach for free, the pier’s amusement park, Pacific Park, allows guests to enter free and pay for individual rides from $3-5 per ride.
Santa Monica Pier
200 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, California 90401
http://www.santamonicapier.orgGrand Canyon National Park – Williams, ArizonaThe Grand Canyon has become an iconic part of the American family vacation. Not only is it free, it is a memorable experience that your children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Admission to the national park is free as well as free bus shuttle service along the Canyon’s historic Hermit Rest Route. This free service allows families to view some of the most breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon.Home of Superman – Metropolis, IllinoisThis small town in Illinois is dedicated to all things Man of Steel. For those children who love superheroes, and Superman specifically, they will delight in seeing the larger than life Superman statue that stands before local county courthouse. The town also features a Superman-themed museum and shop and has an annual Superman festival, Superman Celebration, which takes place the second week of June.Redwood National Forest – Humboldt County, CaliforniaWhat better way to get your kids interested in natural history than to take them for a visit to the home of the Ewoks. This national park, which served as a filming location for the Ewok portions of Return of the Jedi, will make children feel as if they are on the planet Endor. The park’s iconic “drive-thru tree” will delight younger children and makes a wonderful photo opportunity for the family.ResourcesreferenceGrant’s Farm Official SitereferenceDowntown DisneyreferenceYellowstone National ParkresourceYellowstone National Park Junior Ranger ProgramresourceSanta Monica Pier Official SiteresourcePacific Park Official Site
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