Summer is a time to relax, slow down, spend time with friends and family around the grill. Make sand castles at the beach, play at the aquatic center and eat ice cream on hot summer nights. How can a family have fun and save money? We wanted to share some of our favorite summertime, penny-pinching entertainment.
Our kids love going to the aquatic center in Albert Lea. Our pool in town is huge, or at least for my small town, it’s enormous. It has a water slide (my big kid’s love it), two climbing walls, a diving board and plenty of room for swimmers. Timothy loves the kiddy pool with the waterfall mushroom, buckets of water that tip over, and just the right depth for him to explore and feel like a big kid. There is a concession stand, but if you are like us and swimming is the treat then you can bring in snacks and beverages to enjoy during the fifteen-minute lifeguard breaks.
$1.99 Kid’s Meal at Wendy’s after 4 pm
We discovered this one a couple of years ago after one of our girls dance lessons. They were hungry and tired. I had forgotten to pack snacks, so we splurged and went to Wendy’s which was right across the street. To my surprise and delight, their kid’s meals were only $1.99. We use this cheap meal to go on dates with our kids, leisurely picnics to Myre-Big Island, the Splash Pad downtown or one of our fabulous, beautiful parks in town.
Free Kid events at the Albert Lea Public Library
Did you know the Rad Zoo and the MNzoo come and bring live animals and teach the kids all about different animals? There is also lego day, science day, and reading programs throughout the whole summer. Want to get in on the free and cool action? Check out their Facebook Page or stop in and talk to the friendly children’s library staff. They are super helpful and love kids.
This one requires a bit of a day trip, which is why we love it so much. Oxbow Park is amazing! You can dig for dinosaur bones, play musical instruments, see which bird you would be, and so many other excellent hands-on experiences. Plus, they have a free zoo where you can see skunks, bears, lions, and even buffalo. Super awesome. A trip to Oxbow Park is another fantastic time to bring along snacks and a picnic lunch/supper.
This one is near and dear to my heart. I grew up hiking, biking, fishing, camping or at least driving through Myre-Big Island several times a week. Yup, several times a week. Now as an adult I get to do it with my kiddos. A day pass is $5, and an annual pass is $35. You can enjoy nature, go for hikes, rent a kayak, canoe or paddle board, go geocaching and so many other fun adventures. Once again, this is an excellent time to bring your snacks and pack a lunch.
The Albert Lea Splash Pad has free admission with lots of fun for kids and adults and is a beautiful gem in Albert Lea. Especially on days when I don’t want to deal with sand from the beach, or we are short on time. Time at the splash pad is the perfect get out of the house for a bit, let the kids cool off, and I get a few minutes to sit and breath. It is open from 10 am to 8 pm.
Last summer our family enjoyed a cruise on Albert Lea Lake. We had fun learning about the history of the lake. The boat crew was kind and courteous and patient with our kids. We have not gone on a pizza cruise yet, but it is on our summer bucket list. Who’s going to join us? This one is a little more spendy, and we would do this as a unique, fun event. It is $10 a person.
What is your favorite summer frugal fun? Share with me your favs, and I’ll get another blog post written so we can all enjoy summer a little bit better.