Staycation 411

With Spring Break just around the corner and summer looming, we find ourselves looking for something to do to entertain the kids, ourselves, and whomever else happens to drop by for a stay. Now, in a perfect world, we would all be able to pack up and head to the staycation1beach or some magical vacation destination every time there was a chance. But that is just not the case. And that is how the all inclusive term “Staycation” was started.

In my experience, a Staycation can be a wonderful, much needed break from the every day hustle and bustle of life. BUT, if you are not careful or even meticulous, a Staycation can end up costing you close to the amount you would have spent on an actual vacation. Have you taken your family to the Georgia Aquarium yet? I’ve bought a week of groceries for less. Even a simple movie outing can cost as much as filling your gas tank. That said, you do have to get out. Here is a list of the usual spots you may hit, but with the days and times that they offer discounts, as well as a few freebies.

staycation3If you are off for the week and do want to tackle the Georgia Aquarium, CNN, World of Coke, Fernbank or Zoo Atlanta, you really should buy the Atlanta City Pass. You will save almost half off the cost. Even if you just do three of the destinations, you will break even.

Here’s a free one! NCAA Big Dance Concert in Centennial Olympic Park as part of the Final Four festivities. Zac Brown Band, Dave Matthews Band, Macklemore, Ludacris and others to perform. April 5-7

Georgia Renaissance Festival has a buy one, get one free weekend on April 13-14.

High Museum of Art has half price admission on Thursdays after 4 PM, as well as free admission to Fulton County residents on the first Saturday of the month.

Imagine It! Children’s Museum is free on the second Tuesday of the month after 1 PM.

LegoLand has half price tickets after 4 PM

Picture Show at Merchants Walk, a discount movie theater, is only $1.75 per movie!staycation2

Aurora Cineplex offers $2 off tickets on Tuesday, as well as “Binkie Movies” at 10 AM on Friday mornings for new moms and babies for just $5.50.

Home Depot locations offer free children’s clinics on Saturdays.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the hiking trails are free everyday.

Zoo Atlanta Family Pass is a free program partnering with local public libraries.

The Federal Reserve Bank has free tours. Sound boring? You get to hold a real bar of gold and get a bag of shredded money as a souvenir. If your kids are still looking for something to do when they get home, have them try to piece it back together.

If you have already done the majority of these things — as many OTP’ers have — you may have to get creative. Here are a few simple ideas that you can do with your children to break up a monotonous Staycation.

Food can be fun, so why not take an afternoon driving to all the new frozen yogurt places popping up and determine a “winner” as to which store had the best fro-yo?

Or take a group of people to the Big Pie in the Sky and order the Carnivore Challenge and let them try to eat it (they won’t be able to, but they’ll have fun talking about it).

Who has the best donuts in town? Get a few from your area bakeries and have a taste test.

I know some of these seem a little desperate, but when you are in the dog days of summer with children who are “bored,” you come up with anything.

Got any other ideas? We’d love to hear them! Send your Staycation ideas and tips to