Have the high admission prices at Orlando’s theme parks got you down? The good news is you can enjoy freebies and wallet-friendly family activities in Orlando’s North Seminole County — only about 45 minutes away — where the fun, and even the hotels, are less expensive.
If “free” is your favorite price, follow the staff of the Seminole State Planetarium, who put on a road show at local parks and venues around Central Florida during Telescope Thursdays. Everyone is welcome to take a turn looking at the night sky, and the fun usually lasts 7–10 p.m.
The planetarium also hosts Star Parties at various times during the year, where visitors and locals can come to enjoy dome shows, speaker presentations and telescope observations. Check out the Planetarium’s Facebook page for upcoming events.
Got cyclists in the family? Rent a bike or bring your own to the monthly Critical Mass! Sanford Edition! Event, which takes place on the last Friday of the month. Or, bike the Seminole Wekiva Trail, a 14-mile paved trail that features amenities along the way. You can also hike the trail, which wends through several charming neighborhoods.
Music lovers of all ages can enjoy tunes at the Rhythms at the Roost free live concert events all summer at Crane’s Roost Park. The park also puts on free Sunset Cinema outdoor movies on select Saturdays. Join in the fun at the Alive After 5 Street Party in historic downtown Sanford, the second Thursday of every month except for July and August.
Also in downtown Sanford, Art Walks are held on the third Saturday of every month, designed to show off the many galleries in the area. Kids can join in by hunting for so-called Sanford rocks, painted rocks hidden here and there in the district.
If your visit coincides with the first Wednesday of each month, enjoy live music, art shows, food trucks and a beer and wine garden during WineArt Wednesdays in Lake Mary, where everything but the food and drink are free.
Lake Concord Park puts on a monthly Casselberry Art and Music in the Park, where live music, artisanal crafts and food trucks create a party atmosphere on the second Friday of each month 6–9 p.m.
Finally, watch youth, collegiate and non-professional teams playing baseball, soccer and tennis at the 102-acre Boombah Sports Complex www.PlayOrlandoNorth.com at Seminole County in Sanford, where there is even a playground for little ones who need to let off steam.
For more on almost-free and affordable events and attractions, check out www.DoOrlandoNorth.com.
California's Central Coast is an ideal destination for couples looking for a romantic weekend away. The coastal town of San Luis Obispo, SLO for short, lets you enjoy the beautiful California climate without the fast pace of a big city like Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Thanksgiving is the one annual long weekend when most families want to — and can — make time to spend together. “At home” may be your most typical choice, but it’s not the only option. There are lots of appealing places for your family to gather. Here are just a few to prompt your search for others, whether near or far from home.
By Hainan Airlines
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of an era in Eastern Europe reinforced in part by propaganda. Your teens, however, are learning propaganda is one of the common threads running through world history and is still making headlines in its many different forms. They are also probably getting to know the oft repeated maxim that if, “You don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.”