Are rising gas prices taking a bite out of your 2018 vacation budget? Maybe you're rethinking that drive to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head.
Nedra McDaniel, the Northern Kentucky author of the Adventure Mom blog , says you can save a fortune staying close to home.
"Think anywhere locally you haven't been." she said. "I think its a great excuse to explore the city as a tourist."
So the Adventure Mom helped us find 9 great summer deals in the Cincinnati area (read her full report here).
#1. Discount Movies
For less than $10 a month (until the next price hike) they're like Netflix at your local movie theater.
#2. Free Movies
McDaniel says many movie theaters run free movie matinees for kids or have free showings of classic, old movies. She also says look for free movies at local parks and community centers.
"There are a lot of venues like Liberty Center in Butler County," she said, "that have free movies in their outside area."
The Esquire Theater has free movies for kids on Tuesday and Thursdays.
#3: Free Theater
McDaniel says many communities have free performances in their outdoor parts all summer, and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will take its performances of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Merry Wives of Windsor" to parks all over the region, with free outdoor showings.
#4: Free Concerts
Washington Park's free Friday concerts in Over-the-Rhine is just one example of the many outdoor concerts you can attend all over the Cincinnati area for free during the summer.
#5: Kings Island
McDaniel can't understand why anyone would pay the full Kings Island adult ticket price $64 at the gate.
She says you'll save up to $20 buying tickets at Kings Islands website (where they are $44), at Kroger stores or by just bringing a McDonalds large drink cup that has the Cedar Fair summer promotion printed on the side of it.
"It's available at participating McDonalds," she said. "Bring that cup to Kings Island and save $20 off your admission."
#6: Newport Aquarium
McDaniel's sixth deal is the Newport Aquarium in Northern Kentucky where one child gets in free weekdays after 4 p.m. (Note that they are no longer offering two free child tickets, as they did in some past years).
"If you come Sunday through Friday, you can go with one admission for an adult and you can get one child free," she said.
#7: Cincinnati Reds
The weekend of June 30th - July 2nd, the Reds have a 4 for $48 deal , which includes a free ball cap.
#8: Zoo, Coney, Museum discounts
You can find discount tickets on Cincinnati's on traditional favorites like Coney Island, the Taft Museum and Cincinnati Zoo. (Remember that the Cincinnati Art Museum has free admission.)
First, McDaniel says, check for discount tickets at their individual websites. The zoo, however, only has a $2 discount showing at this time.
#9: Biggest Ferris Wheel in the US
McDaniel's last great summer deal is the giant ferris wheel at Coney Island , the largest mobile ferris wheel in the entire country, according to Coney Marketing Director Sally Derrick.
The best part of all: it's so affordable.
"The ride is only $5 per person," Derrick said. "We price it that way so the whole family can enjoy it together. Its a value for the whole family."
But hurry! The ferris wheel is not permanent: it will be at Coney Island through the 8th of July, then it's gone.
So sure, you can travel to Orlando this summer and drop thousands of dollars.
But you and the kids can have a good time right here in the Cincinnati area.
And that way you don't waste your money.
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