Don't break the bank this summer with your kids

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School is almost out and that means another three months of summer break will be upon us. But the price of fun can be painful for your pocketbook.

We did some research and found the “happiest place on earth” probably won’t make your bank account too happy. One ticket to get into Disney World for a day is $99. Riding the roller coasters at Six Flags near Chicago comes in at $65. And according to Kids Play USA, the cost of being a member of a youth sports league team can range from $50 dollars to up to a $1000 or more.

But keeping your kids occupied doesn’t have to break the bank. One place you can turn to is your local library. In Eau Claire, the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is offering free ‘Tickets to Adventure’.

“Local cultural organizations like the Theatre Guild or the Chippewa Valley Museum have donated tickets to different events and they're available at the public library for folks to come and get and it’s a onetime ticket to get in and see a show, get into the museum or go to the Beaver Creek Reserve,” said programming and communications services manager Isa Small.

Tickets for the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, Master Singers, the UW-Eau Claire Artist Series and the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp are also available.

Trina Hauge and her 16-month-old daughter traveled all the way from Loyal to the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire.

“Especially where I'm from, there's not a lot to do so you have to drive to do anything. So we actually just searched randomly on the website something fun to do today and we found this,” said Hauge.

While the price to get into the Children’s Museum was very affordable, Hauge said she’d take advantage of the free tickets next time with her daughter.

The kids’ summer programs at the library are also free. This summer’s new theme is the Library Laboratory.

“We are offering a school age drop-in science lab every Tuesday for five weeks and all the dates are in our flyer,” said Shelly Collins-Fuerbringer, the youth services manager. “So kids will have the opportunity to make a big mess and try different experiments.”

Free kids bus passes can also be found in the Summer Programs pamphlet. Bus rides are offered to and from the library on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (see link)

The Eau Claire Parks, Recreation & Forestry Dept. is also keeping costs down for kids and families.

We have a youth scholarship program where participants pay 25 percent of the program cost. We have discount attraction tickets to places in the Dells and Valley Fair,” said superintendent of recreation Dawn Comte. She said the discount tickets are typically about $5 to $10 off the gate price.

“We also offer summer school programs in partnership with the Eau Claire Area School District and those programs are about 75 percent off of savings,” said Comte.

Of course, the parks and trails are also free for families to use. Comte said the July 4th celebration and other events are also listed in the department’s pamphlet Prime Times. (see link)


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