Social media makes me sad this time of year. A lot of people are complaining about summer being over, but it isn’t over yet! Yes, the summer is winding down. Vacations will end and school will begin, but there is still a lot you can do to enjoy the time that’s left! Don’t worry if you’re broke from a busy summer. Many of the events are cheap or even free! You just have to try some unexpected places.
Start off by simply enjoying the great outdoors because the nice weather won’t last forever! The National Wildlife Refuge system has a website that you can browse for refuges near you and determine if they have any events. Even if there is nothing scheduled at the refuge, there are almost always trails to hike or wildlife observation areas that you can access for a peek at the local flora and fauna.National Parks are also beautiful places to visit. This weekend is the perfect time to check one out since many of the parks have Founders Day events planned for the public. Founders Day is the birthday of the National Park Service and it is observed on Sunday, August 25. There will be no entrance fee charged on Founders Day and this even includes amazing places such as Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon National Park! If you don’t live near these natural wonders you can still appreciate the beauty that is closer to your home than you think. Visit the National Park Service website to search for a park nearby. Keep this holiday in mind for next year and perhaps you can plan a family trip to another natural wonder since it’s the cheapest time to go. Next, you should take advantage of websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial for some affordable ideas. For those of you who aren’t familiar with these sites, they offer discounts on events, restaurants, vacations, and merchandise. Just be sure to follow the stipulations of the package deal (usually a minimum total purchase or limited dates). As long as you read the fine print you can find a lot of great deals! I just attended a Butterfly Festival to support the local Stony Brook Millstone-Watershed Association. This was a fantastic family event because there were plenty of activities for kids such as a hayride, games, and a butterfly house. However, there were also informative booths, belonging to fellow environmental allies, full of helpful information and the occasional freebie. I should also mention the great food because that’s always one of the best selling points. I have been to the event in previous years but this was the first year that it has ever been offered on Groupon. You never know what you’ll find!
Finally, visit your public library to help with rainy day activities. A story time or two are usually planned as well as other special events for families with young children. Also, did you know that many libraries have special membership agreements with local museums? As long as you have a library card you can reserve a free admission ticket! I recently learned about this program and I plan to take full advantage of it since there are so many great museums a short drive from my home. Don’t forget that libraries also offer eBooks, audio books, and movies to borrow. Don’t pay for Netflix or Amazon when you have a free resource in your hometown!
Hopefully these ideas will prevent you from pouting and help you enjoy the bit of summer you have left. There are always things going on near you but you just need to know where to look. You’ll certainly be able to give your summer a fun sendoff, so get off of those social media sites and get outside!