5 Fun Family Outings for Free in Your Community

Raising children is undeniably expensive. The worst bit about this is that, after paying the bills, there is hardly enough money left for taking part in some family fun. Nevertheless, there are numerous awesome, yet free community resources out there, which you can take advantage of with your children or family. From free puppet shows to local festivals, all can entertain you at little or no cost.

Since locating such events can be challenging unless you know where to search, you may want to start by checking various places like the library, city hall, and local newspaper to see whether you can spot some free community resources that you and your family can enjoy. Here are some five options to get you started on your journey to fun family outings as follows:

  1. The Local Library

City libraries or even your nearby local community college library can be a source of fun for you and your kids. In fact, you could enjoy various activities including story time, puppet shows and many others.   Most libraries often boast kids’ areas and offer information and flyers relating to more fun events around that area.

Quick tip: Ensure that all kids have a library card. The best way to make kids feel excited about reading is to make them feel all grown up about it. In this case, you can allow them to pick out their own books and check them out once they are done without your help. Doing so plays a role in teaching them how to be responsible people.

  1. Community Recycling

If you want your kids to get involved in your local community and teach them about caring for the environment, the ideal way you to do so is by taking them to the local recycling center. It will give you a good feeling when you see them sorting and organizing various things. Aside from cleaning and recycling, most recycling centers offer exciting information and advice, particularly to kids, to ensure that the entire process is not only educative but also enjoyable for them.

  1. Free Concerts

If you live in a city in the United States, you are lucky since most of the nation’s big cities offer numerous venues with free concerts where you and your beloved family can hang out instead of staying bored at home. Houston, for instance, has several outdoor venues where you can go to listen and watch the Houston Symphony or even cover bands playing pop music. Since such events are often held regularly around the city, it would be wise to keep yourself informed about such gatherings by checking out your city news website in a bid to spot listings.

  1. Free Parades and Festivals

Festivals and parades mostly keep a town lively and are mostly held at the town center. In case you want to find out whether such events take place in your local area or town, you can begin by looking for listings from your local community newspaper. You can find this useful information tool on your community’s Facebook page or even your mailbox

The beauty of attending parades or festivals is that most of them are not only free to attend but also boast awesome live music. What ’s more, these events can mainly last a single day to an entire weekend, which makes them an ideal weekend plan for fun bonding with your family. Aside from being affordable and close to your home, they offer a wide array of games, drinks, and drinks, not forgetting a wonderful opportunity to interact with other community members.

  1. Local Parks

More often than not, your mind and body may be so confined to your home and work that you tend to forget the beauty that surrounds you including the amazing parks. However, just by walking or moving around your neighborhood, you can spot several spots such as neighborhood parks, hiking trails and many other resources that make up potential outdoor venues for having fun with your loved ones. 

Parks can serve as memorable destinations for you, as you can play there with your kids, hold a picnic with your spouse or even just sit there and relax after a long day at work. They serve as wonderful relaxation zones. To spot such locations near you, all you have to do is either check the maps and guides in your local library or even search online.

Instead of waiting till you get time and money to take your kids out for expensive outings, for instance, at huge water parks, you can opt for the above cheap or free and fun options. Simply check out several places such as the library and city hall for various events and resources in your local town.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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How Gaming Is Even Bigger Than Ever

As we all know by now, gaming is only growing and expanding as time goes on, from the diversity it brings, to the skill, technique, and overall experience. This is all down to how advanced technology has become. If you go back twenty or thirty years, the only kind of gaming tech was pixelated and jumpy, but back then it was amazingly advanced and people were able to find their own escape after a busy day at work or school. And now you look at what we have today, like features that are so detailed that we feel as though we’re really in the game. The actions are smooth, you have the option of playing in the first person, and with special headsets, you’re given a virtual reality that blends the barrier between what’s really there and what isn’t. – And having said all of that, it is still improving, and will continue to do so forever until one day we’re able to play while on a hoverboard that zooms around the room! (Or something like that!)

One popular game called Minecraft has a slogan that touches a lot of people because there is so much truth behind it. “The only limit is your imagination.”

Here’s why.   

The systems

As mentioned earlier, the systems that are being used and created are only getting better. There is now the option of interactive gaming systems that are in homes like casinos, and these essentially upgrade the player’s experience because it’s breaking the boundaries of the traditional style, and instead building a new foundation of what it really means to play.

The society

A lot of people often bad mouth gaming as being antisocial because they assume that gamers are locked indoors all day every day, addicted to their game – this is mere ignorance and isn’t the case at all. If anything, they’re even more social because they’re engaging with their friends from all around the world while working together or competing each other through a world of fun. They’re sharing time laughing, strategising, and experiencing the true definition of teamwork.

The skill

In order to advance in most games, you will need to train yourself up with a lot of practice so that you know exactly how to win, or get to the next level. There is so much technique to gaming that is picked up, from hand-eye coordination to problem-solving, and forward thinking. You also need to have a lot of patience too as you won’t become a pro straight away. From this, the talent that is out there in the world now is beyond huge.

The stardom

People are so keen on watching someone excel in something, along with riding through their ups and downs, and seeing how they are able to pick themselves back up again. There are gamers out there that have become internet sensations because they share their secrets to the world as people watch them do what they do best. Not only is it fun and even comical, but indulging and a learning experience too.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Enjoy a Ride on the River with The Gateway Arch Riverboats Sunday Brunch!

St. Louis is known for it’s melting pot culture and variety of things to do in the lou. However, in all of my years here in this awesome town, I have never ridden the Riverboats down by the Gateway Arch. That is until a few weekends ago. The chance to ride the riverboats with my family came across my email with the added bonus of brunch! In our house there is nothing better than eating breakfast for lunch, except maybe breakfast for dinner, but I think that’s an entirely different post.

So the opportunity came about for my family and I to take a ride on the Riverboats at The Gateway Arch and enjoy a delicious Sunday Brunch. We were extra excited because the day of this event was also our baby girls birthday! So we got the chance to take her on an unique experience riding the Mississippi river near downtown St. Louis! How cool is that?

I don’t want to go into all of the details of our visit but I will offer up a few tidbits of information that will help your Riverboat experience go smooth sailing (fyi, it’s not a sailboat lol).

For starters, plan ahead, figure out your route and where you will park. Be sure you have plenty of time to make it to the boat. It will leave without you. We parked in a parking garage by Laclede’s landing, however there is parking a lot closer as well on the cobblestone road right next to the river. So be sure to plan accordingly.

If you have plenty of extra time, check out the new Gateway Arch Museum. It is worth a visit. There is a lot of St. Louis history packed into that space that is full of interaction and information!

There is a photo service provided by the Riverboat crew that you can purchase a print of when you arrive back to the dock. The crew will get your photo when you board and the prints are ready when you get back. Pretty cool memento!

Since this was a brunch we made sure we checked out the menu posted on GatewayArch.com before our arrival. This way we knew what we wanted and could prepare if the kiddos weren’t having any of it. They enjoyed the french toast and ham and other goodies that were available in the buffet. A good tip to know is that water, tea, and a few select juices are included in your meal, soda and other alcoholic beverages are an additional cost. So be sure to bring cash or your card if you are wanting any of those amenities.

After eating you can check out the dixie music playing, or head out on top of the boat to scope out the beautiful St. Louis scenery. Yeah, there is some graffiti on the big wall, but if you’re an artist like me you can appreciate some of the work that went into those pieces.

A nice ride down the mighty Mississippi is quite calming and relaxing and the Riverboats really do help provide that comfort you may need to beat the heat downtown. A nice meal, beautiful sites, and some nice A/C is sometimes all you need to make your day amazing!

Curious to learn about some other experiences? Check out STLMotherhood’s post about her visit on the Riverboats as well! St. Louis Dad and family even make a cameo in one of her photos! See if you can spot us! So be sure to reserve your tickets online! Tickets are $45 for adults, $18 for kids 3-12 and free for children under 2.

The boats are docked at the foot of the Gateway Arch. Stop by the ticket office to pick up your tickets by 12:30 — the boat will leave without you at 1pm!

St. Louis Dad was provided complimentary tickets to a Sunday Brunch on the Gateway Arch Riverboats in exchange for this blog post.

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The Darkness – A St. Louis Landmark with 25 Years of Fear

Starting back in fourth grade his fascination with haunted houses had Larry Kirchner spending his days mapping out mazes out of blankets and filling pickle jars with his G.I. Joe’s in his basement to create the perfect haunt. For years Larry has spent working countless days towards that perfect haunt and for the last 25 years he has brought the best to St. Louis with The Darkness.

Much like some of the staples found in St. Louis, you will be hard pressed to find someone that hasn’t heard of The Darkness or Creepy World. Both offer some of the best scares during the Halloween season. But did you know that they work year round to bring those freights to us fans! This year is the 25th year of The Darkness, the longest-running haunted house in St. Louis. Rated as America’s best haunted house, The Darkness is opening September 21st for all to see.

New renovations to The Darkness make it longer and more terrifying! There is an all-new Zombie Laser Tag, as well as The Hive live zombie experience. The renovations also include new interactive elements as well as a horrifying Jigsaw Horror Escape Room in the Monster Museum!

You don’t have to risk your life for an adrenaline rush at a haunted house. – Larry Kirchner

My wife and myself were invited to check out the new renovations at The Darkness and see what Larry had in store for St. Louis during the 25th Year of Fear. What we had envisioned for our tour was not what we expected. We got to see the shop where all of these amazing creatures and animatronics are made year round as well as for clients all over the world! Getting this behind the scenes look was a sight to see and really showcased the amount of work that is put into a production like The Darkness.

After a brief tour we were invited to go through both haunts! Not only has my wife never been through a haunted house, we have never gone with basically just us two! There were twists, turns, freights, clowns, zombies, creatures, and more! Each haunted house features 15-20 actors ready to terrify you into needing a change of shorts. Rooms with scenes that depict the syfi, morbid, sacrificial, insane and more! The viral IT animatronic is here too, and poor Georgie just doesn’t stand a chance either.

The Darkness will be open for the 2018 haunt season on September 21-22 and 28-29 from 7:30PM to 11PM; October 5-7, and then every Thursday through Sunday night starting October 11th! Beginning October 19th, the attractions will be open nightly through Halloween! The Darkness will keep the fear going November 2, 3, and 10 from 7PM to 11PM. November 10 is Black Out Night where guests can go through the haunt with just a glow stick for light. Check out TheDarkness.com for more information!

We want people who come to The Darkness to have the best haunted house experience. – Larry Kirchner

And have no worries, this year The Darkness now offers photo opportunities! Back in the day you used to not be able to bring in a camera, now there are spots where you can take selfies and post them to your favorite social media platforms!

Be sure to follow St. Louis Dad on Instagram this week to see more behind the scenes and sneak peek photos and video of the haunts you will be able to see this year! You can also check out the hashtag #thedarkness and #darknesshauntedhouse for more photos!

St. Louis Escape, located at the same locations as The Darkness has some of St. Louis’s best top themed escape rooms. Featuring four different escape rooms, including the Haunted Hotel, Cellar Escape, Subway Escape and the Mummy Escape. There are also VIP Party Rooms in the amazing themed lobby. Booking information for the escape rooms can be found at StLouisEscape.com

The Darkness and St. Louis Escape are both located in the Soulard neighborhood, just south of downtown St. Louis and next to the historic Soulard Market at 1525 South 8th Street, St. Louis MO 630104.

St. Louis Dad was provided a complimentary tour of The Darkness in exchange for this media promotion. Follow The Darkness on social media for more awesome details!

Twitter @Scarefest
Instagram @Scarefest
Scarefest on Facebook.com/stlouismissourihauntedhouses
The Darkness on Facebook.com/DarknessHauntedHouse
Creepyworld on Facebook.com/CreepyworldHauntedHouse
Lemp on Facebook.com/lemphauntedhouse

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