summer discounts

The MilFam Cheat Sheet of Summer Discounts

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by Bianca Strzalkowski

The time of year has come to shut off those alarm clocks, step away from the homework, and plan out that bucket list. The summer months offer military families a little R & R from the hustle and bustle of a busy school year. Whether you are looking at for new adventures on a road trip, want to stay local, or plan to incorporate fun into a PCS adventure, you can stretch your dollar a little further by bringing along that military identification card.

From theme parks to hotels, cultural activities to sporting events, military members, spouses and dependent children have access to summertime fun for a cost less than our civilian friends. Still, you have to put in the time to do a little research so that you know where the deals are. In fact, you can plan an entire getaway or day trip based off the companies wanting to charge you a little less. In some cases, you may even find some freebies. AmeriForce Media put together some starting points of attractions around the country.

Before diving in, remember two rules of thumb:

1) Always ask if a place off ers a military discount because some businesses may not advertise it, and

2) Never leave home without your military ID card (which you never do anyway, right?)

PLAY TIME

Waves of Honor:

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Free for military members and up to three dependents, but these offers are not available at the park. You must register online at https:// wavesofhonor.com. Locations include: Busch Gardens (Tampa, FL; Willamsburg, VA) Sesame Place (Langhorne, PA) Sea World (Orlando, FL; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA)

Disney:

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Promotional tickets offered for 4- or 5-day passes. https://disneyworld. disney.go.com/special-off ers/militaryticket-rates/ Shades of Green: Recreation center in Central Florida with discounted accommodations specific for military: http://www.shadesofgreen.org.

LegoLand:

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Florida location offers free tickets to military at the gate and discounted prices https://www.legoland.com/florida/buy-tickets/military, and The California location offers discounted prices online at https:// legolandcalifornia.sheerid.com.

Hershey Park (PA):

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Discounted access by using the coupon at http://www.hersheypark. com/assets/pdf/tickets/Military_ discount2016.pdf.

CULTURAL EVENTS

Blue Star Museums:

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Through a partnership between Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), over 2,000 museums around the country participate in this program that allows free admission for military families. It runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and you can find the list of participants online: https:// bluestarfam.org/resources/family-life/ blue-star-museums.

GET OUTDOORS

National Parks:

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A free annual pass is offered to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm.

SPORTING EVENTS AND MORE

Vet Tix:

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If you have not yet created an account with this website, what are you waiting for? Vet Tix gives free tickets to military and their families to sporting events, concerts, performing arts, and activities around the country. http://www. vettix.org.

MISCELLANEOUS

Armed Forces Vacation Club:

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https:// www.afvclub.com/mwr. There are thousands of hotels, restaurants, zoos, and aquariums that offer discounts and free access days – you just have to ask ahead of time. An entire vacation can be planned with visits to places that have decreased prices for the military demographics. Plus, any of the above can make for fun summer learning for the kids.

If you’re looking to do something not mentioned on this list, there is actually an installation office dedicated to housing all of the worthwhile discounts to attractions near your duty station. The name may vary by branch, but Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) or Information, Tickets and Travel (ITT) are common references.