We all know that carving out time for family bonding is essential. Luckily, having fun doesn’t have to break the bank! So put down the remote and step away from the cell phone…if playing hard and saving big are both on your to-do list, these boredom busters are a guaranteed good time for everyone.
#1: Haunt a Real-Life Ghost Town
Scene a little “dead” in your neighborhood? Arizona, rich in mining history, is full of abandoned boom towns that went belly-up when the ore played out. With varying degrees of accessibility—some are just off the freeway while others require high clearance 4WD vehicles in Arizona’s back country—crumbling buildings and old cemeteries from Arizona’s past dot the landscape. Find one you like at ghosttowns.com, but take care: bring extra water, never approach a mine, and obey land access regulations.
Where? Varies; check ghosttowns.com for pictures, map coordinates & more
How much? Free!
#2: Get Crafty
Every second Monday, Chandler’s Gangplank collaborative workspace hosts CraftHack, an open house collective where you can bring your own arts and craft project, learn and teach others, and be inspired by your local arts community. From drawing to textile art, get insider tips not only on how to create, but how to best market your work.
Where? 260 S. Arizona
How much? Free!
#3: Have a “Capitol” Time
The copper-domed Arizona Capitol Museum is worth a trip for a back-in-time blast. It houses a piece of the USS Arizona, sunk during the Pearl Harbor invasion, the 1898 Rough Rider flag that Arizonans took to the field in the Spanish-American War, and the restored 1910 House Chamber. Bring your family to learn about voting, the journey from territory to statehood and the many roles Arizona has played in the nation’s history.
Where? 1700 W Washington St, Phoenix
How much? Free!
#4: Hit the Ice
Little Howlers Hockey, sponsored by the Arizona Coyotes, gives kids a risk-free opportunity to hit the ice and learn about the sport. For a refundable deposit, kids ages 4-8 can sign on for four one-hour sessions. Ice time, equipment and skate rental are all covered. At the conclusion of the sessions, kids can get info on local hockey programs, as well as receive coupons for discounted gear.
Where? Locations vary; several ice rinks around the Valley participate (see http://coyotes.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=86688 or call 623-772-3464 for details)
How much? Small refundable deposit for equipment.
#5: “Cache” in on Some Treasure
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt that uses a GPS-enabled device to find a hidden container, often containing a logbook and some inexpensive trinkets. Some caches are local and easy, practically in your own backyard; others can take you deep into the wilderness. The rules? If you take something from a cache, be sure to leave something behind of equal value, and log your find.
Where? Locations vary; check www.geocaching.com or its companion app for caches near you
How much? Free, but there are in-app purchases; also, bring small trade offerings for your cache