The High Price of Summer Fun

Summer in Tampa, Florida is here in full force which includes sweltering 95 degree highs. Now I know some states run hotter but 90+ temperatures are even worse when coupled with humidity levels over 80%. Misery will undoubtedly ensue if you are outside. Incidentally, there are days in July that are cataloged as 100% humidity…isn’t that rain? In any event, if you are someone like me, who likes the outdoors, you want to get out (with or without the kids) and do something without the risk of melting.

I am on a few mailing lists and I receive specials on theme park passes as a consequence. I also receive “things to do” email lists to help me find fun, free or cheap things to do on my personal time. While reading an article on 28 Ways to Beat the Heat I noticed that prices for theme parks in the area have gone up even higher—so high that I believe that the entrance fee is cost prohibitive for a large portion of people.

For instance, I looked into going to Adventure Island (something I have never done since its inception in 1980). But the entry fee is $55. Add my spouse to that and we are shelling out $110 plus parking just to walk in the gate. Lowry Park’s entry fee has skyrocketed up to $33 ($25 for children 3-11); last time I went is was under $20. I don’t even know if this park is worth the admission fee now because I am unsure if they have added more attractions. Busch Gardens entry fee is a whopping $99, $79 for children aged 3-9 years. When you factor in the overpriced food and drink that one day can cost a family of four quite a bit of cash. Sure you can “upgrade” your experience to include all day dining at $35 each, line skip at $16 to $21 each but that would likely bring your day up to the neighborhood of $600. I don’t know about your but for some folks that’s a mortgage payment.

Sadly, I have no good answers for fun stuff that is affordable. But it would be nice if we could have access to more parks with springs or lakes and paddle boat rentals or the like so folks can get out and have some fun without sacrificing the monthly grocery budget in the process.

Do you have a great place local or otherwise to go and have some outdoor fun? Please share in the comments below.


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