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The Insane Cost of Going to a Professional Baseball Game, the Movies & Other Popular Entertainment
(and Some Smart Choices Instead)

Remember when you could buy a gallon of milk for under $1? Mail a letter for 26 cents, or even 3 cents? Buy a gallon of gas for a buck (or far less)? Not so these days. And the same goes of entertainment.

The cost for doing seemingly simple things with your family -- things like going to a baseball game, seeing a movie or visiting the zoo -- has become outrageous (add in gas prices and it's enough to make you faint).

baseball game

Want to take the kids to a baseball game? Why cough up nearly $200 for a major league game when you can take in a local little league game for free (or a minor league game for considerably less)?

How Much Does it Cost To ... ?

  • See a Professional Baseball Game? Tickets for a major league baseball game rose 5.4 percent in 2006, for an average ticket price of $22.21. Add in food, parking and souvenirs for a family of four (four small soft drinks, two small beers, four hot dogs, two game programs, parking, and two adult-size caps) and the cost jumps to $171.89.

  • Go to an NFL Game? In 2006, ticket prices averaged $62.38. With food, parking and souvenirs, a family of four can expect to pay at least $301.75 (which is how much it cost in 2003).

  • See a Movie? Average movie tickets went for $6.55 in 2006, according to the National Association of Theater Owners, and in some cities they cost significantly more. Add in another $15 or so for a large popcorn and four small drinks, and a family of four can easily spend close to $40.

  • Go to an Amusement park? A day of thrills will cost you. For a family of four to visit Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles it will cost $180 in tickets alone (for two adults and two children). Add in $15 for parking, plus food and souvenirs and you're up over $200.
  • Visit the Zoo? To visit the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago it costs $10 for adults (kids 11 and under are $6), $8 for parking, plus extra to see any of the special exhibits. With food and souvenirs, you'll likely be spending over $50.

  • Go to a Museum? A bit of culture and education does not come cheap. Tickets at the Science Museum of Minnesota are $14 for adults ($10.50 for kids 12 and under and seniors). Add in food and souvenirs and you're looking at $60 or more (and that's without the 3D cinema ticket).

Lower-Cost FUN Alternatives for Families on a Budget

amusement park

A day at a big amusement park can cost you over $200, but you can take in a local festival, fair or carnival for much less.

If your family is on a budget (and whose isn't?), it doesn't mean you have to spend every weekend in the backyard (though we suggest that sometimes you do just that!). There are plenty of fun things to do that won't cost your children their college savings ... and that you'll enjoy too!

  • Take in a minor league baseball game (or other minor league sport)

  • Check out small, local theaters that put on live shows in your area (including colleges and high schools)

  • Take advantage of "free concerts and movies in the park" (many cities have these in the summer)

  • Go to the zoo and museums on free days (many offer one day a week with free admission)

  • Look online before buying tickets (Six Flags Magic Mountain tickets, for instance, are $25 less if you buy them online!)

  • Go to local band concerts (check the newspaper for listings)

  • Visit summer festivals (and even farmer's markets) in your area (most are free admission)

  • Go for hike in a nature preserve (free as always) and check out the nature center (most are also free).

  • Check out local and state fairs (tickets are usually reasonable, about $5 for adults and less for kids)

  • Go to the beach or dunes (if you're near one), pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it

Recommended Reading

21 No-Cost (or Extremely Low-Cost) Ways to Remind Your Special Other of How Much You Love Them

Why Your Income Has Very Little to do With How Happy You Are

Team Marketing Report

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