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A Frugal And Fun Trip To The Park

This past Sunday, my family (wife and 2 kids) decided to go to the nature park.  Actually, it was more my wife’s idea, but since the temperature this past Sunday in our neck of the country was almost 80 degree, it sounded like a wonderful idea.

So we went a park close by that was a nature friendly park (no swings and play areas).  Nobody was allowed to bring pets to this particular park.  And it was unique in that it had a swamp area and a bunch of small ponds.

We started our day at the park by going to the glass enclosed observation deck watching the squirrels, chipmunks, finches and blue birds feed at the bird feeders.  It has a microphone outside and we could hear the chirping of the birds, that always make the experience a bit more enjoyable.

Next we strolled down to the first pond.  Not much was happening, so we decided to skip some stones across the pond surface.  I taught my son a few years ago, so I mainly focused on teaching my seven-year old daughter how to skip the stones.  She was successful with 2 skips, but that was about it.  It will come with time, I told her.

From the pond we strolled down to the wetlands and onto the floating walkway that floats on the swamp-like water.  This part of the park is always a favorite!  On this particular day, we saw a goose chasing other geese out of the pond because the his mate had just laid eggs.  It was a comical sight that had my daughter laughing for a long while (what a great sound).  We then looked around and found a turtle near the weeds laying on a log next to the edge of the water.  It was just catching some rays from the sun.  Still anything like seeing a turtle on a lazy park walk is magical for the kids.

We then walk back to the park building.  Once inside, I noticed that a room called “Lab” had its door was slightly open.  The light was off, but I went in and turned on the lights (we’ve been there before in the past).  In the Lab room, we saw a spiny softshell turtle (what a queer-looking animal) in an aquarium swimming like it was desperately trying to get out.   Next we saw some snakes (rat snake and others) and another turtle (box turtle).  This effectively was the grand finale of the trips and I have to admit that even I was impressed.  Of all the animals that we saw, the Spiny Softshell turtle was the most interesting for the entire family.


Spiny ShoftShell Turtle
Spiny ShoftShell Turtle



My wife and I had to leave for other appointments after the lab room, and surprisingly the both kids didn’t want to leave.  Whenever your kids don’t want to leave something educational, I consider that a successful trip!

Now to some this might sounds like a boring trip, but if you were a couple, it would have been incredible romantic since there wasn’t hardly anyone there and the sounds of nature all around opens a temporary door for a little escapism from the chaos of the day’s hussle and bussle.

For my wife and I, the good time that the kids had is what made our day.  We know that the days of my son enjoying such activities are limited since he almost eleven years old.  So we try to make the best of it while he’s willing to be entertained by such family trips and time together.

We went on our park trip over 6 hours ago, but I”m still playing back the great time we had in my head!  Too bad there wasn’t someone there to video record the experience as we enjoy the time together…

While such a trip might seem very frugal, in actuality, it’s very rich in experiences and family bonding time.

Do you have any small frugal activities that you would rather do than a costly one?  I personally enjoyed the small but educational trip as much as the indoor amusement park trip we had this past Thursday.

I hope everybody had a great weekend like we did!


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17 Responses to A Frugal And Fun Trip To The Park

  1. I live a stone’s throw from a lake that has a little sand beach on it. In summer’s past, I would take road trips almost every weekend, but the year I lost my company car, I started doing things locally again (for sake of gas money).

    Anyway, we spent many a weekend at this beach and although it was close and free, it was always a welcome excursion for my kids.

    • Totally agreed. The park is a great (and cheap) way to “get away from it all”. My girlfriend try and get out to parks and hiking trails as much as possible in the summer to just unwind.

      Bring some food, some wine, a deck of cards, a frisbee, and a blanket… life couldn’t be better.

      • Sounds like a great time! My wife and I did that a few times before we were married and to me it beats going out to eat and a movie. And a heck of a lot cheaper 🙂

    • That sounds awesome! I would love to have such a great little getaway! As a child I use to stay with my aunt and uncle in delaware for the summers. They lived on a river that connected to the ocean. It was a nice little beach for me to play one, although the blue fiddler crabs freaked me out a bit!

      Sounds like you have the perfect getaway, very cool!

  2. Great story! I love going on walks through this grassy area by my house. It’s my escape from sitting in front of a computer or studying accounting. I use to be a member of a gym but now I can get exercise in a frugal way that destressed me.

    -Ravi Gupta

    • I love to hear the birds chirping and the smells of a sweet smelling meadow (this isn’t the case yet but in summer it is).

      I do the same, it really clears one’s mind 🙂

  3. My favorite cheap date is to go to the beach and watch the ocean waves hit the beach. All you need is a lawn chair, a book and iPod or radio. We usually pick up lunch at a grocery in the area for around $10 for 2 people. I find it relaxing and rejuvenating!

    • Ahh, that would be incredible… If only I lived closer to the beach 🙁

      I think that would even be better than the park! Especially watching the kids building sand castles and digging for sand crabs.

  4. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so we can take the little guy out and about. There are quite a few hiking trails around here and we would have a great time hiking around. The beach would be great too, but it’s usually cold at the beach pretty much year round so we’ll probably wait until the little guy is a bit older.

  5. Loved your story- I felt like I was with your family. We have a nature preserve near our house with a lot of deer and other creatures, and we have taken many great walks there. We also have a river that goes through the town north of us with great trails that we love to walk on.

    Unplanned and free trips and often the best of all! Glad you had such a great time.

  6. It was a great time, I’m glad it read well.

    It’s funny, I’m smart enough to realize that these are great moments, but not quite clever enough to bring a camcorder… Go figure 🙂

  7. That’s a great way to spend the first really warm day of the season. Outside and spending little. Kids can enjoy the outdoors quite well without having parents spend much. Anyway, the memories of days like this and family time are great.

    It was 86 here on Sunday, one really warm day out of nowhere. Good times.