If you’re looking for a good time on the cheap this summer, check out your area museums, factories and national parks. You probably won’t have to travel too far to take advantage of some of these hot deals.
Free Theme Park Admission on Your Birthday
Visit a Disney theme park in California and Florida for your free day.
Free Factory Tours
Made in the U.S.A. — but how? Find out how a candy cane gets its stripes, or how toothpaste actually makes it into the tube. You can even see how a car is created from sheet metal.
Scroll through the list of states here and here to see which factories in your area offer free tours.
Free Museum Days for the Locals
Click here for a list of museums by state. Call the ones in your area to learn if they’re free for local residents.
Free Admission for Military Members
At Anheuser-Busch theme parks, any active duty, activated or drilling reservist or national guardsman and up to three of their family members will be admitted for free. Register online or show a photo ID from the Department of Defense to take advantage of this deal.
Parks participating include SeaWorld in its three locations: San Diego; San Antonio, Texas; and Orlando, Fla., as well as Busch Gardens in both Tampa, Fla., and Williamsburg, Va., Watercountry also in Williamsburg, and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa.
A couple of the Six Flags theme parks have their own days of free admission for U.S. service members. Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, N.Y., offers one free ticket per active duty military member during “Heroes” week from Aug. 10-14.
Then, in September at Six Flags Over Georgia, military personnel can get in free on selected days depending on the branch they belong to. The day for Air Force members is Sept. 19, when the park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For the Navy and Coast Guard, it’s Sept. 20, when the park hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Army personnel get their turn on Sept. 26, when the park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Marine day is Sept. 27, when park hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
At Disney theme parks, each active or retired service member may receive a complimentary five-day “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” ticket with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options. The ticket, which is valid for five days, admits military members to the four Walt Disney World theme parks and also allows a total of five visits to a Disney water park, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park or certain other attractions.
Active or retired military personnel may also make a one-time purchase of up to five five-day “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Companion” tickets for $99 per ticket, plus tax, for family members or friends. These tickets allow entrance to one theme park per day. Tickets purchased for family members and friends do not include either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options, but can be upgraded to add either option, or both, for an additional $25, plus tax, per option.
All tickets and options at Disney’s theme parks are nontransferable and must be used by Dec. 23, 2009.
National Parks’ Free Weekends
Nothing says summer like spending time in the great outdoors.
Receive free admission at 147 U.S. national parks on July 18 and 19 and Aug. 15 and 16 only.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Chiricahua National Monument Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Grand Canyon National Park Lake Mead National Recreation Area Montezuma Castle National Monument Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Petrified Forest National Park Pipe Spring National Monument Saguaro National Park Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Tonto National Monument Tumacacori National Historical Park Tuzigoot National Monument Walnut Canyon National Monument Wupatki National Monument
Fort Smith National Historic Site Pea Ridge National Military Park
Cabrillo National Monument Death Valley National Park John Muir National Historic Site Joshua Tree National Park Lassen Volcanic National Park Lava Beds National Monument Muir Woods National Monument Pinnacles National Monument San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Sequoia National Park Whiskeytown Unit National Recreation Area Yosemite National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Colorado National Monument Dinosaur National Monument Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument Great Sand Dunes NP & Preserve National Park Hovenweep National Monument Mesa Verde National Park Rocky Mountain National Park
Canaveral National Seashore Castillo de San Marcos National Monument Dry Tortugas National Park Everglades National Park Gulf Islands National Seashore
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Cumberland Island National Seashore Fort Frederica National Monument Fort Pulaski National Monument
Haleakala National Park Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Craters of the Moon National Monument Yellowstone National Park
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Memorial
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Fort Scott National Historic Site
Acadia National Park
Antietam National Battlefield Assateague Island National Seashore Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Fort McHenry NM and Historic Shrine National Monument Fort Washington Park Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Adams National Historical Park Cape Cod National Seashore John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site Longfellow National Historic Site
Isle Royale National Park Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Grand Portage National Monument Pipestone National Monument
Vicksburg National Military Park
Harry S Truman National Historic Site Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Glacier National Park Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Yellowstone National Park
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Scotts Bluff National Monument
Death Valley National Park Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
Edison National Historic Site Morristown National Historical Park
Aztec Ruins National Monument Bandelier National Monument Capulin Volcano National Monument Carlsbad Caverns National Park Chaco Culture National Historical Park El Morro National Monument Fort Union National Monument Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Pecos National Historical Park White Sands National Monument
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Saratoga National Historical Park Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
James A. Garfield National Historic Site Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial National Memorial
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Crater Lake National Park Lewis & Clark National Historical Park
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site Fort Necessity National Battlefield Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site Johnstown Flood National Memorial Steamtown National Historic Site Valley Forge National Historical Park
San Juan National Historic Site
Fort Sumter National Monument
Badlands National Park Jewel Cave National Monument
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Shiloh National Military Park
Big Bend National Park Fort Davis National Historic Site Guadalupe Mountains National Park Padre Island National Seashore
Arches National Park Bryce Canyon National Park Canyonlands National Park Capitol Reef National Park Cedar Breaks National Monument Dinosaur National Monument Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Golden Spike National Historic Site Hovenweep National Monument Natural Bridges National Monument Zion National Park
Christiansted National Historic Site
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park National Memorial Assateague Island National Seashore Colonial National Historical Park George Washington Birthplace National Monument George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park Manassas National Battlefield Park Petersburg National Battlefield Prince William Forest Park Shenandoah National Park
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Lewis & Clark National Historical Park Mount Rainier National Park Olympic National Park Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Devils Tower National Monument Fort Laramie National Historic Site Grand Teton National Park Yellowstone National Park