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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

questions of fun, frugality and fears.

I went to Great America with the bigs yesterday. Great America is a Six Flags theme park in the Chicago area. I have been going to the park for more than 30 years. That means that the park or myself are very old or possibly both. Going to an amusement park can be kind of expensive in this day and age. Six Flags has a winter reading program and if your kids participate, each kid (K-6th grade) gets a ticket. This seems like a good idea at the time but when you factor in the cost of your ticket and other family members outside of the age range, along with parking and other amenities, the cost of these free tickets adds up pretty quickly.

I have noticed that in the past year Six Flags has been making changes, some small, some big, to help families in this tough economy. Don't get me wrong, I know they are helping families in order to encourage them to attend their parks so they can spend money there. But some of the changes are very positive to families on a budget.

In the past year the reading program has allowed teachers including home school teachers to win 1 ticket per class. So, my ticket was free yesterday as well.

Now remember I have been going to this park for a long time so let me give you a little history lesson. As you probably know, amusement park food is expensive having a captive audience and all. So in addition to going to your cars to eat food you brought from home, people would sometimes leave the park, have a meal and come back. Over the course of time, the park cracked down on these activities by a) not allowing cars to leave the park w/o paying the parking fee again and b) not readmitting people to the park after 6:00 p.m., this way allowing people to have lunch in their cars but not dinner.

Also a few years ago the park sold two types of parking spots. Closer to the park for more money and farther from the park for less. Which meant if you wanted to spend less money and eat in your car you would spend more time walking all the way to the back of the lot (sometimes past rows and rows of empty parking spaces to get to your car) spending the one commodity more precious to a frugal park goer than money, time.

This year the park made some great changes that really encouraged me. They may have been motivated more by the rows and rows of empty parking spaces I alluded to parenthetically in the last paragraph, who knows. First of all, I had decided to pay the higher amount for parking so the kids and I didn't have to walk all the way to the nether regions of the lot to park. As I drove in, I noticed that parking was again only 1 price, meaning I could park close to the entrance. That was pleasant surprise #1. Pleasant surprise #2 occurred when the parking attendant handed me my receipt and told me I could use it to reenter the park throughout the day. The third pleasant surprise came at about 1:00, as we exited the park for lunch. I read a sign saying that you could re-enter the park up until 9 pm. If you take all of the pleasant surprises and put them together, it gives the patron the opportunity to eat lunch or dinner outside of the park, or in the parking lot without additional cost.

All this leads up to my first question: How have you seen entertainment companies (movies, restraunts, museums, zoos, theme parks, etc...) compete for your business in this economy? And how have you benefited from it?

Question #2 comes from a fear I have of pit bulls. I am not scared of them myself, as much as I am of my children being eaten by one. My neighbor has 2 pit bulls: an adult that was abused as a puppy, and a really cute puppy. My brother-in-law has one also. Both my neighbor and brother-in-law are staunch defenders of pit bulls. It's not the pit bulls that are the problem, they say, it is the owners.

If that's the case, how come every pit bull attack story sounds exactly the same. It was a very friendly dog that never did anything wrong and then one day it snapped. I am sorry but I don't want my children or anyone else around the dogs when they do snap.

Question 2 then is what is a pet you would never want to have or even have live near you?

So those are my questions. For more Two Question Thursday head over to Self Sagacity.


  1. 1) I have been at a theme park for years to notice any different. They are too expensive just to enter.

    2) I would never one to have a snake of any kind. That's my fear..Around here, we have dogs that roaming the street, and I always have to call 911 since there are small children in the neighborhood.

  2. 1) Family entertainment has always been done at a minimal cost for us. We don't go to the movies or amusement parks. We look for fun things to do with little coast. However the one place I want most to go to is the zoo, since we haven't been in years. Perhaps, when the weather cools off again, then we can visit our local zoo.

    2) Dogs with tendencies to becoming vicious always signal a red flag of caution. I would not want to live next door to anyone who had a possible candidate of turning into Cujo. I think the button that gets pushed on in animals like this is not a matter of if, but when will it happen. I think it's somehow within their nature, but that's a personal opinion not science.

    Check out my recent post….
    N is for Naughty or Nice

    Visitng from Alphabe-Thursday/T2Q hop…
    Cathy Kennedy, Children's Author
    The Tale of Ole Green Eyes

  3. 1. I've been to great america many times though not recently. It's all about the money for theme parks and keeping the families there. I actually went to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk a few months ago. I used to go there with my family every Summer. I hadn't been there in decades and it was so refreshing to see that not much had changed at all. Even their food prices were virtually inexpensive.

    2. I am deathly afraid of snakes and had one in my kitchen a couple of years ago. It was one of the most if not the most scary situation I have ever experienced. As for pit bulls, I keep my distance from them.

  4. I haven't really noticed much of what the companies are doing except for the stores that package goods smaller and sell for the same prices. I guess so they don't have to hike the price...as if?

    2. I agree with you about the pitbulls. I don't want them anywhere around my kids.
    Or tigers for that matter or especially SNAKES!

    I like that six flags is doing too.


  5. I think there is a lot more promotion but the discounts are not all that great considering we are in such a horrible slump. What I do see is a lot more people wheeling and dealing, but in lower income activities. The rich still operates the same for the most part.
    I think given my experiences with dogs, that might be the one pet I like to stay away from. I am okay with puppies.


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