A friend once told me that even if treasures abound locally, people tend to think that the grass is always greener on the other side – as in, the other side of the city boundary. Things might look more impressive and attractive if you sacrifice time and money to get out of town, but with the price of gas getting higher every day, I’m finding local stuff more attractive by the minute.
The great outdoors. For do-it-yourselfers, geocaching, letterboxing, camping, nature study in your back yard, and hikes are relatively easy picks for summer fun. For families desiring something more formal or needing direction, many nature programs are available through city parks and rec, county conservation boards, Izaak Walton leagues, Meetup groups, and your state DNR. You can also take the family watch athletic events in the community -- maybe to learn about sports you’re unfamiliar with such as cricket or rugby.
Caption: Exploring a local park can be free, easy, and eye-opening.
Free manufacturing tours. What’s the local industry where you live? Here in the Heartland where I live, there’s a lot of agriculture and food. Over the years, I’ve arranged for my family to tour a frozen noodle plant, a water treatment plant, an organic farm, a dairy, a pizzeria, and an earthworm farm.
Caption: Visiting local attractions is usually free and can bring the out-of-the-ordinary to life.
Government buildings. Great architecture and observing “community helpers” can be interesting and educational. The courthouse, capitol building, police station, fire station, public works department, etc. might make good field trips. My family has also visited a national wildlife refuge, a national grassland, and many government-owned parks for no admission charge.
Local historical societies. If your family has older kids, this can be pleasant, eye-opening, and educational. These groups usually have short museum hours and are run by volunteers. County museums in my neighboring county are large and free of charge.This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. Head over to Juliecache.com for Part 2.