15 cheap, kid-friendly activities for holiday vacation

Who doesn’t love a family vacation to end the year with a bang? Problem is, it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. If you’ve already booked your travel and stay for the holidays – the hard part is over. Here’s your guide to the best cheap and free activities for your kids at the five most popular holiday destinations. Save your cash and unwind this holiday season.

Yes, it has Disney. But there’s a lot to do in Orlando if you don’t want to spend the Mickey Mouse prices. Treat yourselves at night and dine a deux in Downtown Disney. Don’t worry, it’s easy to easy to find an Orlando babysitter.

* The Baldwin Park Festival of Lights and Ivey Lane Christmas in the Park include face painting, live music, games, crafts, and carriage rides. And, it’s all free. Check out the City of Orlando’s event calendar for more information.

* If you love history – or DiCaprio, don’t miss “Titanic: The Experience.” Costumed guides walk you through full-scale recreations including the Grand Staircase and 200 artifacts from both the ship and its famous films. It’s $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids under 11, but ordering online will save $2 per ticket.

* Get your fill of the yuletide festivities at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios. Gaze at the millions of shimmering lights covering buildings, carousels and other items synchronized to holiday music. And hey, entry fee is included in your park pass.

Las Vegas
Save your money for the slots (and a date night) while in Vegas with the family. But be sure to check out these free family-friendly events during the day.

* Take a family stroll to the MGM Grand’s Lion Habitat. Go in between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. for a free glimpse. Feeding time is at 11:15 a.m. or 4:30 p.m.

* Venture a few miles from the Strip to the Silverton Hotel for a free aquarium visit. The 117,000 gallon tank houses more than 4,000 tropical fish, stingrays, and sharks. Catch the 15-minute mermaid shows scheduled Thursday through Sunday.

* Less than 10 miles from the Strip, the Ethel M Chocolate Factory is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with live chocolate production on weekdays. After, tour through the Botanical Cactus Garden and experience their holiday light show from mid-November to Jan. 1.

New York City
Start spreading the news: The Big Apple is filled with family fun to the core. In the city that never sleeps, spend the day with the kids and hire a babysitter for a date night with some of the finest food and theater in the world.

* Stop by Rockefeller Plaza to see the famous tree, the skaters and those wacky NBC hosts.

* The Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball isn’t just a treat at midnight. Walk over to One Times Square Building and catch a glimpse of the crystal structure before it rings in the new year.

* Grab your engineer’s cap and head over to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $10 for kids under 12 and free for children under 2.

Keystone, Colo.
Skip ski school, a $300-a-day cost, and opt for cheap, family-friendly options. Spend your savings on a sitter to enjoy some of the cheapest apres-ski deals in the state with your spouse.

* Take advantage of Keystone’s long ski days – slopes open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy night-skiing and give your family the flexibility to come and go all day.

* Keystone’s Kidtopia on Decorum Mountain offers free night skating, fireworks, disco tubing, a snow fort and more included with your lift-ticket.

* In town for the new year? Watch the free fireworks show at 8 p.m. in Lakeside Village. Also, with the purchase of dinner buffet ($27.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids 5-12, and kids under 5 are free), you get free ice skate rentals and can take part in the light show on Keystone’s five-acre outdoor ice rink.

What’s better than a Maui beach for a family get-away? Here are some sand and surf ideas that won’t break the bank.

* Great news, all beaches on Maui are free. Even cooler? They’re either black, red or white sand beaches or lava rock beaches.

* Opt for a free Polynesian hula show at Kaanapali’s Whalers Village complete with hula lessons and lei making classes for kids.

* Views of the Haleakala volcano are free, unique and memorable. Depending on kids ages, enjoy the view from the car, bike, or take a self-guided hike through the craters.

VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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