Fun, Family Outings to Fit Anyone’s Budget


Raising two young boys has me questioning my sanity most days. Every morning, the house explodes with energy when they awake, and unless we are out the door by 9:00 A.M. headed somewhere, ANYWHERE, everyone’s moods slowly crumble, leaving two out of the three of us crying (I won’t say which two, though, because that would be embarrassing.)

Sometimes where we go depends on how much money we have left from our monthly allotted amount in our bank account. Rather than stay home and mope around if we’ve depleted this subcategory of our budget, I keep a running list of some of our favorite outings, broken down by the amount of money we want to/don’t want to spend. Check out some of our favorites!

1.  FREE Outings (For times when the bank account gazes at you dismally, making payday feel like eons away)

Bear Creek Nature Center:

Investigating and exploring the creek is always a favorite for us.

This hidden gem offers scenic trails to hike, a creek to investigate, and all kinds of wildlife to watch. Inside the center, there are sensory items for kids to explore, such as animal furs and skins, as well as daily programs taking place. With as much wildlife as you might potentially see, my only word of warning would be this: watch where you (and your children!) step. To see more about Bear Creek and all it has to offer, check out this El Paso County Youtube video.

America the Beautiful Park:

A beautiful park with a stunning view.
A beautiful park with a stunning view.

This  playground area is a favorite of my family’s. The equipment is unique and simple, and the summer months bring new excitement as the city turns on the fountain, creating a splash park for kids to romp around. When we go, we make a day out of it: play on the playground, splash around in the fountain (That counts as a daily bath, right?), eat our sack lunches, and return home for naptime. A good day for all involved.


2.  Low-Cost Outings (When you have $5-10 to spend)

Focus on the Family Welcome Center: This place attracts the attention of children and adults alike. A few highlights include a three-story indoor slide, Camp-What-a-Nut for toddlers, a Narnia Adventure Room, and a couple of places to snag a sweet treat for the kids or coffee for the mamas! This place especially comes in handy on cold, snowy days. Because as moms with children, is there anything more nightmarish than being stuck inside with pent up energy for more than two snow days in a row? I think not.

Cafe 225: Cafe 225 has created an incredible atmosphere for moms to socialize and children to play. The upstairs portion of this coffee shop has comfy chairs and tables for people to work or study. Meanwhile in the basement, the moms and tots are partying it up; the kids have a cute play area to roam around, while the moms can either join them or have some adult time by sitting in the adjoining room. This shop reminds me of my uncle’s high school yearbook photos…business in the front, party in the back (or rather, the basement).

3.  Significant Up Front Outing (But WELL worth it!)

Feeding the giraffes is a highlight for my son!

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: A yearly membership for my family costs $142.50 (It is for one or two adults plus children 18 and younger living in the same house) Let me explain my justification in buying a yearly zoo membership. Going to the zoo on a whim will cost us $41.75, more if my husband joins us. Purchasing a yearly membership allows us to go any day of the year (or every day, for that matter!), visit the Electric Safari during the holiday season, as well as participate in zoo member appreciation nights. (Check out even more membership perks by clicking here.) After doing the math, our yearly membership pays for itself in less than four visits. Since my boys love animals, and I love that the hilly geography of the zoo results in a decent workout for me, this family outing is a win-win in my book!

Have you discovered a place that you and your family love? Let me know!

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Megan has called Colorado Springs home since 2008 when she and her husband of twelve years moved here after serving for two years as Peace Corps volunteers in the beautiful country of Macedonia. She spent her time in Macedonia teaching in a village school, working alongside college professors at a university, and having long, luxerious coffee dates with some of the best people she has ever been priviledged to know. Megan's educational background is in Secondary English Education, and most of her working life has been spent teaching English to junior high students, a grade level that she absolutely adores. Starting this year, she has stepped away from the classroom to explore the world of Communications, and she is excited to be serving as the Strategic Communications Coordinator for a local charter school. When Megan isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with close friends and family; however, her introverted side is just as content being alone on her front porch with a good book and a hot (often re-heated multiple times) cup of coffee. Her interests also include writing, scoring deals at garage sales, and trying (but usually failing) to be creative with her sewing machine. Megan’s boys keep her on her toes with their crazy antics and energetic spirits, but they are always quick to settle down if it means snuggling up to their mama and reading, a pastime in which she happily obliges them.


  1. I love cafe 225 and America the beautiful. Bear creek nature center also has awesome birthday parties!

    • We had my son’s birthday party at Bear Creek last year, and it was amazing! They did a forty-five minute presentation on Colorado critters, put on a puppet show, and then took the kids on a hike. And we got so lucky because my son’s birthday is in February, and instead of being cold, it was 70 degrees! Colorado weather. Gotta love it!

  2. What a great list! My family loves all these outings… And by the way, we have that same 9:00 meltdown deadline too every day! 😉 High five, mama.

  3. Thanks, Evelyn! There is something about that 9:00AM meltdown time. It’s crazy! Glad to have some outlets for all of our kids’ energy. 🙂

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