Recession Guide to Cheap Summer Fun

At Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, Pa., tickets have gone up $1.99 this year to $33.99 but park spokesman Jeff Filicko said he doesn't expect anybody to pay that price. Many school groups show up for $20 a person and a local grocery store chain sells discounted tickets at $23. There are also discounts through AAA and Pepsi cans.

"I always tell people, in reality there's no reason they should be paying gate admission because there are so many discounts out there," Filicko said.

Even with discounts, there is still some concern about the recession.

"Ironically, last season was our best season in history. Out of 110 years, it was a high point for us. So going into this next season, we are cautiously optimistic," he said. "Across the board, Kennywood has always focused on remaining a family value. That will always be our focus, regardless of how the economy shapes up."

Amusement Park Deals

Down the road at sister park Sandcastle Waterpark, season passes are on sale for just $50, a $15 savings, through June 30. The park hopes to lock people in with the early deals.

They are not alone in offering deals.

Disney World isn't lowering its admission prices, but it is throwing in free meals for families that purchase a five-night package at one of the resort's hotels. (Disney is the parent company of ABC News.)

SeaWorld Orlando is offering its unlimited admission pass for the price of a regular admission and Universal Studios in Florida is offering a two-park 7-day unlimited admission deal through its Web site.

In Connecticut, Lake Compounce canceled plans to boost its season ticket price $5 to $79.95 and is offering a preseason rate of $69.95.

Six Flags has also been aggressively pricing its season passes at its various parks.

Another option for many families are summer programs at local youth centers or community organizations.

For instance, America's 2,686 YMCAs offer a number of programs for families, such as camping, swimming, as well arts and humanities programs, sports and teen leadership classes.

"At YMCAs across the country, we don't turn people away from inability to pay," said spokeswoman Mamie Moore.

There is also help for families who have lost jobs. The YMCA of Metro Atlanta, for example, is supporting members who have lost a job by offering financial assistance so they can keep their memberships by paying the full dues for up to three months.

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