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Affordable Family Fun: Ways to save around the Valley this summer

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Posted at 8:00 AM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 21:55:49-04

PHOENIX — It’s going to be a long hot summer, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or break your budget. For ABC15’s “Affordable Family Fun” takeover on Wednesday, May 18, we rounded up some of the best ways to get out of the house and save you money. From movies to museums, to splash pads and pools, the Valley is full of affordable savings for the whole family.

Harkins Summer Movie Fun

A Valley staple for over 20 years, Harkins Summer Movie Fun offers kids aged 13 and under tickets to eight movies over eight weeks for just $8, or $1 per movie. The cost is the same for adults who accompany kids to each movie. Tickets must be purchased in-person at participating theaters, so make sure to look at the fine print here.

When: June 6 to July 29, 2022
Cost: $8 for eight movies over eight weeks
Location: Click here for participating locations.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Get FREE entry to Children's Museum of Phoenix

On the first Friday of each month, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix offers free admission from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets typically cost $16 for adults and children age one year and older, but the fee is waived on First Fridays. Due to limited space, free admission is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and tickets can only be acquired in-person, at the museum.

When: The first Friday of every month
Cost: Free admission (tickets are usually $16)
Location: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

Phoenix Art Museum

There are many ways to save when heading to the Phoenix Art Museum. Every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., the museum offers ‘Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesdays,’ allowing patrons to pay for entry on a donation basis, rather than the full price of general admission. On the first Friday of every month, the Phoenix Art Museum also offers free admission from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., though exhibitions may require an extra cost. For anyone visiting the museum and looking to save a little more on general admission tickets, the Phoenix Art Museum encourages visitors to purchase tickets online to avoid paying a $2 surcharge for tickets sold at the door.

When: Wednesdays, first Friday of the month from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: Free admission on First Fridays and donation-based entry on ‘Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesdays’
Location: 1625 North Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004

Community Pools Across the Valley

ABC15 has put together a comprehensive guide to finding your local splashpad and community pool over the summer. While access to community pools are already affordable, we found some of the best admission prices across the Valley to save you even more.

In Mesa and Peoria, it costs $2 for kids and seniors (55+) to swim at the public pool and $4 for adults.

The public pools in Chandler are just $1 for kids and $2 for adults. Some of Chandler's pools also offer Family Night admission for just $1 for during select evening hours.

As part of the 2022 Kool Kids Pools program, select pools in the City of Phoenix are completely free for kids aged 17 and under to dive into all day long. For a complete list, click here.

Summer Camps for Kids

When it comes to looking for affordable summer camps — experts say think local: local school districts, local cities, and local daycares. 

Veronica Leon with Macaroni Kid Scottsdale starts tracking summer camps and deals as early as January.

She has put together a list of dozens of camps for kids in parts of Scottsdale and northern sections of the county. The writer for Macaroni Kid puts together a list of camps by category from arts and crafts, cooking, to sports.

Some of the best options she recommends for summer camps on a budget are local, “a lot of the school districts do host summer camps, a lot of the preschools turn into a summer camp,” said Leon.

Here’s a guide by Leon on summer camps in parts of the Valley.

Phoenix Free Activities for Teens

PHXTeens program offers free activities

Helping kids realize their potential while having fun. PHXteens is a free mobile recreation program offered through the city of Phoenix. It's offered all year long to teens 13 to 17. You don't need to live in phoenix. The program is centered around helping teens build connections with others while volunteering, exploring or just hanging out.

"They are able to get job training, volunteer, have field trips, and have cultural activities. It allows them to live their fullest life with the assistance of staff volunteers and mentors in the community who really invested in helping them be the best that they can be," said Stacia Holmes the recreation supervisor for the city of Phoenix.

They have 16 locations at parks across the city. To become a PHXteen sign up at a Phoenix Recreation Center.