Alternatives for high price activities

Gavin Cardoza

Family outings are often a great way for family members to bond with one another. Spending the day at the ballpark, watching a favorite team play or heading out to catch the latest film release; these picture-perfect moments are ones that live on in the memories of each family member, until, at least, it comes time to pay.
Family night at the movies will set a family of four back nearly $70, and that’s without the popcorn and soda. Add in a few snacks and the cost could easily top a hundred dollars. According to the Stockton IMAX theatre’s website, for a family of four it would cost about $68. For kids and seniors it’s about $15 a ticket, and for adults it’s $17.
A cheaper alternative for wanting to see a family flick is a drive-in, but the nearest to one would be the West Wind Sacramento Drive-Ins, which can be between a 45 minute to an hour drive from Stockton.
A family of four can sit in the comfort of their car and view a film for about $25. If it’s tuesday, tickets are discounted to half the price and the West Wind also shows double features on weekends. Instead of paying $10 for a bucket of popcorn at the theatre, drive-ins offer cheaper snacks. At West Wind, popcorn sells for $5, while candy and soda will set filmgoers back $2.75. The one downside is the lines, which grow to immense sizes depending on the movies featured. So to avoid missing the movie, arrive 40-60 minutes prior.
Another popular family outing is theme parks. Now, places like Six Flags or Disneyland are often too expensive for families to attend. At Six Flags, a package of four tickets would be $184. That’s just for a one day visit, with accounting for buying food and drinks at the park.
As for Disneyland, to spend one day at each park for a family of four is almost $900. That’s the purchase of the tickets alone, which are about $220 apiece, and without the price of the hotel or resort stay. The Park Hopper, it’s a type of ticket that lets families bounce back and forth between parks in a day. However, is nearly a thousand dollars without hotel purchases. Getting a decent hotel in Los Angeles adds at least another $150 a night on top of that.
The nearest and cheapest alternative to amusement parks is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It may seem like a place only made for the summer, but they are open all year round. The beach may not always be the best idea in cold weather, but the rides on the boardwalk still operate. They even set up a Christmas themed train that transports visitors to and from the Boardwalk during the holidays.
As far as sporting events go, Stockton is the home for two developmental league teams. The Ports (affiliate to The Oakland Athletics; Major League Baseball) and The Kings (affiliate to the Sacramento Kings; National Basketball Association).
Their major affiliates have tickets that average over $45 per ticket. If you’re thinking about the nosebleeds, think again, even for major league teams, it’s above $30 per ticket, which amounts to $120 for a family of four. The Stockton team’s decent seats cost about as much as nosebleeds for a major game, which is still almost 100 dollars, not including food purchases and parking costs.
Stockton is also home to two other sporting teams. One is the Stockton Heat, the developmental affiliate to the Calgary Flames (National Hockey League). The other is the city’s own indoor soccer team, the Stockton Rush, who belonged to the MASL2, (Major Arena Soccer League 2) and will be reinstated in the league this year. Both their prices are substantially lower than the Kings and Ports at $20, which will make buying food at the arena possible.
The attraction possibilities have decreased in recent years, due to the increased prices, but that doesn’t mean nothing can be done. There are still plenty of things out there to do with family at a reasonable price.