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Oh, the Places You Might Go This Summer

Contributed by: Heath Combs

Entertainment venues, like Disney World, almost always raise their entry fees each year. With spring and summer travel starting to hit high gear, here are ticket prices and websites for a number of family entertainment destinations from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Fla. 

Washington, D.C.: Politics aside, one of the great things the nation’s capital has is  the Smithsonian museums – and they’re all free. For more information, see this list of museums. Here is a list of the Smithsonian destinations:
  • African American Museum
  • African Art Museum
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
  • American Art Museum
  • American History Museum
  • American Indian Museum
  • American Indian Museum Heye Center
  •  Anacostia Community Museum
  • Archives of American Art
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Cooper Hewitt
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Hirshhorn
  • National Zoo
  • Natural History Museum
  • Portrait Gallery
  • Postal Museum
  • Renwick Gallery
  • S. Dillon Ripley Center
  • Sackler Gallery
  • Smitsonian Castle
  • Smithsonian Gardens
But there are also a number of other interesting museums that aren’t affiliated with the Smithsonian. Here are some of the most notable:
Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia: A family opportunity to learn and immerse yourself in an 18th-century city, where you can meet tradespeople and watch them use their tools and techniques. Multiple ticket options. 

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: Just 75 miles from Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park has cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, 500 miles of hiking trails and the Skyline Drive. Single vehicle, $30, .

Kings Dominion, Doswell, Va.: Twelve coasters, family rides, kids rides and a waterpark. Daily tickets start at $39.99. 

Raleigh, N.C.: Many travel sites call the collection of the state’s museums in Raleigh the “Smithsonian of the South.” Like the Smithsonian, they are all free. Here’s the list:

•    North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
•    North Carolina Museum of Art
•    North Carolina Museum of History

Raleigh also has several noteworthy museums that charge admission:

•    Marbles Kids Museum, tickets $7
•    Our Body: The Universe Within, adults $17
•    Museum of Life + Science, general admission $20

Winston-Salem, N.C.: The city offers a number of places to see. Here are four of the more prominent choices:

•    Old Salem Museum & Gardens, tickets $27 
•    Reynolda House Museum of American Art, general admission $18
•    Kaleideum North (science museum) and Kaleideum Downtown (children’s museum), general admission $10
•    The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, free

Greensboro, N.C.: About 30 miles from Winston-Salem, the city has a variety of festivals and permanent attractions. Here are four ideas:

•    International Civil Rights Center & Museum, adults $12
•    Greensboro Science Center, tickets $14.50
•    Greensboro Children’s Museum, tickets $10
•    Above Board Skate, various prices

Charlotte, N.C.: Beyond the NFL and the NBA, Charlotte offers a multitude of places to visit and experience:

•    Carowinds, various prices and packages
•    Discovery Place, museum + IMAX $24
•    U.S. National Whitewater Center, day pass $59
•    NASCAR Hall of Fame, adults $25
•    Mint Museum Uptown, various prices
•    Carolina Raptor Center, adults $12

Asheville, N.C.: This area combines mountain living, creativity, and natural beauty. Here are five options:Downtown_Asheville_NC_View
Columbia, S.C.: Home to the University of South Carolina and the capital of South Carolina, Columbia has lots of traditional activities. Here are three atypical experiences to consider:
Georgia_AquariumAtlanta, Ga.: Atlanta is a world-class city with professional sports teams, numerous universities, key historic locations and was the home of the Summer Olympics in 1996. One of the interesting introductions to Atlanta is through the CityPASS Atlanta for $76, a savings of 40%. The pass allows admission into:
  • Georgia Aquarium
  • World of Coca-Cola
  • CNN Studio Tours
  • Zoo Atlanta or National Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History or College Football Hall of Fame

Orlando, Fla.: This Florida city is probably the theme park capital of the world. The parks listed below have multiple pricing packages.
Happy travels.

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