My parents were always looking for family deals when I was a kid. We had a lot of kids and not a lot of budget, so any place we could get into for a flat carload fee or as close to free as possible made their list.

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My parents even ensured we had coolers packed to the gills with sandwich fixings, snacks, and beverages. We'd stop whatever we were doing, and all sit down together for a picnic-style lunch.

READ MORE: Make This Summer the Best One Yet!

Sure, we wanted the sugar-filled churros and dripping burgers, but packing our lunch and sharing the time together saved money and calories and gave us time to relax and enjoy each other's company.

Returning to Simpler Times with Our Kids

It's funny how times always swing back to simpler days. The economy is contracting again, and if your family is looking for ways to have fun, stay busy, and avoid breaking the bank, check out our list. These activities are a mix of education, adventure, and fun, and some are even free - or very close to it.

There's an adventure for everyone, and with a little luck and planning, you may not have to travel too far for a day of family fun!

READ MORE: Time for a "Day-Cation"? Budget-Friendly Getaways in AZ Resorts

Let the adventure begin, and have a great time exploring Arizona and making memories with your kids!

[ Sources: | Arizona State Parks | OK Corral | Reid Park Zoo | National Park Service | The Arizona Science Center | University of Arizona Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium | The Phoenix Zoo ]

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