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Talk of the Town: Fun & Frugal Fall Break Ideas


Watch the video of  today’s show

Tune in to Talk of the Town on NewsChannel 5 in Nashville at 11am CST on Tuesday, September 28th to watch my latest “Frugal Mom” segment on Fun & Frugal Fall Break Ideas!

I hope you’ll tune in (or come back to watch online), but just in case you didn’t catch everything, I wanted to recap it here for you. Remember, even if you don’t live within driving distance of any of these destinations, pick a location a few hours from where you live and find a great zoo, cultural center or festival to explore on a day trip.

Don’t let your wallet (or your time) keep you from enjoying a great Fall Break with friends or family. Here are just a few unexpected destinations with some great events, restaurants and cultural centers that will be light on your wallet and drive time! These destination ideas are all within driving distance of Nashville (and many other states):

Kansas City, MO

Hilton President Hotel: Originally built in 1926, one of only 3 boutique hotels left in Kansas City. (Herbert Hoover actually gave his acceptance speech from the Mezzanine in the lobby!) After being closed for 20 years, the Hilton bought, renovated and reopened the property in 2006 in the new “Power & Light District” – 12 city blocks of restaurants and attractions. Read more of my Hilton President Hotel review

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
: This 8 acre farm themed amusement park is unlike anything I’ve ever taken my kids to. Not only are there many different types of farm animals to feed, pet and observe, there is also an old school town complete with a 1900 period bank and a mine where you can actually pan for play jewels! Also hay rides, pony rides, fishing pond, dairy barn and more. Free from M-Th and only $2 per person Fri-Sun.

Federal Reserve Money Museum: Free admission/tour. Watch how money is made, stored, sorted and more. An interesting look into our economy and nation’s history. You also get to walk out with a bag full of money! (It’s shredded, but still fun!)

Crown Center: This downtown shopping and dining district is home to many live music events, festivals, kids exhibitions (it was Clifford this summer) and even an outdoor skating rink in the winter. Located right next to the Hallmark Headquarters, make sure to stop and play in the Crayola store, check out the Children’s Theater or get a free sample of chocolate!

Kaleidescope: There’s no other way to describe this Hallmark initiative other than a children’s wonderland! Kids (and their family’s or school group) can go into this FREE multi-room imagination land and create without limits. They’ll find every Crayola art supply imaginable, plus lots of Hallmark scraps and are encouraged to play, play, play!

Smallcakes: A Cupcakery: Opened only a year ago, this delightful, family-run shop is adorned with pictures of the owners daughter and has already been featured on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” & “The View” where the ladies deemed them as having the best Red Velvet cupcake ever! I think they’re so popular because they truly help people appreciate the small pleasure and simple joys of life. That, and there caramel crunch cupcake! Read more of my Smallcakes review

Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant: Another family owned staple, Fritz’s has 3 locations in Kansas & MO, but each have their famous train delivery system. That’s right, in an effort to stay afloat during a time when labor costs were so high, Fritz’s owner invented a train that circled the upper perimeter of the restaurant and took food in a basket from the kitchen and dropped it off directly at the diners table. Great American favorites at extremely reasonable prices! Read more of my Fritz’s Restaurant review

Kansas City, KS

Less than a day’s drive from 9 states, Kansas City, KS is quickly becoming a popular family destination.

T-Rex Café: a family dining adventure. The original (and one of only 2 in the country) is here and includes a Paleo-Zone where kids can visit the Discover Dig Site as well as a Build-A-Dino experience (think Build-A-Bear with a prehistoric twist!). On Wednesday nights kids eat for only $2.99 after 4pm and pay only $.99 for the Paleo Zone. Read more of my TRex Cafe review

Legends Shopping Mall: Known for more than just shopping, this beautiful outdoor outlet mall has year-round activities, including asSpecial “My Santa Experience” and tree lighting in November. Also right across the street from the Minor League Baseball stadium and the soon to be Wizards soccer stadium!

Birmingham, AL

McWane Science Center: Has a reciprocal relationship for members of the Adventure Science Center here in Nashville. Dinosaur Day on 10/11, Spooktacular Sleepover (spend the night in the haunted museum) in October & Thanksgiving Camps.

Birmingham Zoo: They have a reciprocal relationship with the Nashville Zoo, which means you get in for free if you’re a member here! Check out “Boo at the Zoo” through the end of October and many other animal encounters and feeding opportunities.

Rock City/Lookout Mountain, TN

Located atop Lookout Mountain, just 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga, Rock City is a true marvel of nature featuring massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species, and breathtaking “See 7 States” panoramic views. Take an unforgettable journey along the Enchanted Trail where each step reveals natural beauty and wonders along the woodland path. Experience the magic of Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village, visit one of our regional gift shops and dine at the Big Rock Grill. Rock City is splendid year-round – “Each season there’s a new reason to visit!”. An annual pass is only $32 for adults. You won’t want to miss Fireside Nights – a new monthly concert series at the Rock City Starbucks (yes, Starbucks!), the Enchanted Maize or the Forest of Fear this fall!

Clothing for today’s on-air
segment was furnished by LuLu’s Clothing Company in Franklin, TN. Mention “Sami Cone” for a 20% discount when you shop there!

Several stores are offering FREE backpacks this week (most require payment up front with a rebate offer making them free). They are:
-Office Max (get 100% back in MaxPerks bonus rewards – limit 2)
-Staples (get 100% back in a Staples gift card – limit 1)
-Walgreens (Buy 1 Get 1 Free – certain backpacks)

Make sure you sign up for all the free store rewards programs first!

*Toys R Us
While it’s not a free backpack, they have extended their FREE lunch bag offer! Just buy any backpack ($12.99 or more), and you can pick out a FREE lunch kit (up to $9.99)! They also have all Crayola crayons, markers, and more on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free!

*Penny Deals
A couple stores have some remarkable penny deals going on this week:
-Office Max: 2 pocket folders (limit 6)
– Staples: Multi-purpose paper (500 sheets – limit 2), Bic Ballpoint pens (8 ct black – limit 2): ENDS WED!

*Other great deals this week
-Office max: Crayons (24 ct for $.05), markers (8 pack for $.25)
-Office Depot: Notebooks (6 pack for $.50), Rulers ($.05)
-CVS: lots of BOGO free deals (great to make use of Extra Care Bucks)
-K-mart & Target: lots of dollar deals
-Rite Aid: Buy 1 Mead Composition Book, get 2 FREE. Also get any of the following for $.29:
—Mead notebook, Harvard Square ru