Each year, some of the most popular family destinations and theme parks honor the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform by offering military specials that can range from discounts to free. Here are some of the best deals for servicemembers looking to save a bundle!
These free summer camps were developed by the National Military Family Association to provide a fun, memorable experience for military children and give them the requisite tools to deal with the stresses of parental deployment. Each year, Operation Purple hosts about 10,000 kids in a total of 40 weeks of camp in 25 states and Okinawa.
Camps are open to children of military members of all ranks and services, including the active and reserve components. The association gives priority to children with a parent who has deployed or will deploy within a 15-month window. One big benefit of the camps is that they connect children with their peers who have had similar experiences.
Disneyworld and Disneyland
For the past four years, the Walt Disney Company has been offering various versions of their Armed Forces Salute. Active duty and retired service members and their spouse are eligible for family discounted theme park tickets and discounts on Disney Resorts. Permanently Disabled Veterans are also eligible for this offer. Spouses of eligible members are able to participate without the member being present. Tickets can be purchased at the US military base ticket office with valid ID.
Seaworld Parks & Entertainment
This group includes Seaworld Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego; Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay and Williamsburg; and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. A Department of Defense ID entitles any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman to free admission under the Here's to the Heroes program. With valid ID, up to three direct dependents of the servicemember may take advantage of the offer without their service member when accompanied by an adult.
Six Flags America
Military Appreciation Days grant free admission to all 19 amusement parks and theme parks located throughout North America. With a military ID, any active-duty member of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard receives a complimentary one-day admission to the park. Watch the website to see when 2012 Military Appreciation Days are scheduled.
Knott's Berry Farm
The theme park's Military Tribute, the annual tradition of honoring the brave men and women who have served both past and present, is in its 23nd year. Several times during the year, veterans and active duty military can gain free admission to this Southern California amusement park. The free-admission offer applies to all U.S. veterans and active military personnel and their spouse or guest. Up to six additional tickets may be purchased at a reduced price. US veterans and active military can also receive a military discount at Knott's Resort Hotel.
This movie studio and amusement park in Los Angeles and Orlando provides discount options to members of the Armed Forces all year long. Eligible members include retirees, Defense department personnel, members of the National Guard/Reserves, dependents and all other base personnel.
San Diego Zoo
Located just north of downtown San Diego, the 100-acre Zoo is one of the most popular in the country. Active-duty U.S. and foreign military personnel are given a free 1-Day Pass to see the 3,700 rare and endangered animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies and 700,000 exotic plant botanical garden. Discount packages for the entire family can be purchased through base MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) or Ticket and Tour offices at military base locations around the United States.