Summer on a Budget: Planes, movies & museums

Posted June 17, 2008

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— Watching airplanes can be mesmerizing, and there’s no better view than at Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s observation park. For many families, that is one of their favorite free activities. asked viewers to share their favorite budget-friendly things to do in the Triangle over the summer.

Many people wrote in about the airport’s observation park, which includes picnic tables, a playground and a covered deck where visitors can watch the runways. Speakers pipe in sounds from air traffic controllers.

“You are hearing the pilots, (who) are getting ready to take off or land, getting clearance,” said RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer.

WRAL viewers also suggested movie theaters that offer free family movies on weekday mornings, such as Marquee Cinemas in North Raleigh. Here’s a tip: Get there early.

For the adults, the Campus Cinema at North Carolina State University offers free movies this summer.

“It's open to the public. We are mainly student-oriented because we are on campus, but we still get a lot of people from around the area,” said Bobby Fitzjohn.

The movies are on their way out of traditional theaters but are not yet on DVD. The concession prices are another draw – soda for $1 and a large popcorn for $1.50.

Another free favorite is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Besides the popular exhibits, there are programs such as “Meet the Animals” where kids get can get close to all sorts of critters.

Thursday on WRAL’s Morning News at 6, WRAL reporter Kim Dean explores some budget-friendly outdoor activities.


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  • wyheel Jun 17, 2008

    racinjunki... I do both, and didn't know it was a series.
    In fact, I just watched the lunch news version, and don't remember any mention of it being a series.
    But then again, I was concentrating on my Thai noodle bowl too, LOL!

  • enots Jun 17, 2008

    I have forwarded this link to all my friends and the PTA group. These movies are a great outing. Make a picnic and head out after the movie to a local park and enjoy the afternoon.

  • racinjunki Jun 17, 2008

    Waste of bandwidth wyheel? If you watch WRAL TV or actually read the online version, you would know this is a new series. I hope there are a lot more to come.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Jun 17, 2008

    Library, walking paths, hiking, all the lakes have to offer, camping locally, volleyball courts, Tennis courts, etc...

  • wyheel Jun 17, 2008

    Wow, a measly 3 suggestions is all WRAL could manage?
    Waste of bandwidth, this "article" is.....

  • davidgnews Jun 17, 2008

    train guy - you get what you pay for !

  • mrtwinturbo Jun 17, 2008

    I just sit on the front porch and stare at my garage furniture wondering what it would be like to have a full tank

  • train guy Jun 17, 2008

    Durham Bulls. The tickets are cheaper than the movies & if you go on Thursday night, they have $1 Hot dogs, $1 Popcorn, & $1 French Fries.