Summer on a Budget: Planes, movies & museums

Posted June 17, 2008 6:39 a.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2008 9:02 a.m. EDT

— 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.

WRAL.com 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.