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I am not a Military Momma, but I have nothing but the greatest respect for them. Not only are they a “single parent” for long periods of time, but they do it knowing their loved one is often in often harm’s way. Or, some Military Mommas are the ones who are away serving themselves for many months away from their kiddos. Either way, I am sure it is a very tough life and I am excited to do a post with a few tips I have found when traveling or looking for things close to home to do with the kiddos while Dad (or Mom) is away.
I have a cousin who is currently serving in the military and he has a wife and two children, ages 4 and 6. They are going to be staying with family over the summer in a different state in order to have more support around for the children. Being on a military salary, they are on a budget, but still need fun things to do. Being the crazy obsessive internet researcher that I am, I started looking for some free or inexpensive things for the kiddos to do. I was amazed and proud of how many companies offer free or discounted services and tickets for families with someone who is actively serving in the military.
One of the big ones I found for them was SeaWorld/Busch Gardens. If you register online for their Here’s to the Heroes program and bring your military ID to the park, you can get free tickets for the active duty military personnel as well as up to three of their immediate family members. That is amazing and a great savings over the normal cost of admission. BTW, I also noticed that teachers, at least in Texas, can get a pass to get in free as well.
Disney World also offers a fantastic deal to military families by offering a 4 day ticket for only $138 each. That is a substantial discount over the regular price! Disneyland offers a 3 day Park Hopper ticket under a similar promotion for only $99. Disney extends the offer not only to active duty military families, but also retired military families. You can get up to six tickets for family members or friends with this offer. Disney World even has a resort property, Shades of Green, that exclusively caters to military families at prices far below the regular resorts.
Another great benefit available to military families is the Blue Star Museum Initiative. This program provides free museum admission at over 1,300 museums across the country to active military personnel and their families all summer long. You need to show your military ID and you can bring up to five immediate family members with you. I saw all sorts of museums on this list. From children’s museums, to Presidential Libraries, to fine art museums, to botanical gardens, and more.
Many hotels and other attractions that I looked at also offered discounts to active duty military families. I also can’t go too long without talking about some points benefits unique to military families…..One of my favorite credit cards, the American Express Platinum, comes with amazing benefits, but a large annual fee of $450. However, with AMEX (and presumably other credit card companies), where someone is on active duty you get the following fees waived: annual membership fees, over limit fees, late payment fees, and return payment fees. The biggest one that caught my eye was the annual fee. Especially with the AMEX Platinum, waiving the annual fee makes obtaining this card a no-brainer. Sign up when they are offering a Membership Rewards sign-up bonus and use the Membership Rewards and other benefits to help keep your family happy and entertained while your loved one is away serving.
I am a true novice when it comes to the military world, and I am sure others have many more tips (please share!), but hopefully some of these tips will benefit my cousin’s family and others as well. Here is Little C dressed in her Red, White, and Blue ensemble in honor of all of the Military Mommas (and Daddies). As always, thanks for your service to all the military families out there!