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LJWorld.com weblogs Common cents

How to enjoy Lawrence on a budget

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Where are some of the best places in Lawrence to hang out on the cheap? I've rounded up some ideas to help us get started:1) [Recreation Centers][1]. Lawrence's several recreation facilities offer free exercise and entertainment opportunities . . . so you don't need to pay for a gym membership! A sampling of opportunities at the Community Building, East Lawrence Recreation Center, and Holcom Park Recreation Center: -Locker/shower facilities -Full-size gymnasiums -Wellness/weight rooms with cardio equipment -Dance studio -Meeting rooms with access to a kitchenette. I had my graduation party in the Kathy Fode room of the [South Park Recreation Center][2]. As you can see from the Web site, it costs $18 an hour to rent. The kitchenette kept us lavishly stocked with a microwave, fridge and freezer. -Game area (billiards, foosball, table tennis) -Combination racquetball/handball court 2) Golfing. At Lawrence's [Eagle Bend Golf Course][3], 11 year olds and younger can golf for free Monday through Friday as long as there is a paid adult per round. For those with big families, remember the limit of two juniors per paying adult. Lawrence also has [two disc golf courses][4]: Centennial Park and Riverfront Park. Although you have to bring your own discs instead of a golf ball (hence the name, obviously), it's free.3) [Prairie Park Nature Center][5]. City sales tax funds made possible this free center with interactive displays and wildlife. The center also features walking trails to Mary's Lake, where people can enjoy fishing. Children don't need fishing permits, but all adults must have a valid fishing license, which residents can obtain at $20.15 a year from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.4) Movies. Besides the usual discounts such as [Liberty Hall][6]'s two tickets for the price of one on Tuesdays, you can also check out the library . . . and get movies for free. Maria Butler, community relations coordinator at the [Lawrence Library][7], highlighted the library's treasure trove of feature films, TV shows and informational DVDs. Come September, the TV shows will be moved into the library's "media room" with an expanded loan period of 14 days. Just how recent are these? Well, season six of the "Monk" has just been ordered, and season seven of "Smallville" is on order. Warning: Popular titles go quickly, so be willing to wait and request them on your library card.5) [Indoor/outdoor aquatic centers][8]. Children 5-17 and seniors 60 and older pay $3; adults 18-59 pay $4. Those 4 and younger are free with paid adult admission, but remember the limit of three children per paying adult. Families could also pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of Lawrence's 52 parks. 6) [Dog Parks][9]. If you're looking for everyday entertainment, treat your pet to one of two Lawrence Dog Parks - Mutt Run near Sesquicentennial Point and the Riverfront Park Dog Park.7) Last but not least, surf the [Lawrence Journal-World's Web site][10] and leave comments ... for free![Thanks to Lisa Patterson, city spokeswoman, and Maria Butler, library community relations coordinator, for helping me compile these tips.]Where are your favorite family-friendly Lawrence haunts that don't break your budget?[If you're part of a Lawrence organization or business with special deals for recreation/entertainment, feel free to [e-mail me][11].] [1]: http://www.lprd.org/recreationfacilities.shtml [2]: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/lprd/recreationfacilities/sprc.shtml [3]: http://www.lprd.org/eaglebend.shtml [4]: http://www.lprd.org/recreationfacilities/discgolf.shtml [5]: http://www.lprd.org/ppnc.shtml [6]: http://www.libertyhall.net/ [7]: http://www.lawrence.lib.ks.us/ [8]: http://www.lprd.org/aquatics.shtml [9]: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/lprd/recreationfacilities/muttrun.shtml [10]: http://www2.ljworld.com/ [11]: http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/shanxi_upsdell/contact/

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