May 10, 2012 at 8:23 AM ET
Mothers everywhere will be lavished with love, cards, flowers and, perhaps, breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day on Sunday. On their special day, moms are also being offered free admission and activities at zoos, gardens, golf courses and other attractions around the country. Some offers are free; at others, mom gets in free if you buy one admission ticket. Here are a few for you and your mom to consider.
Take mom to the zoo
On Mother’s Day, moms can see the cute zoo babies and all the other animals for free at many zoos around the country, including the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Minnesota Zoo near the Mall of America, and at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, where Grammy Award-winner Irma Thomas will headline a day of fun and music.
Moms accompanying a paying guest will get to golf for free on Mother’s Day at the Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Lost Pines, Texas, and at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis.
In Bretton Woods, N.H., moms can take a free zip-line tour on Mother’s Day at the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour at the Omni Mount Washington Mount Washington Resort with the FOGO (fly one, get one) program.
And, as it has for more than 20 years, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Cañon City, Colo., will be letting moms in for free on Mother’s Day. (No accompanying ticket purchase required.) The park is home to one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, at 956 feet high, and spans a quarter mile across the canyon.
It takes a village – and some gardens
On Mother’s Day, moms get in free at Old Sturbridge Village, in Sturbridge, Mass., where there will be a “moms vs. kids” tug-of-war and special guests ranging from actors portraying an 1830s midwife to members of the Maternal Association, who will discuss the joys and challenges of raising children in the 19th century.
In Ashville, N.C., moms get in free with the purchase of a youth or adult ticket at the Biltmore Estate. In addition to being the largest private home in America (250 rooms; be glad you don’t have to clean them), the Biltmore has elaborate gardens and grounds designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
“Edith Vanderbilt, Biltmore’s original mom, was a great mom and hostess who entertained many families over the decades,” said LeeAnn Donnelly, spokeswoman for the Biltmore Estate. “We celebrate moms today keeping her flare for hospitality in mind.”
Hershey Gardens, the 23-acre botanical garden in Hershey, Penn., is celebrating its 75th anniversary and is offering free general admission to moms on May 13. So is the nearby Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue.
And for families who want to begin celebrating Mother’s Day weekend early, keep in mind that National Public Gardens Day takes place this year on Friday, May 11, and offers free admission to moms – and anyone who downloads a coupon – at dozens of public gardens around the country.
Of course, after all that golfing, zip-lining and walking through gardens, a relaxing session at a spa might be in order. Throughout Mother’s Day weekend, street teams will be roaming 15 U.S. cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Buffalo, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Milwaukee and Cleveland) handing out SpaFinder.com gift cards worth $100, along with tote bags filled with flowers, coupons and other goodies.
Why would attractions, golf courses and spas want to shower all this (free) love on moms? “Because getting you in the doors now can pay long-term dividends for them if you become a repeat visitor or recommend the attraction to your friends and family,” said Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance.
Doesn’t “nothing in life is truly free” sound like something a wise mom would tell you?
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