$25 and 2 Hours: 7 Clever Ways to Use Your Time + Money in Kalamazoo this Holiday

Kids sending letter to Santa - Kalamazoo

Recharge From Holiday Burnout With These Wallet-Friendly Activities

Is it just me or does each holiday season seem to be busier than the last?

Between gift shopping, classroom parties, numerous family get-togethers, and endlessly scouring Pinterest to find new ways to display the Elf on a Shelf, it’s easy to find your tank running on empty.

When to-do lists are never-ending and your energy is waning, a quick break from the Christmas hustle and bustle is in order. While grabbing the sand toys and heading over to our favorite Lake Michigan beach to keep the brood entertained may not be in the cards, there are plenty of other options for holiday and everyday fun.

So clear a couple hours on your calendar, grab your family or someone from your tribe, and check out these clever family- and wallet-friendly activities happening near Kalamazoo.

Holiday Light Display

Gull Meadow Farms

7 Fabulously Fun Ideas to Try with the Family

Grab ahold of the winter season by making time to come together as a family, all without breaking the bank. Here are our 7 suggestions for fun suitable for all ages and interests.

1 – Walk Through the Lights at Gull Meadow Farms

Our family can’t wait to check out this new Gull Meadow Farms event and make it a family tradition. As Christmas music fills the air, you’ll walk through greenhouses that twinkle with more than 100,000 lights, choreographed light displays, holiday inflatables, and classic Christmas displays featuring vintage sleighs, a mini Christmas village, and plenty of photo ops. 

Budget Friendly holiday activities near Kalamazoo - Light Display

For an additional cost, get a souvenir mug of hot chocolate or cider to warm your hands while you wander. Doesn’t it sound dreamy?

Thursday – Sunday, through December 22
Cost: $4 per person

2 – Pancakes & Pins at Airway Fun Center

The only thing better than unlimited bowling? All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes. A party of two can enjoy both at Airway Fun Center for less than $25. It’s a wonderful way to spend your Sunday mornings with family and friends; just be sure to wash the syrup off your hands before your turn.

Sundays, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM 
Cost: $11/person

3 – Animal Survival Hike For Kids and Families at Chipman Preserve, Galesburg

If outdoor hikes are more your family’s jam, don’t overlook Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) and their numerous kid- and dog-friendly events. In this particular guided hike, families will enjoy exercise and free play while learning how animals adapt to Michigan’s cold winters. Afterward, warm up in the Chipman House while making an animal-themed craft.

Sunday, December 8, 3:30 PM

Advanced registration is preferred – can be done online or call 269-324-1600.

Know before you go: There are no restrooms on the trails at Chipman Preserve. You can also bring snacks and beverages.

4 – Ornament Decorating & Letters to Santa at Chick-fil-A

If your family is as obsessed with Chick-fil-A’s chicken nugs as I am, you’ll want to check out this kid-friendly event where you can eat, drink, and be merry. With each kid’s meal purchase, you’ll receive an ornament decorating kit and kids can also write a letter to Santa. Plus, bond over TableTopics, an engaging set of questions included with each kid’s meal.

Tuesday, December 10, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Cost: varies


5 – Angel Teen Gift Giving at Salvation Army Angel Tree Locations

There’s no better feeling than helping someone in need and brightening their day. It can be tough to know what to buy a teenager for Christmas, but you can make a teen’s Christmas a little brighter by donating a gift or gift card for them to spend as they choose. Simply drive to your nearest retail store and purchase a $25 gift card. Drop the card off in a sealed envelope at the Kalamazoo Salvation Army.

Through December 16
Cost: $25

Good to know: Indicate the amount on the card and place it in a sealed envelope marked “Angel Teen” before dropping it off at 1700 South Burdick Street, Kalamazoo. Hours are Monday through Friday, between 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

6 – Open Gym at Kids Gym, Inc.

My kiddos flip over Kids Gym – literally. Kids can jump, run, flip, bounce, and climb while parents sit back and observe (and ooh and ahh over the bouncy floors). There’s a Little Gym for smaller children and the Big Gym for kids six and older. More details on Open Gym time.

September – May
Cost: $10/child

Good to know: Pre-registration is not required / waiver must be completed.

Boy at Gymnastics class Kalamazoo

7 – GQT Tuesdays at GQT Kalamazoo 10

It’s a reel deal: Every Tuesday, GQT Kalamazoo 10 offers moviegoers discount tickets for $6. Not only will you enjoy discounted tickets to any movie of your choosing, but you’ll also enjoy free drink refills of any size and 50¢ popcorn refills of any size. No restrictions – simply show up on a Tuesday.

Cost: $6/ticket

Good to know: New movies are released on Tuesday afternoons.

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