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Discount Diva: 7 cheap ways to stay busy during winter break

For some families, winter break can seem like the longest week of the year. But not if you get out there and have some fun. Here are seven ways to stay busy this week on the cheap.

• Try Hockey for Free Day. At various times and locations Saturday, participating rinks across Western New York will open their doors for free to give children ages 4 through 9 a taste of youth hockey as part of Hockey Week Across America. Rinks will have a limited amount of gear to lend. To find a location, visit TryHockeyForFree.com.

• Discounted Skating at Canalside. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, skaters wearing red, white and blue will get both their admission and their skate rental for just $8. (The combined price is usually $9 for kids and $11 for adults).

Open skating is available the rest of the week, too, with varying hours. Show your BlueCross BlueShield card and receive $1 off admission and $1 off skate rental. The Ice at Canalside is located at Main and Scott streets. For hours and more information, visit CanalsideBuffalo.com.

• Prince & Princess party. Kids will be able to meet storybook princesses, Prince Charming and a “friendly beast” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. There will also be princess makeovers from Clinique, face painting and balloon artistry. It happens in Center Court at Boulevard Mall, 730 Alberta Drive in Amherst. Admission is free. For more information, call 834-4970.

• STEM Week at the carousel. The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St. in North Tonawanda, has a bunch of awesome events planned this week and they’re all included with the regular price of admission.

The activities – steeped in science, technology, engineering and math – include making ice cream, magnet mazes, paper airplanes, Popsicle stick bombs and cleaning pennies.

The activities take place from noon to 4 p.m. today through Friday. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children and free for kids 2 and younger.

Admission includes a token to ride the historic carousel. For more information, call 693-1885.

• Sensational Fun. This recreational play center caters to children with special needs. Complete with a climbing wall and ball pit, the center is also specially trained to interact with and calm children with special needs.

The center is closed Mondays. On Tuesdays, it’s open to children of all abilities. Admission is $9 and is good for the entire day.
It’s located at 2881 Southwestern Blvd. in Orchard Park. For more information, call 674-7001.

• Explore Even More. The children’s museum has special programming all week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Programs are free with admission, which is $7 for those age 2 and older or free for children age 1 and younger or those receiving WIC or SNAP benefits. The museum is located at 300 Gleed Ave. in East Aurora. For more information, call 655-5131.

• Rolly Pollies. This giant, clean, colorful kid’s gym offers an hour of open play from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. There’s everything from a bounce house and balance beams to a zip line and ball pit. Special Needs at Play programming is offered from 4 to 5 p.m. Monday and Thursday for the same price.

There are two locations, at 9630 Transit Road in East Amherst and 4058 North Buffalo Road in Orchard Park. For more information, call 689-6151 about East Amherst and 662-7424 for Orchard Park.

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