After the heat and crowds of summer, the many bargains available in September at Florida attractions are a fall bonus for Floridians. The weather might not be crisp yet, but there are many deals in the wind.
September brings us Swaptember, when the annual passholders of MOSI, the Florida Aquarium and the Lowry Park Zoo get access to all three facilities for the month.
The Glazer Children's Museum is celebrating its sixth birthday with $6 admission after Labor Day. Admission is normally $15, $9.50 for children but from Tuesday through Sept. 30 it will be only $6. The museum opened its doors next to Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park on Sept. 25, 2010. So the weekend of Sept. 24-25, admission will be free for a weekend "Particle Party" with free birthday cupcakes.
Halloween at themeparks
If you love horror and Halloween, you can save a lot of money by going in September and midweek to theme park parties that are already getting started. There are savings of more than $40 a ticket in some cases.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: The only time of year you can wear a costume in the Magic Kingdom is this after-hours party in the park, which runs Friday through Halloween on select nights. Early September prices start at $72, $67 for kids. They climb to $79 on Sept. 29 and keep climbing in October to $105 for Halloween night, which usually sells out. The park closes at 7 p.m., but people with Halloween party tickets can get in as early at 4 p.m. There's also a lot of extras such as special entertainment, character meet and greets, treat stations, a special parade and fireworks. disneyworld.disney.go.com.
Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream: Tickets to Busch Gardens' annual scare fest with seven haunted houses and roaming hordes of scare actors also get more expensive in October, rising to $65 and $70 closer to Halloween. But you can get in to the Freaky Preview on Sept. 23 and 24 for $45.99. It also costs less if you go on a weekday. Get a four-pack ticket deal that starts at $35.99 per person, plus discounts for pass members. howloscream.com.
Universal's Halloween Horror Nights: The most popular Halloween destination in the state this year brings a stellar lineup of horror icons including haunted houses based on The Exorcist, The Walking Dead, Freddy vs. Jason, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween 2 and American Horror Story starting Sept. 16. Universal has a range of Florida resident deals, especially if you go on a weeknight in September when tickets are $55.99-$82.99, a savings of $22-$50 from the gate price. There are also hotel and vacation packages that save by bundling costs. halloweenhorrornights.com.
Give heroes a hand
Legoland is giving first responders free admission during the month of September and a 10 percent discount on stays at the Legoland Hotel. The deal is available to law enforcement, fire and rescue and EMS personnel working in the United States, as well as corrections officers, forest rangers and Homeland Security agents. legoland.com/hero2016.
Busch Gardens and SeaWorld offer free admission for a year for active duty military, reservist, or National Guard and up to three dependents. wavesofhonor.com.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.