Ice dunes, dollar films provide entertainment

Most college students know what it’s like to be strapped for cash.  The importance of maintaining a stable budget can be tricky, but students can have fun in Erie without breaking the bank.

Fortunately, even in freezing temperatures, Erie still maintains much to offer its residents.

Being economically friendly is extremely important, according to Gannon University legal studies major A.J. Schumacher.

“Most college students are unemployed and borrow money,” he said. “They shouldn’t spend money they don’t have unless it’s a necessity.”

On a warm, sunny summer’s day, Presque Isle State Park is one of the best places to be in Erie.

It is also a marvel in the winter months, though you may want to leave the picnic at home; a thermos of hot chocolate and a pair of warm gloves provide for a fabulous hour or two on the peninsula.

The ice dunes that form on the shores of Presque Isle are stunning against the pink and orange Erie sunset. Kayla Bryson-Tucker, a junior physical therapy major, said she thinks the ice dunes are beautiful.

“They’re almost magical the way they form and the way they glisten,” she said. “They’re all a part of God’s beautiful creation.”

Just be sure to keep off the dunes.  Although they’re elegant, they’re also dangerous. Formed from lake ice, wave surge and freezing spray, the ice dunes can be deceivingly hollow and are unable to hold the weight of a person.

Another local attraction that students can enjoy without spending much money is Erie Bluffs State Park, just west of downtown.

This park is located on 450 acres of shoreline and provides for great outdoor adventures even in the winter months.  Many activities through the Tom Ridge Center are held in both parks. Starting Feb. 11, Erie Bluffs State Park will begin hosting a free tour.

“Erie Bluffs After Dark” takes tourists on a free two-mile hike throughout the park. These events occur monthly through the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.

Several events held by the Tom Ridge Center appeal to the more artistic minded, such as the “Discover Rhythm” series featuring performances by multiple dance groups including Lake Erie Ballet. Admission to the performances is free.

Many inexpensive forms of entertainment in Erie are available if you keep your eyes open.

For more information on this and future events, visit TREC’s website at www.trecpi.org. Everyone’s favorite date night include dinner and a movie, but to attend a show at Tinseltown can be difficult with expensive ticket prices.

Thankfully, it isn’t the only movie theater in the area. Just down the road from Tinseltown, located behind the Millcreek Mall, is “Cinemark Millcreek Cinema 6,” colloquially known as the dollar theater. This theater receives the films played at Tinsletown after their release dates have passed, and the tickets range from a manageable 75 cents on Mondays to $2 on the weekends, showing that patience really can pay off when it comes to viewing movies on the big screen.

With Valentine’s Day on the way, consider staying in and enjoying an evening alone without spending money at the Red Box.

Free DVD rentals are available at the Nash Library. Devan Omahen, a sophomore international studies and political science major, said she likes the convenience factor. “I really like not having to go out of my way to rent a movie,” she said.

Regardless of how creative you may be at compiling a list of entertaining weekend activities, one of the easiest and most fun is a classic game night.

Board games are often costly, but you can always count on a cheap deck of cards and dice. Numerous games can be played with these essential pieces, including Spite, Malice and Farkle.

Farkle is a great light-hearted game that lends itself to hours of harebrained excitement, and all you need is paper, a pen for scoring and six dice.

Entertainment usually comes with a price tag, but it doesn’t always have to. Instead of going out to dinner on pay day or going to Tinseltown and paying full price for a movie, invest in some more economically friendly ways to have fun. After all, it really is possible to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty about the cost.

JESSICA SCOUTEN

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