Good Life

Communities that Care: Tips to beat summer heat for cheap

State College is a great place for free and low-cost summer activities to keep the family busy. From Arts Fest to the arboretum, to all of the great parks, it is easy to get outside and enjoy the summer weather. But what do you do when the rain, heat and humidity of central Pennsylvania force you to seek air conditioning for the day? Luckily, there is no shortage of events that will keep the family happy (and cool) throughout the summer. Here are my top five ways to beat the heat this summer:

$1 films

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings throughout the summer, UEC Cinemas will hold “$1 Movies.” As the name suggests, your ticket only costs $1. The movies are family friendly and change weekly. For the schedule, visit or UEC’s Facebook page.


When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get to the bowling alley every week. Now, Northland Bowl has made this fun activity even more reasonable. If you register at, children younger than 14 can bowl two free games every day over the summer. For an additional $25, you can register your entire family (grandparents too) for two free games every day as well. This is a great way to stay cool and active when the weather turns sticky.


I know I am stretching my promise of air conditioning here, but this is a summer classic. Swimming helps you beat the heat and keeps you fit at the same time. Centre County has scores of community pools and lakes that can be visited for little to no cost. And for those stormy days, check your local YMCA. If you aren’t a member, guest passes are reasonably priced.

Discovery Space

Located just off Allen Street in State College, this is a great place for young kids to go and get “hands-on” with science. It is a great place to explore and they also offer camps and classes throughout the summer, if your child wants to get more involved.

Penn State

With the students (mostly) gone, it is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of all that campus offers. Besides the Palmer Museum of Art, there is the Matson Anthropology Museum (think culture and history), Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum and the All-Sports Museum, to name just a few. Ducking into one of these museums is a great (and educational) way to spend an afternoon. Plus, you’ll be close to the Creamery for a quick pit stop on your way home.