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Weekend Fun Guide

New England attractions: How to see more, save money

Take advantage of vacation destinations with “second day free” promotions.

MAKE A PLAN

A view of Strawbery Banke Museum.

David Kamerman/Globe file

A view of Strawbery Banke Museum.

Some of New England’s big attractions offer “second day free’’ promotions, letting you stretch your vacation dollar and allowing a more leisurely sightseeing pace. Before heading out, it’s a good idea to study the website or brochure to figure out what to see first and what to save for later. Visitors to Strawbery Banke Museum (603-433-1100, strawberybanke.org), a 10-acre, 37-building outdoor history attraction in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, often return for a second day because they “underestimated how much there was to see and do,” says marketing director Stephanie Seacord. (Your ticket is good for two consecutive days.) She recommends touring the buildings on the first day, then coming back to have more in-depth conversations with the historic role-players or to try some of the hands-on demonstrations such as the working loom. The same advice applies to Old Sturbridge Village (800-733-1830, osv.org), a history attraction in Sturbridge that offers a free second day within 10 days of your first visit.

REDISCOVER YOUR SENSE OF DISCOVERY

One of the three newest members to the Mystic Aquarium's African Penguin exhibit dives under the water during the first public appearance at the Mystic Aquarium's African Penguin exhibit in Stonington, Conn., Tuesday April 22, 2014. Three penguin chicks hatched in late January as part of the Species Survival Program and have been cared for by their parents and staff trainers, according to The Day. (AP Photo/The Day, Tim Cook) MANDATORY CREDIT

Tim Cook/Associated Press

Mystic Aquarium's African Penguin exhibit.

Many vacationers travel to the Shelburne Museum (802-985-3346, shelburnemuseum.org) in Shelburne, Vermont, for the marquee attractions — like the restored steamship Ticonderoga or the first Monet painting ever collected in the United States — only to find themselves lingering longer than they expected. “You’ll come for one thing and discover 12 things you never thought you’d see and just love,” says membership manager Alissa Auerbach (good thing admission also gets you in the next day). Auerbach suggests planning on a slow pace from the beginning to foster a sense of discovery. There’s also space for serendipity at Mystic Aquarium (860-572-5955, mysticaquarium.org) in Mystic, Connecticut, which offers free admission for two additional consecutive days with your validated admission ticket. Down the road, Mystic Seaport (860-572-0711, mysticseaport.org), a maritime museum with hands-on exhibits and historical interpreters, also offers complimentary second-day admission.

HAVE KIDS? BE STRATEGIC

Cinderella’s castle at Story Land.

Story Land

Cinderella’s castle at Story Land.

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When traveling with young children, two-day admissions can comfortably slow things down, meaning more Kodak moments, fewer epic meltdowns. Story Land (603-383-4186, storylandnh.com) in Glen, New Hampshire, has a “last three, next day free’’ policy: Enter in the last three hours of operation one day, get a free pass to come back for a second day any time that season. Assistant general manager Jack Mahany says families should take advantage of the thinner crowds during their first afternoon. “Go around and look for a short line,” he says. “Hit things like the antique cars that usually have a long line.’’ This summer, there could be crowds at the new Roar-O-Saurus, which was just named one of “the most insane new US roller coasters’’ by CNN. To avoid shivering through air-conditioned attractions in swimsuits, savvy visitors to Santa’s Village (603-586-4445, santasvillage.com) in Jefferson, New Hampshire — which also has a “last three” policy — can stay dry on day one to ride the rides and see the shows, then come decked out in water gear for day two to make merry at the Ho Ho H2O Water Park.

Vacationomics: The jobs report

429 million — Earned days off American workers failed to use last year, according to the US Travel Association

$160 billion — The estimated spending the economy lost out on as a result

508,000 — Number of restaurant jobs expected to be added in the us this season, according to the National Restaurant Association

30,400 — Number expected to be added in Massachusetts, the third most in the country (after California and New York)

126,500 — Number of jobs supported by the Massachusetts tourism industry overall

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