As flags wave and the red, white and blue is celebrated, it's a good time to highlight the bargain perks that are included as a part of military service. Local businesses, national chains and leisure attractions in our multi-branch town know the value of the military discount. Here are some of the retailers and venues that offer a service-related deal.
Kings Dominion offers free admission to military members, including active duty, retired and former members of the military of all branches on Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4. Coast Guard, National Guard and reservists are included in the offer. Family members will pay the military rate, $34.99.
Busch Gardens participates in the Here's to the Heroes program, which offers free admission to active duty military members once a year. Busch Gardens' sister park, SeaWorld also participates in the program. Register at herosalute.com.
Colonial Williamsburg offers several discount options. As part of the Blue Star Museums program, admission to the art museums is free to military members and their families through Labor Day. The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News are also a part of the Blue Star program. The Contemporary Art Center of Virginia also is participating in the free admission program.
There is a 10 percent discount on tickets for the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area at the visitor center, but the best deal is the 30 percent discount offered at the Moral, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) offices.
New this year, all active duty and veteran military members will receive free admission to all Virginia state parks through the end of the year.
Many local attractions offer $1 off admission every day for military families, including Nauticus in Norfolk, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk and the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach.
On October 16, military members get free admission to the Virginia Zoo.
Most shows at the Hampton Coliseum include a military discount, says marketing manager Crystal Breede. Right now, military members can get $5 off Monster Jam tickets, which are regularly $20.
Each of these discounts were confirmed with a store in Hampton Roads, but some retail chains leave the discount up to individual managers' discretion.
Aeropostale offers a 10 percent discount. Express and Hot Topic also offer 10 percent off.
New York & Company offers a 15 percent off discount.
On Mondays, the Old Navy at Patrick Henry Mall has a 10 percent off discount for military families. Patrick Henry Mall has a complete list of military discounts on its website, shoppatrickhenrymall.com, and participating merchants also have signs in their store display windows.
On Tuesdays, Walgreens offers a 15 percent off discount, or 20 percent off of Walgreens branded products. Many Goodwill stores also offer a military discount one day of the week.
At the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, military members can get a free VIP coupon book from the customer service desk (regularly $3).
The Happy Belly in Poquoson offers a 10 percent discount to military diners every evening. Dairy Queen also offers a discount.
The IHOP restaurant on Mercury Boulevard in Hampton offers a 10 percent discount every day. On Wednesdays from 5 to 10 p.m., military members get a 50 percent off discount.
Some of the best military discounts are available on vacation packages. The website BedandBreakfast.com has compiled a list of more than 80 inns that offer 10 to 25 percent off for military families.
Most on-base Leisure Travel and Information, Ticket and Tours offices offer discounted travel deals for members of the military and Department of Defense employees, says Dan Yount, program manager for Army Leisure Travel Services.
"Typical destinations include Atlanta, Branson, Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, New York City, Ocean City, Orlando and Washington DC," Yount says. "Some discounts are exclusive to the military, but most military discounts are extended to anyone with DOD identification."
The website offdutytravel.com also offers good travel deals, including discounts on airfare.
Leisure Travel and ITT Offices at Fort Eustis can be reached at 878-3694. Call 764-7176 for the travel office atLangley Air Force Base.
The website nannies4hire.com offers a 20 percent discount on membership fees.
Both Lowes and Home Depot offer a 10 percent discount to active duty military families.
Federal employees can get a discount on their cell phone service with most carriers.
Apple has a special section of its website for government employees. Visit apple.com/r/store/government to shop. Dell also has a section of its website for federal employees. Look under the "Public Sector" tab on dell.com to find the link.
Military families who shop at the Commissary can sign up for a free P&G coupon booklet at thefamilyunitpg.com. And shoppers who "Like" the Navy Exchange on Facebook can print off extra coupons for money off tennis shoes, beach bags and luggage.
In the spring, the Defense Commissary Agency announced that it would introduce a loyalty card later this year that would allow shoppers to download digital coupons.
And no bargain-focused article would be complete without mention of a daily deal website. The site troopswap.com focuses specifically on military families.
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Although there is no comprehensive list of military discounts available, there are several places you can look for updates.