22 Cheap Nostalgia Trips for Seniors
There's something reassuring about things of old, and sometimes an urge to step back in time to relive youthful days. From admiring classic cars to strolling along a boardwalk, there are surprisingly inexpensive ways for the young at heart to recapture the spirit of yesteryear. Some locations might demand a visit -- or inspire you to find a similar activity closer to home.
Car buffs will delight in the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Located between Detroit and Chicago, the site boasts more than 400 vintage cars and motorcycles, a retro-styled diner, an old-fashioned gas station, and a packed calendar of lectures, car shows, films, and other events. Admission is $12.
The classic diner experience is fading, but there's still the Busy Bee, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Called a "greasy spoon par excellence" by a Yelp reviewer, this family-owned favorite has been drawing Bostonians in search of the classic breakfast for decades.
Hawaii is home to Pearl Harbor, attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, by the Japanese. The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, including the incredible sunken USS Arizona Memorial, offer perspective and the chance to pay respects to the fallen. Admission is free.
Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut, has been open since 1846 and is billed as the nation's oldest continually operating park. The retro atmosphere includes roller coasters such as the Wildcat, "thrilling families since 1927," and the Boulder Dash, "voted world's No. 1 wooden coaster." People over 60 get in for $23.
If a quiet spin on a carousel sounds better, check out Playland in Rye, New York. Its 1915 carousel features some 66 horses sporting jewel-studded harnesses and chariot seats around a rare Gavioli band organ. Admission to the 280-acre amusement park is $30 (cheaper for spectators and Westchester residents).
Family road trips to classic destinations were a part of so many childhoods -- kicking the seats, whining for a rest stop, and, oh, yes, seeing some national treasures. Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, is as impressive as ever, and still free.
With email continuing to replace the handwritten letter, it's nice to remember a time when missives came through the mail. Go back to the roots of the mail service at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, where the tale comes to life in video, tours, exhibitions, and special events. Senior admission is $5.
Aviation fans will marvel at the history on display the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Ohio -- including the first practical airplane built by the Wright Brothers in 1905. Only one site in the park charges admission: The Dayton History at Carillon Park asks $7 from those 60 and older.
Pack into the old station wagon, head to the drive-in, hit the snack bar, and let the fun begin. An experience lost forever? Not yet, thanks to a handful of holdouts nationwide screening classics as well as new releases. Options include the seasonal Warwick Drive-In in Warwick, New York ($8 senior admission), and the year-round Vineland Drive-In & Swap Meet in City of Industry, California (starting at $9 for weekday admission).
The Brimfield Antique Show and Flea Market is actually a collection of shows on fields dotting an otherwise quiet two-lane road. Held for a week each May, July, and September, it offers a seemingly endless array of antiques, collectibles, and other quirky finds. Most fields are free; some charge up to $6 admission.
Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery, founded in 1850, serves as the final resting place of city -- and national -- notables, including golf legend Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell. The grounds, with free admission, are also noted for their sculpture, architecture, and gardens. Tours are $6 for seniors 65 and older.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is not only the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America but also one of the 10 largest churches in the world. Admission is free.