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Raindrops on roses and free admission: a few of my favorite things

We all like free stuff, and when we’re traveling – and paying $3.50-plus for a gallon of gas – we’re especially appreciative of anything free. Thursday, several press releases announcing free admission crossed my desk. Here’s a rundown:

*SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, sister parks, are offering a free Preschool Pass for Florida residents age 5 and younger. The pass is good for unlimited admission at both parks through Dec. 31, with no blackout dates. The pass is available only through an online registration process at the Busch Gardens or SeaWorld websites.

*Red Mountain Resort in British Columbia, which has snow while a number of resorts in the western U.S. have only skimpy amounts, is offering up to 30 days of free lift passes for U.S. residents who book lodging at the resort. Red Mountain has received about two feet of snow since Christmas Eve, and all lifts are operating. To get the free passes, book through Red Mountain Resort lodging using the booking code “RedsGotSnow” or by phone at 877-969-SNOW (7669).

*The National Park Service is giving free admission to more than 100 national parks Jan. 14-16 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend and has also announced its other fee-free days. Fee-free days apply only to park admission, not to campsite fees, tours or other charges. Other fee-free days are April 21-29 (National Park Week); June 9 (“Get Outdoors Day”); Sept. 29 (National Public Lands Day); and Nov. 10-12 (Veterans Day weekend). Some national parks are free to enter year-round; for a list of parks waiving admission fees, click here.

Meanwhile, although not free, Disney is offering Florida residents a particularly good multi-day deal for the first part of the year. The Wild for 3-Day Pass offers three days in its theme parks for $99 or a Wild for 4-Day Pass for $129. The passes, which are good through May 24 (and must be purchased by May 21), are good for entry into one Disney World park per day -- they are not Park Hopper passes, although they can be upgraded to Park Hoppers for $27.50 per ticket. There are blackout dates, and Florida resident ID is required. Click here for information.