News 12 at 11 o'clock, April 5, 2010
AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Masters week kicked off today, but so did spring break for students around the area.
Some businesses aimed at children, like Adventure Crossing and Fort Discovery in Augusta, have been hit by hard times. They opened their doors today hoping to cash in.
Recently schools have said to be taking students on fewer field trips, and with money tight for parents, some childhood hot spots have had to cut back their hours. But since families have also been cutting back on spring break trips, companies saw extra hours as a perfect way to make money in exchange for some local family fun.
Kids like Austin McKay and Ashlyn Bolen came to Adventure Crossing to shoot some hoops, drive go-karts and compete to be the "master" of the miniature golf course.
"It's hot, nice and it's a lot of fun," McKay said about getting the ball rolling on his spring break. "You get to play golf with your friends."
"I wanted to get outside in the warm air and have some fun," Bolen said.
Parents brought their children to Adventure Crossing all day, even though it's a day the doors would normally be closed, manager Johnnie Cropps said.
"It brings in a lot of extra business," Cropps said. "It's so busy, traffic and everything elsewhere, so you can come here a couple hours and you can just stay here."
Parents also brought their children to Fort Discovery. The building is up for sale and they have recently cut their hours, now only open three days a week. Adventure Crossing also had to cut its hours to three days a week during the wintertime, due to hard times.
The cutbacks are a reason the extra foot traffic is so important to keeping their businesses afloat.
Fort Discovery is offering spring break camps for kids while their parents are at work, but the science center also attracted people from out of town, said camp leader Joshua Bush.
"It was really busy all day," Bush said. "We had some customers from Japan."
They also had families like 5th grader Sammy Verdino's, who came in from Columbia, S.C. to check the place out, even though he is not a big fan of science books in school.
"It was fun," Verdino said. "When it comes to this kind of science I'm 'giddy', as (the Fort Discovery employees) told me."
The kids are just hoping for good times during spring break, but businesses will be open all week in hope the extra money keeps them out of the red.
The Augusta Museum of History, which has also had to make cutbacks, will be open all week displaying a new golf exhibit, complete with a green jacket from Augusta National.