Free films for the family

A family outing to the latest blockbuster isn’t cheap. (Thanks, 3D!) Happily, there are some free—or at the very least, inexpensive—opportunities to please your entire clan out there.

• The most well-known local option is probably the annual Perry’s Ice Cream Free Family Film Series at Shea’s Performing Arts Center (646 Main St., Featuring about six family-oriented films per season from November to May, it’s a great way to relive the bygone era of movie palaces.

Squeaky Wheel’s Annual Outdoor Animation Festival is a simply perfect way to spend a summer evening. The free event usually takes place at Days Park in Allentown (and sometimes other local parks), and has become a reliably cool family favorite. Start looking forward to 2012’s fest now. (

The Hamburg Palace (31 Buffalo St., Hamburg; is the epitome of the village moviehouse, featuring newly released films and some occasional older favorites, too. Ticket prices are $5.50 for adults and $4.50 for kids and seniors, as well as Mondays and matinees.

• Wednesdays are family night at another restored classic, The Aurora Theatre (673 Main St., East Aurora, The night features half-price popcorn and refills on large drinks; adult admission price is $7, while the cost is $5.50 for kids, seniors, matinees, and Mondays.

The Palace Theatre in Lockport also frequently shows family films at a discounted ticket price. It’s another gem of a building. (2 East Ave., Lockport,

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