The Fun Barn: A Hunger Games experience

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Though the small town is not home to much, one of the most fun places in Southeast Ohio lies less than 40 minutes north of Athens in Nelsonville, Ohio.

I went to The Fun Barn, 14333 US-33, Thursday night with my best friend to watch the premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2. Earlier in the day, I trained for the event by watching the first two movies, The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but didn’t have time to partake in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.

The Fun Barn is part Chuck E. Cheese’s-esque game fun and part movie theater. It is also far and away the cheapest movie going experience I have ever had. Tickets to this show were $4 and a large pizza only costs $5.

Prior to the movie, Arielle and I embraced our inner childhood by sharing the games with sticky-handed toddlers. Customers can pay $5 for a card with $4 on it and swipe it to play games. I chose to play Whack-a-Mole and a game in which I beat a piñata very rapidly. I don’t know if this says more about my inner anger issues or that I love the noise of an old mallet hitting a metal box over and over.

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We were the first two people in Theater 9, but were quickly neighbored by Katniss lovers young and old looking to participate in the end of one of the most popular film series ever. The room soon filled and the lights dimmed. Quickly, Arielle and I suffered a case of the giggles for the first five minutes and I thoroughly apologize to anyone who was sitting near us.

The movie itself, like every other film in the saga, was amazing. I read the books in middle school and was all for feature film versions. There weren’t too many audience-centric moments that everyone in the theater expressed the same emotion at the same time, something that surprised me since massive series are typically are full of these moments. However, at least no one clapped at the end.

Not only do I recommend seeing the movie in general, but I do highly urge people to make an event out of it and go to Fun Barn with some friends. It’s cheap and a break from Athens, two things that every Ohio University student needs.

6 great alternatives to drinking

Drinking, legal or not, may seem like one of the only ways to have fun in a small town like Athens. But that’s simply not the case. Athens has many amazing hidden gems that encourage sober fun with friends.

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Down Lake at Stroud’s Run

1. Strouds Run State Park: Strouds is located a couple of miles from campus and is loaded with fun activities . There are several trails to hike, a beach to lie out on, and canoes, kayaks and pontoons to take out on the water. The best time to visit is during the fall and spring, and you will be sure to find other students grilling or playing sand volleyball who would be happy if you joined in on the fun.

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The Athena

2. Catch A Movie: While going to see a movie may seem like a cop-out, Athens does movie theaters a little differently. There’s Fun Barn, where you can treat yourself to a $4 movie and popcorn for a dollar. Yes, you read that right. At most theaters, you would pay more than twice that to see the newest Hunger Games installment, but at Fun Barn you can get by with a couple of bucks. The added bonus is the full arcade inside of the theater, where you can hang out before or after the show. Another theater, located right on Court Street, is The Athena Cinema. This theater shows movies old and new, featuring a film festival in the spring and movies to go along with the season. And the Athena Grand on East State Street is a multiplex featuring current movies.

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3. Intramural Sports: Ohio University offers students the opportunity to participate in several sports each season, with male, female, and coed teams. Get a group of friends together and sign up for the next session! Spring 1 registration opens on Jan. 12, 2015.

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4. Performing Arts and Concert Series: This is an awesome opportunity to see your favorite artist, comedian, or musical at a great price. Ohio University has a scheduled performance almost weekly, and there is something for everyone. The shows are always at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, and in 2014 alone there have been visits from country star Scotty McCreery, comedians from the MTV hit show Girl Code, and The Golden Dragons Acrobats performers.

hocking hills5. Hocking Hills State Park: Okay, this may be a bit of a stretch because you do have to drive a half-hour to get there, but it’s definitely worth it. Hocking Hills is filled with beautiful, undisturbed forests, rugged cliffs and enchanting waterfalls. There are several hiking trails to explore, and activities like zip lining and horseback riding. You can camp out or rent a cabin for a weekend with a few friends, and you will forget that you’re in Ohio.

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6. OHIO Sporting Events: Ohio University is a Division 1 school, and the student sections at the games are always exciting to be a part of. The Marching 110 takes over at halftime, and their impressive playing earned them the title of Best College Marching Band in 2014. The best part? The games are free for students when you show your student ID.