Family Fun Outside the Home

(updated 4/18/22)


∞ Zoos and animal attractions – Check out this listing of zoos around the country: USA Zoos.

∞ Museums – You can save a lot by purchasing a year-round membership. See my post on “Become a member!” Many museums offer special family programs with hands-on activities and projects, special tours, and more. Check out the following links for national directories of museums:

Factory tours – Check out this website for information on tours near you: USA Factory Tours

∞ Libraries and Bookstores– See if they have any special events going on or just go browse with your kids. Many offer storytimes, special summer events, family events, and speakers.

∞ Bowling and Skating – Sign up for email coupons from your local bowling alleys, roller-skating centers, and ice skating rinks.

∞ Indoor Playgrounds – These have many different names. Do a Google search for your city and indoor playground or indoor play centers and you will come up with many options. These can be more expensive than other excursions, though. (Check out this list of St. Louis choices from Kids Out and About.)

∞ Parks – Take a hike or bike ride, play on the playground, get wet in a splashground, have a picnic, or visit the historical sites at any of your local parks. Check your:

If you are specifically looking for trails, check out AllTrails for a searchable map of outdoor trails for hiking, biking, and backpacking. For St. Louis trails, check out these two great articles:

∞ Nature centers or conservation areas – Check your state conservation department website for places to visit.  Many include hiking, exhibits and displays, tours, shows, fishing, nature viewing, and more! For Missouri: Check out the Find Places to Go section of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website.

Geocaching – While you are at one of the above parks, trails, conservation areas, etc. you can also geocache. This involves using your phone to search for hidden treasures! Check out this site to get details.

∞ Gardens – Visit a local garden. Our Missouri Botanical Garden has many special events, a children’s playground, a Climatron and much more. To find a garden in your area, check out the American Horticultural Society’s directory.

Pick-your-own farms – Visit a local farm to pick your own produce. For comprehensive listings for specific states, click on

∞ Historic landmarks – Visit a national historic landmark close by.

∞ Swimming – Check out the indoor or outdoor pools in your area. Often municipalities have one at their community centers or look for a YMCA, YWCA, or Jewish Community Center.

∞ Ride your local subway or Metrolink. My boys love to ride our local Metrolink and go downtown. They then might visit a park or library that we don’t usually go to.

Go on a day trip. There are many places to visit just an hour or two away from home. Check out these sites for places close to St. Louis:

∞ Go camping – There are many campsites that are free or charge a nominal fee to use their space. Check out these tips:

Take a family vacation – If you are planning a trip with your family, check out this great website: Trippo Hippo.


∞ Art classes or craft workshops at a local art store or art center. Some museums also offer Family Days and Workshops.


St. Louis:

∞ Fairs, Festivals and Art Shows – Check your local tourism bureau or newspaper website for local happenings. Check out the Fairs and Festivals website for listings for your state. In April look for your local Earth Day Fair. See my post What are you doing for Earth Day?

∞ Symphony or family show – Check out a local event in the park, family symphony program, or family-friendly theatre show. Your local newspaper or tourism website will likely have listings. (St. Louis Family Theatre or search for family shows in your city.)

Sporting Events – Check your local newspaper website for a listing of upcoming events (pro and amateur). For St. Louis, check out Explore St. Louis for many listings. Also, see my post on Sports freebies for kids.

∞ Movies – Find out if your local theater offers a rewards program. AMC Theaters offers AMC Stubs. We also have a local theater that offers $1 tickets. Fathom Events also brings a variety of content to movie theaters including classic movies, concerts, opera, and more.

Free family workshops –

The Home Depot also offers free kids’ workshops, however, theirs are only offered on Saturdays (the first of every month). Kids also get to build a wooden project and take home an apron, pin, and certificate.


Local newspaper website. The St. Louis Post Dispatch publishes the “Go! Magazine Summer Fun Guide each year and also has a webpage devoted to Summer Fun.

Local attractions coupon website. (I am not sure if other towns have this, but Family Attractions Card provides great coupons for attractions in St. Louis.)

AAA membership – See my post Making the most of your AAA membership to check out their savings on many attractions and movies.

∞ Kids’ websites for your town. Do a Google search for your town name and “kids”. (We have two great ones: St. Louis Sprout & About and Kids Out and About.)

∞ Your local tourism website. They will often list upcoming events, favorite attractions and sporting events. (For St. Louis visit Explore St. Louis.)

∞ Sign up for a deal site. Be sure you select your city so you can receive local offers for amusements and other things to do. * See my post Are “deal-a-day” sites a good deal?

∞ Your local kids’ magazine – These are often given out free at libraries and doctor’s office. Google your town name and “kids magazine” to see if your town has one. (St. Louis Parent)

* For more family fun ideas, check out my past Summer blog posts.

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