∞ 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
∞ 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?
∞ 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.
∞ Symphony or family concert – Check out a local event in the park, family symphony program, or family-friendly concert. Your local newspaper or tourism website will likely have listings.
∞ Family Theater (COCA)
∞ 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 county website or the National Park Service website for listings. For St. Louis, I love the website Play St. Louis, which includes reviews of parks and a great search engine.
If you are specifically looking for trails, check out Trails.com for a searchable map of outdoor trails for hiking, biking, and backpacking. The site also offers information on a plethora of outdoor activities!
∞ 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.
∞ 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.
∞ Historic landmarks – Visit a national historic landmark close by. Check out the National Park Service’s directory for a listing by state.
∞ 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.
∞ Sporting Events – Check your local newspaper website for a listing of upcoming events (pro and amateur). 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.
∞ Free family workshops –
Attend a free family workshop at Bass Pro. Topics include: archery, bird watching, plants and insects, shooting basics, camping basics, animal identification, fishing, outdoor pets, and hiking basics.
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.
∞ 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: Great Frum Trips.