Free Things to do with Kids Throughout the United States
Yes, we all LOVE to travel but, sometimes the vacation expenses involved can get pretty hefty! Just because you’re looking for fun activities for your family vacation doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. From north to south and east to west, there are hundreds of fun and FREE things to do with kids that you and your family can enjoy.
A great way to find out about an area’s best free family activities is to check out the Convention & Visitors Bureau for the location you have in mind. But, just in case you and your family haven’t decided exactly where you’d like to spend your little getaway, here you will find some of the best free things to do with kids that span across the country, from sea to shining sea.
Los Angeles, California
There always seems to be something cool and exciting for families to do at almost any science center! If you’re heading to the ever popular L.A. area, then this is a must-see family freebie. Although there is a $10 parking fee, the California Science Center, which also happens to be the West Coast’s largest hands on science center, offers free — yes, FREE — admission to all of their permanent exhibits.
With exhibits that include everything from a Science Plaza that greets you before you even get inside the door, to Ecosystems, World of Life, Air and Space, and even Creative World, your family will find plenty of hands-on fun here!
If you’ve ever wondered how all of those coins you are trying to save get made, then this makes for a really interesting, not to mention thrifty, family outing! Since 1863 the Denver mint has literally been making money and still produces around 32 million coins per year.
The free tour at this facility requires an advance reservation that can be made online, lasts about 20 minutes, and shows visitors how United States coins are made. You can even see the stamping presses that are churning out up to 530 coins per minute!
The Denver Mint is also one of the three gold depositories in the United States, along with Fort Knox and West Point, and offers a glimpse at a few of those solid gold bars.
Tip: Leave ALL of your bags and belongings, with the exception of identification or money, behind for your tour, as the Denver Mint has a VERY strict entrance policy.
With a 152-acre campus, that includes galleries, Oldfields -Lilly House & Gardens, and The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, your family will have more than plenty to see and do! The IMA happily welcomes their guests with FREE admission to everything they have to offer, except featured exhibitions, and provides visitors of all ages the opportunity to explore the connections between art, design and the natural environment.
They even offer free family tours on certain Saturday’s each month and a plethora of drop-in activities including Make & Take art projects, geared for all age groups, that are inspired by works of art that they have on display. Yes, with a collection of more than 54,000 works of art, an early 20th century estate, 152 acres of gardens and grounds, an outdoor art and nature park, and a marvelous assortment of events and programs, the IMA campus truly has something for everyone in the entire family.
Located within thousands of acres of untouched wilderness and less than 30 minutes from Washington, D.C., or just a short drive from Annapolis, Maryland, the National Wildlife Visitor Center is the largest science and environmental education center in the Department of the Interior. The center offers an experience that will have your whole family going wild! Well, wildlife anyway – Ha!
Admission to the Visitors Center, grounds and interactive exhibits is FREE and not only offers interesting information about preserving the earth’s vital resources and an appreciation for the role of wildlife research, but is also an excellent place to hike, bike and even bird watch. Truly a beautiful, untouched wilderness location that offers something both serene and educational for the entire family.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Just in case you need a reason to visit Daytona, aside from the fabulous and famous beach, this Florida hot-spot also offers a FREE tour through a working, gourmet chocolate factory! Angell & Phelps has been located in beautiful downtown Daytona Beach since 1925 and offers some of the tastiest chocolate candies available anywhere.
The tours are offered six times per day and take about 20 minutes from start to finish. While there you can watch experienced candy makers dipping cherries, making homemade fudge and creating chocolate candies the old-fashioned way through large cottage windows. No, I’m not a mind-reader but I do know what you’re thinking now… And, the answer is yes! After each tour they give visitors a sample of their magnificent chocolate yumminess. Simply delightful, and delicious!
If you have other fun and free family activities in your area that you’d like to share, we would love to hear about them in the comments below!
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Belonging to the rare breed known as native Floridian, Mary Ellen is a wife, mother and freelance writer, currently living in Sarasota, on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast….