Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hi all, I composed a post (a week or so ago) asking about free things to do around your local area. If you could please take a moment to respond to the post with things that you do around your area, that would be really great! I'm taking on a challenge from a friend of mine who wants to see how many places I can find around the country or the world, that has free interesting things to do for families and educators. To get you started, I'll list some things we have come across in our travels:

  • Amish Country has many wonderful places to visit and see like Dutch Haven
  • Herr's Snack Factory
  • Hershey Farm
  • Hershey's Chocolate World
  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Colorado State Capital
  • Dinosaur Ridge
Ok, your turn! One reader posted about San Antonio, Tx and boy, is that a wonderful place filled with things to do and see! ok, let's see what the rest of you come up with! Thanks in advance!


  1. Here are a couple of attractions in the Central/North Central Texas area.

    Texas Heritage Museum -

    Homestead Heritage -

    World Hunger Relief Farm -

    Fort Worth Botanic Garden -

    Fort Worth Water Gardens -

  2. We live in Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo, NY, and a stone's throw from Niagara Falls! There are lots of neat things to do at Niagara Falls. The Canadian side is more touristy, and the American side is the more natural way to see it. The Maid of the Mist is a boat tour that takes you right near the base of the majestic falls, and the Cave of the Winds tour takes you behind it! You can also see it by helicopter! Spectacular!!!

  3. Well, I live outside the S.A. area, so I probably have some of the same things like visiting the Alamo and all of the historical missions. We like to drive up to Bandera TX to the river to swim, catch fish and turtle, etc., and then learn about what we see. There also many county fairs, petting zoos and farms around. I like primarily the FREE things because well I am cheap ;-) Other things include Concert under the Stars, Movies in the Park and the Texas Wildlife Department has loads of events going on around the year, all for free. These range from learning how to recognize wild foods, cooking over a campfire or with cast iron, learning to tell animals tracks apart, falconry and more.

  4. We are stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas. There are lots of free things to do in the area!

    Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park

    The Crown Center Hallmark Card birthplace in Kansas City

    Ft. Riley itself is a great free place to go (you just have to get a visitor's pass) (scroll down to tours)

    Pawnee Indian Museum in Belleville Kansas

    Geary County Historical Museum right in my own town of Junction City

    Huron Indian Cemetary in Kansas City

    Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence (University of Kansas)

    Fort Leavenworth has a museum and tours

    There is lots of things to do in Manhattan, KS

    The Kansas State Capitol in Topeka has free tours (and you can sit in on sessions)

    Milford Nature Center - learn about animal tracks, fur, and all kinds of cool things!

    Clinton Lake in Lawrence, KS is a free campground and nature trail

    The Konza Prairie trail on I-70 south of Manhattan is gorgeous

    There is just so much more I could post! A great site to find things (not all free, but some) is

  5. I'm Linda from Cleveland Ohio...we have lots of free stuff too:

    Cleveland Art Museum

    Every 4th of July the Cleveland Orchestra performs a free concert downtown at Public Square.

    Beaches on Lake Erie

    The Emerald Necklace - our Metroparks System that actually looks like a green necklace around the city. They have numerous nature centers with free educational programs (including homeschool specific programs). Hiking, playgrounds, bike trails, golf, fishing, boating, free pavilion use, picnic tables, grills and different festivals throughout the year that are free.

    The Cleveland Zoo is free to residents on Mondays.

    The Ohio & Erie Canalway

    Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    Soldiers and Sailors Monument

    Free Lunches held in downtown Mall C during the summer sponsored by a local radio station.

    Lots of sled riding hills during the winter months.

    A great library system where I can get new release movies free.

    Every year on Martin Luther King Day our local museums open their doors to residents for no cost. I've seen the Great Lakes Science Center, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History all for free.

    International Women's Air & Space Museum at Burke Lake Front Airport

    NASA Glenn Research Center

    A lot of our local suburbs have free weekly concerts through the summer months.

    City of Cleveland recreation centers and pools are free to residents.

    I know there is more but I can't think of anymore right now.

  6. I live in East TX near Tyler. This area and all the small communities have a lot of places to visit.


    Van Area Oil and Historical Museum - The museum is housed in an actual warehouse originally built in 1930 by the Pure Oil Company. It hosts a derrick, old vehicles, tools and memorabilia from the first days of the oil field in Van. All of the oil derricks in the Van field have disappeared; however, the museum obtained a derrick and relocated it on the grounds as a reminder of bygone days. Displays include various types of oil related memorabilia as well as history on the area and city.

    There's more: I'll have to come back when I find them

  7. From Southwest Washington State and Northern Oregon

    Tulip Festival, Woodland WA April 4-18th (it’s over so I hope it will still count!)

    Hiking Ape caves and Lava canyon on Mt. St. Helens

    Hike to the crater of Mt. St. Helens-there might be a parking fee, but it’s minimal

    Bonneville Dam fish ladders WA and OR side of the river, fish hatchery, sturgeon ponds in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

    Old Scenic Highway to Crown Point for a view of Beacon Rock and the Columbia River Gorge-many car commercials are also filmed here

    Climb Beacon Rock in the Columbia River Gorge

    Tour Forks WA (just happens to be my home townJ)home of the Twighlight series by Stephanie Meyers

    Natalie S

  8. The Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC are all free and the National Zoo as well, however parking (and metro) are not.

    The National Arboretum is free (parking as well) and amazing, particularly their Bonsai collection and Koi pond.

  9. We live in Georgetown, Kentucky. Close to Lexington and Frankfort. In G-town we have a very nice Japanese Garden, several apple orchards, a small museum, a kite festival were they have free kite making. In Frankfort (KY's capital) we have a free animal preserve (Satato)with hiking trails. We have tours of the the old capital and the new capital. Frankfort Cemetary where Daniel Boone is burried. Lexington has free movies in the park during the summer with a petting zoo and activities. They also have free Shakspeare in the park. We also live within driving distance of several state parks which are mostly free! And don't forget all the national parks, if they have a fee its usually low.

  10. The Walters Museum in Baltimore, MD is free -- and a great place to take the kids to see antiquities from all over the world from different times in history. On Saturdays, they have a free drop-in art project for the kids, and usually a kids "art cart" where they have costumes and books the kids can use while you/they go through the museum. (Parking is not free, but you get a discount in the pay lot if you get your ticket validated at the Walters.)

    The kids love to go there, and we don't mind going for just an hour if that turns out to be their attention span that day because it's free.

    ~S from MD

  11. Wow, these are great places! Thanks for contributing, please keep it coming!

    Martha Y from MD sent this suggestion to me personally, so I will post it here:

    Michelle, Carcassonne is not just a board game, it is an actual village in France. As a village, you can walk right in & through the *old* section & feel like you have time traveled back several centuries. There is a museum that charges admission, but we skipped that & still felt like we had an amazing day. (Riding the train north from the Mediterranean that day, we saw wild flamingos by the river.)

    And the ceiling of the train station in Perpignan, France is covered with painting apparently inspired by Salvador Dali who famously pronounced it the center of the world. It costs nothing to walk through, looking for similar inspiration.

    Of course, Notre Dame de Paris is justifiably famous, & as a real church costs nothing to enter, though they charge for the privilege of going up in the tower. No big news there.

  12. Here are a few more comments that were sent to me:
    Kohler, WI Factory tours. You can tour the factory and see how toilets are made. Free ages 14 and up. I worked for Koher for years and I have never done the tour. I want to take my boys when they are old enough. They also have a Design Center that displays tubs, toilets, fixtures and such. In the lower level they have a museum. The hotels in the area are quite pricy along with the resturants. You are better off driving 5 to 10 minutes to Sheboygan or Sheboygan Fall for lunch. I'd recommend Ella's Della they have great sandwiches and brownies.

    Tulip Festival, Woodland WA April 4-18th (it’s over so I hope it will still count!)
    Hiking Ape caves and Lava canyon on Mt. St. Helens
    Hike to the crater of Mt. St. Helens-there might be a parking fee, but it’s minimal
    Bonneville Dam fish ladders, fish hatchery, sturgeon ponds in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
    Old Scenic Highway to Crown Point for a view of Beacon Rock and the Columbia River Gorge-many car commercials are also filmed here
    Climb Beacon Rock in the Columbia River Gorge
    Tour Forks WA (just happens to be my home town :-) )home of the Twighlight series by Stephanie Meyers
    Natalie S

  13. Some more in Washington/Annapolis area --

    Two of my favorites in DC are the Library of Congress and the State Dept. Diplomatic Reception Rooms. -- The State Dept Rooms are beautful American Fine Arts tour and a true hidden gem in DC.

    We also love visiting the US Naval Academy -- it's right on the water, they have a little museum and it's a lovely walk around it.

  14. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongawera
    in Wellington, NZ is free and is a great place to visit. It is a science museum, and history museum with lots of interactive things the kids will love. We only had a few hours there, but you could spend a whole day, or even 2 days there.

  15. Our family was stationed on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Much to see there but here are just a couple of things:

    Pearl Harbor Memorial

    The Blow Hole..a location in the cliffs where water gets trapped and shoots out like the blow hole of a whale....Really Cool

    Hanauma Bay .....cove where you can swim along the reef with wildlife...Sea turtles were a real treat. Small charge for parking.

    The North Shore....different stops along Oahu's north shore allow experiences such as the cliffs, some of the worlds largest waves, some of the best tide pools that I have ever seen, spactacular moon rises on the horizon....absolutely Beautiful!

  16. We are Army living in Virginia Beach and Fort Story is right at the mouth of the of the chesapeake bay. It houses the Cape Henry Light House both the historical and currently used ones, A historic chapel and awesome views of the bay, all no charge.

  17. We live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia: Fort Monroe is free (where Robert E. Lee was held "captive" in the civil war), the state building in Richmond is free (including a tour--also free and informative). In Hampton, there is Fort Fun--a large wooden playground--free. In VA Beach--Mount Trashmore--another large playground--free. In Newport News--Newport News Park where you can walk trails next to what was once the fighting lines in both the American Revolution and the Civil War.