It’s summertime and your kids are out of school. If your child is not in daycare or summer camps, your options are to swim, stay home in the cool air conditioning, or do lots of different activities out of the house. A lot of those activities can be costly, so I am here to offer you a few “practically free” things to do during those long summer months. The money you are saving can go towards your child’s future education (or let’s be honest…a new pair of shoes 🙂 ).
1. Trad’s Garden Center – Trad’s is located on San Jose Blvd, and is primarily a garden store. However, they also have a chicken coup, grow their own vegetables, and have small little trails you can walk around. There are flowers, plants, herbs, and more to explore. Trad’s also has special events throughout the year. Just make sure to watch out for those chickens…I told my son to not stick your fingers through the wire, but he didn’t listen. He learned his lesson though, as those chickens definitely got his fingers!
2. Dollar Movies – All around Northeast Florida, movie theaters thoughtfully play movies throughout the summer for only a $1!! Some theaters even do 10 movies for $5, what a steal!! Usually these occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays in the morning. I’m hoping to take advantage of this a couple of times this summer, although we took my daughter Evelyn to her first movie this weekend (the movie Epic), and the whole time she just kept saying, “I don’t like movies, I want to watch Alladin.” But by the end of the summer, hopefully she will love the movie theater!! Below is a list of movie theaters and their schedules throughout Northeast Florida.
- Cinemark Tinseltown
- Regal movie theaters (Beach Blvd and the Avenues).
- Carmike movie theater (Amelia Island) Thursdays – This is $4, but includes a kid’s tray with popcorn, drink, and a snack.
3. Lowe’s and Home Depot – Both of these stores have free kids workshops occasionally on the weekend. I have yet to do this, but it sounds super fun. What a great activity to do INDOORS!!
- Lowe’s upcoming schedule can be found here.
- Home Depot offers the workshops the first Saturday of every month from 9-12. Click here for more info.
4. Kids Bowl Free – You can go to www.kidsbowlfree.com to register to bowl two free games per child every day over the summer at participating locations. What kid doesn’t love to bowl???
5. Riverside Arts Market (RAM) – RAM occurs every Saturday from 10-4 and is FREE! Although you may end up with a lighter wallet when you leave because of all the cute homemade goodies for sale. The best part about RAM is that even though it is outside (under the Fuller Warren bridge on Riverside Avenue), it is right on the river, mostly shaded, and very breezy. Definitely a fun Saturday family activity…you can even bring your dog too!
6. Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens – The Cummer offers free admission on Tuesdays from 4-9 pm and the first Saturday of every month. The Cummer has a great kids area where they can learn all about art, and of course there are the beautiful gardens right on the river. This is a nice way to get a little bit of culture for your kids.
7. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) – MOCA is also a fun cultural activity for our kids. And it’s, you guessed it, FREE on Sundays for families. Take advantage of this and explore the children’s area. And make sure you go to Café Nola, one of my favorite lunch spots. The rolls are absolutely amazing!!!
8. Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier (if this link isn’t working just google!) – This is a fun activity that I have yet to do with my children. Take the kids down to the pier, and if your children are under the age of 6, they can fish for FREE! Over age 6 and for adults, it is $4 per fisherman. To just be a spectator, it is a mere $1 per person and free for children under 6. I bet my kids would love this!
9. Jacksonville Public Libraries – There are so many libraries around town that are always offering FREE events! From Story Time to Movie Day, check out your local library’s calendar to get the scoop!
10. Art Walks! Jacksonville officially has three art walks running all year. What a great way to get out and see some of Jacksonville’s local culture!
- Downtown Art Walk – First Wednesday of every month from 5pm-9pm. Live music and street performers and over 40 galleries!
- Jacksonville Beach Art Walk – New to the scene, but a lot if fun for the family! Live music, local performers and businesses! Second Tuesday of every month from 5pm-9pm.
- North Beach Art Walk – Located on Atlantic where Neptune and Atlantic Beach meet. Great artists and great food. Stop at Al’s for a slice and then Happy Cup for dessert! Third Thursday every month!
11. Community First Saturdays – Located on the Northbank Riverwalk, this event is what family fun is all about! A Jax Chamber initiative, Community First Saturdays has everything from crafts, scavenger hunts, fitness classes, bike tours and food trucks! Come explore Downtown every first Saturday beginning in September!
12. Children’s Garden Workshops – Getting children in the garden is one of the most important things we can do, both for them and for ourselves. The children’s gardening program is held in a revitalized 2,000 foot section of the Beaches Organic Community Garden in Neptune Beach, with a sensory garden, raised vegetable garden beds, herbs, flowers, fruit trees and vines, and a shade structure where we they engaging activities. Check it out on Saturdays from 9am-10am!