Wednesday, August 22, 2007

FREE or discounted things to do around town

Think you can’t have good fun with your kids if you don’t spend money? WRONG! Here is a list of things locally in the Treasure Valley to do that are free or half-cost.
Just a note: you may want to confirm these before you go to make sure, although I am nearly positive they are all still current.

NOTE: If you do not live in southwestern Idaho, maybe this list will give you ideas of where you can look for free and discounted activities in your area.

**Thursdays at the Zoo Boise are discounted admission through mid-October.

**My local library has tons of story time & craft & dance activities for free. You can pick up a calendar at the front desk. Some examples are puppet shows, father/son activities, movie nights (several times a month), community shows, etc. There is always a lot to do and see for free! A must do is the summer reading programs. Not only is it good to encourage your kids to read, but they earn great prizes. Passes to the YMCA, Discovery Center, free food coupons, etc. Don’t turn down opportunities to earn free coupons! I’m sure the other library’s in the Treasure Valley and where you live do the same things…call and ask!

**Free summer kids movies at Regal Theatres. It goes from the end of June through the third week in August, every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am. See if your city is on the list here.

**Tuesdays are half-price happy meal night at McDonalds, from 5-7pm. Not all McDonald's participate so call your store to see if they do.

**Free summer movies in the park at Settler's Park in Meridian. Here is the 2009 summer schedule!

**Get free lunch all summer! In every town across the country, there are usually free lunches at parks or school for kids 18 and under. Here is a link for info at lunches in the park and schools in our area. Anyone can come, there is no criteria for getting the free food. Google your local area for free school lunches or call the Chamber of Commerce to ask for times and locations in your area.

**There are lots of parks with splash pads around. Forget paying to swim (unless you really want to). Merrill Park in Eagle, Settlers Park in Meridian, and a new one in Boise off Hill Road. All three parks have great splash pads, and offer lots of summer enjoyment with picnicking and toys for the kids to play on.

**Arctic Circle gives out mini ice cream cones (they are called “courtesy cones”) for free on an ongoing basis. You just have to ask. We like to go there for family treats…FREE! Also, I believe that A&W has .25 cones for kids if you are close to one of those restaurants.

**Monday nights at Cafe Ole is Kid's Night. After 4pm until closing, for every 1 regular dinner entree purchased, you get 2 free kids meals! Also a pinata bust.

**Hastings book store does a story time every week, but I think each store is different so call your store near you to find out the times. They have fun themes like fantasy, fairy tales, pets, etc.

**Barnes and Noble has a great kids section that has plenty of room to read, tables to sit, and even an entire Thomas the Train set up for kids to play with. It is a great place to go on a rainy day, get the kids out of the house to play and not spend any money! Toys R Us also has a Thomas the Train set up for kids to play with...but in my experience I try to keep my kids out of that store as it only causes tears and whining...know what I mean?

**Kid to Kid consignment stores has a kids book club. Your child gets a card, and each time you go into the store your child can pick out a book .99 or less for free! You can do this once a month, and you don't even have to purchase anything when you go in. Great, eh? Build up your library for free! (this was valid last year, I haven't currently checked in 2009)

**Michaels Arts and Crafts stores offer craft Saturdays that are minimal cost. HERE is info on that, or call your local store for details. Many times they are free!

**Archiver's Scrapbook and Memory Store in Boise lets you use the workroom for free during the week, M-Th, 6-9pm. Go have a scrap night with some friends without paying a fee!

**Home Depot on the first Saturdays of the month for the free kids project. They give them a little orange apron and make a craft. They start at 9am. Lowes also does kids project workshops every other Saturday, they begin at 10am. They build fun projects like birdhouses, herb gardens, football racks. Check the links for schedules or call your local store.

**Last year we went to the Discovery Center for free a couple of times. I just called to ask if there were discounted days and there were a few days out of the year that were free for anyone. So call and ask. Just know that those times are usually really crowded.

**Take the kids downtown to Boise to the Morrison-Knudsen Nature Park not far from the Discovery Center. Address is 600 South Walnut Street, Boise, ID (208) 334-2225. This learning center is a must for both tourists and residents, especially if you are a science buff. You will leave the center with a new appreciation for science and river habitats. Admission is free.

**Go up to the Boise Depot! It is a beautiful historic Spanish-style structure operated by the Boise Parks & Recreation Department. It has beautiful Platt Gardens, a lovely park with pathways, a gazebo and a koi pond. Call 384-4228 for more info on times when they are open. Admission is free.

**Kathryn Albertson Park and Ann Morrison Park. Both downtown Boise and LOTS of fun! Go on a nature walk, feed the ducks, and see lots of wildlife (mostly at Kathryn Albertson Park). Also try Julia Davis Park with the gorgeous rose gardens. That is the park right by the zoo. Kids love it! There are so many parks around here, try a different one each month. One of our old favorites is Camels Back park in North Boise. We used to live right by there and it was beautiful.

**Whaooz kiddie area is $2.50 admission, no time limit. Great for a rainy day. They also give out 18 free tokens for the kids to use after each school semester if they get good grades. Just take in your report card and show them! It's that easy.

**The first Thursday of every month, the Boise Art Museum has free admission, and until May 24th (?) the exhibit is Ansel Adams.

**Roaring Springs has discounted days, believe it or not!

I know I didn't get everything on the list, so I can add to it if you let me know something to add. I hope this list inspires you to check around your community for free or cheap things to do. Bottom line is that most places offer discounts or freebies that you just don't know about unless you ask! If the demand is there for discounts from the public, the places will offer them.



Kimi said...

WOW, you've got me beat on thriftiness. You are amazing. These tips are great. This blog is getting added too.

Angela said...

Wow... Thank you so much for this post!! I am bookmarking it and will link to it soon!! Great homework. We all appreciate it!

Missy08 said...

Do u know of any other stuff to do that is free or little charge

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