Best Low-Cost Family Activities this Summer

Discounts for many family-fun destinations at the bottom of this article.

Summer time means the opportunity to spend time with the family. Here are a few ideas for low-cost  fun.  The starred (*) organizations are recipients of past or present solar donations from the Green Mountain Energy Sun ClubTM so be sure to check out their solar displays during your visit!

New York

  • Delacorte Theater: See Shakespeare in the Park with this grown-up fairy tale, All’s Well That Ends Well, and the Measure for Measure all summer long.  Admission is free so bring a picnic and enjoy your evening!
  • Riverside Park: Grab your family for Play Dates at the park. This outdoor party features a children’s performer, arts and crafts, and neighborhood fun!
  • Union Square Park: Starting mid-June lasting through mid-August, come to  Summer In The Square: Baby Loves Disco. Kids and their parents can stretch at a free yoga session in the playground (10am), then get down to ’70s and ’80s classics spun by a DJ from the popular Baby Loves Disco dance party (noon) every Thursday.

DFW/Central Texas


  • *Dallas Museum of Art:  The museum is hosting a variety of events this summer for you and your family; they even have a children’s museum for your younger ones! (coupon below)
  • *Fort Worth Museum of Science and History: In addition to the museum's permanent, engaging exhibits, this summer also features unique learning experiences for kids like Grossology: The Impolite Science of the Human Body and many others.
  • *Fort Worth Zoo: Enjoy half-price admission every Wednesday at one of the best zoos in the country! (additional coupon below)
  • *Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame: Learn about the rich history of cowboys in Texas in the heart of the Ft. Worth Stockyards.  For children, they have a four station Exploratorium that will provide hours of entertainment. (coupon below)
  • *Dallas Children’s Theater: Thoughtful and engaging entertainment for children of all ages. They even offer academy classes for your aspiring actors and actresses.
  • *Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT): Enjoy free public tours of this unique institution are available all summer and beyond. BRIT is an international scientific research and learning center focused on conservation and knowledge sharing.  It shares knowledge about the plant world to enhance life for people and all living things.   Self guided tours are also open and free to the public.
  • *Cameron Park Zoo: Explore the wonders of wildlife in Waco this summer! Take your family on a  ride through the exhibits, offering plenty of activities along the way. (coupon below)
  • *Dallas Arboretum: One of the most beautiful outdoor attractions in Dallas and top arboretums in the world! With beautiful gardens, plentiful shade, and multiple photo-op spots, a day at the Dallas Arboretum has the potential to tire out even the most rambunctious of toddlers! Or even take one of the many gardening or art classes that they offer.


  • Houston Children’s Museum: Enjoy Free Family Nights at the  every Thursday from 5-8pm. Experience a variety of hands-on exhibits featuring everything from the cultural arts to math and science.
  • Miller Outdoor Theater: Bring your children out to the  for completely free  performances all year long!  Check out their calendar for a complete listing of all shows and times.
  • Discovery Green: Want to cool off during the summer? Take the kiddos out for some free family fun including the Gateway Fountains and exciting playground.
  • *Houston Zoo: The  zoo always has family activities for all ages to enjoy in addition to their permanent wildlife exhibits. Check out the events calendar for more information.

South/West Texas

  • *Gladys Porter Zoo: Take a trip out to Brownsville for the wonders of  nature! Stop by and say hello to the baby giraffe and the baby gorilla while you’re there.
  • *Texas State Aquarium: Escape the heat of summer and head down to the  in Corpus Christi.  They have everything for you and your kids from dolphins shows, otters, birds of prey, stunning aquatic animal displays, interactive exhibits, programs, and camps. They also boasts a new splashpad for kids so pack your bathing suit!
  • *Art Museum of South Texas: Step out of the heat and into the cool and calming walls of this cultural South Texas icon on the bay. In addition to its permanent art collection, the museum also presents a variety of programs which include classes, lectures, films, performances and other activities which inspire community interest in the visual arts. (coupon below)
  • *Ballroom Marfa: Take a stroll through one of the most unique towns in West Texas this summer and stop by the Ballroom for a look at always-engaging art exhibits.


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