This article originally appeared on Reno Moms Blog.
Summer is quickly approaching. (Well, maybe. Reno has been very confusing lately.) But I’m at least dreaming of those warm summer days! With four kiddos, I’m 1) looking for fun activities during the summer, and 2) trying to not break the bank. And with that, here is this year’s Reno Moms Blog Free & Frugal Summer Activity Guide!
1. Kids Bowl Free. This year, there are two Reno bowling locations participating in the annual “Kids Bowl Free” program: the Grand Sierra Resort Bowling Center and High Sierra Lanes. Registered kids under age 15 can receive two free games of bowling each day at participating locations during designated times. You do need to rent shoes, but this is a steal if your kiddos love bowling! Parents can also buy a summer pass to allow them to bowl all summer with their kids, too!
2. Cinemark Dollar Movies. While this summer’s schedule is not yet released, these dollar movies at the theater are such a fun experience for the kiddos. The theater is full of children, so you don’t have to stress nearly as much if you child makes a little noise (but honestly, I’m always shocked at how quite the theater full of kids typically is). AND, it’s only $1 per person! If you plan on going every week, however, you can buy a pass for all 10 movies (one a week for 10 weeks) for just $5 per person! (Check RenoMomsBlog.com for the movie list link when it becomes available.)
3. Home Depot Kids Workshops. Once a month, most Home Depot locations host a kids workshop where the kids can put their hands to work and build something! These are totally free, and are usually on a Saturday morning. You can view project descriptions and register your child online.
4. Deer Park Pool $2 Tuesdays. Deer Park Pool in Sparks is once again offering its discount swim day. This year it’s a $2 Tuesday deal! This zero-entry pool is great for kids of all ages. I recommend getting there early, as they often meet capacity on these days. Be sure to check out the Sparks Parks and Recreation activity guide for days/times.
5. Scheel’s Fit Kids Club. Scheel’s is offering one free sporting class for kids ages 4 to 12 each month. June 10 is Fishing 101, July 8 is Hiking 101 and Aug. 12 is Football 101. Each class is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. All events are free. You can find the full-year flyer for this club within the Sparks Parks and Recreation Summer Guide on page 21.
6. Free Fishing Day. Head to the Sparks Marina on June 10 for Free Fishing Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free fishing poles and lunch are given to each registered child — so not only will your child get to fish for free for the day (no license required), but they will also leave with their own new fishing pole! So much fun! For more info, head to www.ndow.org.
7. Nevada Bugs and Butterflies. This butterfly house and science center is a free, educational community asset. Their spring schedule is not yet out, so be sure to keep your eyes on their site so you can head out there with your children!
8. Discovery Museum. While this isn’t necessarily the most inexpensive activity if you do it just once, a Discovery Museum membership for your entire family will run you approximately $100 a year and will get you and your kiddos in on any of those way-too-hot-for-the-park days this summer. This place is great for big kids AND little kids (and let’s face it, it’s fun for grown ups, too).
9. Legends Splash Pad. This free little water spot is so fun for kids. Located in the center area of Outlets at Legends in Sparks, this water play space has water shooting up from the ground and over the tops of tall rocks. There are benches all around so you can keep eyes on your kiddos as they cool off on hot summer days.
10. Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program. Encourage your kids to keep reading this summer with the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program. Kids can earn a free book once they read and log eight read books during the summer. Sign your kids up, and get to reading and earning a new free book!
11. Apple Camp. Did you know the Apple Store hosts free camps for kids ages 8 to 12 during the summer? Kids can choose to explore coding and robotics, filmmaking, or storytelling. Summer 2017 registration is not yet available, but you can sign up to be notified when registration is available here.
12. Lavender & Honey Festival. The Lavender and Honey Festival, held in the downtown Sparks Dining District on June 25, looks like great fun for the whole family! With arts and crafts, food and drinks, live music and Creative Kidz Zone, there will be something for everyone!
13. Food Truck Fridays.Food Truck Fridays are back at Idlewild Park every Friday starting May 19! With more than 30 gourmet food, dessert and craft beer vendors weekly, it’s a great way to skip the hassle of making dinner and unwind from the week while eating yummy food with your family at the park!
14. Hot August Nights. Do your kiddos enjoy looking at all the old cars? Don’t forget about Hot August Nights! This year’s event is held August 8-13.
15. Artown. While there are many Artown events (check the website for details), you’ll want to head out for the Opening Night Jubilee! It’s totally free on July 1 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Wingfield Park.
16. Art Baby Thursday Morning Artown Series with Creative Arts. Join the wonderful Miss Katherine for these baby classes on Thursday mornings in July. Babies ages 15 months to 3 years are welcome to each of the four unique classes! Cost is just $5 per class!
17. Kids’ Triathlons. A little more pricey, but these kids’ triathlons will surely be a highlight for your kids this summer! There will be four triathlons starting in the summer (one each in Reno, Carson, Sparks, and Washoe County). Cost is $35 and includes a t-shirt. Plus, your kiddos will have a great sense of accomplishment after they complete a triathlon. Pack a lunch and make it a day to hang out at the park as a family!
18. Local parks. There are tons of great parks in Reno. Check out this interactive map of the area parks and find some new parks to explore with friends!
19. Local hikes. We live in such a beautiful place, don’t we? Why not try and check out a few new hikes off of the Reno Hiking Trails list? View a list of all hikes in Reno here.
20. Local libraries/story times. Nearly all of our local libraries host story times for toddlers and preschoolers. These are totally free, often interactive, and so much fun (not to mention a nice, cool place to escape the hot sun!) Keep your eyes open on their calendars as they often host free family movie nights, too!
21. North Valleys Water Splash Park. This splash pad is just $3 per person per day, and children under age 2 are free! This is a wonderful way to cool off this summer. While their 2017 schedule is not yet released, you can keep your eyes out here for when they release it.
22. Melio Gaspari Water Play Park at Lazy 5 Regional Park. The splash pad located in Spanish Springs is similar to the one in North Valleys. Once the 2017 schedule is released, you can find it here.
23. Reno Philharmonic 4th of July Concert.This free concert at Wingfield Park in Downtown Reno, presented by the Reno Phil orchestra and chorus, will be a family-friendly performance starting at 7:30 p.m., and will end with a fireworks finale!
24. Young Shakespeare at Lake Tahoe. Young Shakespeare is back! These events take place at Sand Harbor and are designed for younger viewers. While the event is free, there is a suggested donation of $5 per adult and $1 per child to help keep the program coming back each year. Dates, show times and more info can be found here.
25. Summer concerts and watermelon on the Quad at UNR. These free concerts on Wednesdays are fun for all ages! Bring your picnic dinner and blanket and enjoy the concerts from 6 to 8 p.m
26. Sparks Marina. Get some exercise as you take a nice walk, jog, or bike ride around the 2-mile loop at the marina with the kiddos. Finish up by playing on the playground or splashing in the water!
27. Urban Roots.Urban Roots is a family favorite for us. Pop in on their drop-in days and get dirty as you get to volunteer on the farm! Drop-in days are currently Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 to 12 p.m.
28. Nurturing Nest. The Nurturing Nest has wonderful classes and meet-ups for moms with small children. Be sure to check their calendar for events like their free toddler time playgroup!
29. Junior Naturalist Program. This free program offers a monthly nature-focused hike through the Truckee Meadows Park Foundation. Happening on the second Saturday each month, kids will meet at a selected park for hands-on activities in nature.
30. Farmer’s Markets. Ready to hit up some local farmer’s market stands? Here is a big list of many of the markets in the area!