Last week, I started thinking about our family’s summer plans. I picked out various activities and classes for my kids, totaled up the registration fees, and almost fell out of my chair. Even inexpensive classes add up!
After recovering from the sticker shock, it was clear that this week I needed to hunt down some things to do this summer that were easier on our wallet. Guess what? There is plenty to do that will fit into even the tightest budget! Enjoy these and do not forget to post your suggestions below as well.
Glendora will continue its free “Concerts in the Park” series this summer on Sunday nights at Finkbiner Park at 6 p.m. Additionally, many of our surrounding cities have similar programs. For example, Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena also sponsors a free concert series, which usually includes a children’s series every Wednesday night. The 2011 calendar has not yet been released, but will be soon here.
Free (and almost free) Movies
You can enjoy free family-friendly movies this summer on Wednesday nights at sundown in Finkbiner Park. The La Verne Edwards (Regal) Cinemas will offer $1 shows on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10 am (unfortunately, AMC is discontinuing their summer program). For more details, click here.
Free Farmers’ Markets
I know this one does not usually end up being free unless you stay strong and just sample (making it a date—see last week’s ), but it is still technically free. San Dimas, Claremont, La Verne, Covina and Monrovia all have certified farmers’ markets. For more LA County markets, click here; for other locations, visit here.
Free Face Painting
The first Tuesday of every month, Lilly Walters heads up a motley crew of professional face painters who practice their craft on any willing soul. They meet from 3-7 p.m. at Panda Garden Buffet in Montclair, which means you can get another deal and enjoy an all you can eat buffet for under $10 when you are done getting all dolled up. For more info, click here.
Also on the first Tuesdays of every month, you can head over to a Lego store (the closest to us are in Ontario, Glendale and Anaheim) for the Monthly Mini Model Build. Children ages 6-14 receive a free mini Lego model—check with your store and here for more details.
Are your kids tired of playing in the heat? Then enjoy some sporting play in the lovely air-conditioned room of a bowling alley—nobody cares if they get all gutter balls! Brunswick bowling alleys are giving kids 18 and under one free game a day, every day this summer. Click here to find out more.
My kids just learned to fish last year, thanks to the city of Fullerton’s Go Outdoors’ free fishing program on Saturdays at Laguna Lake. It is free, but reservations are required. For a less conventional way to fish, check out grunion runs (you use your bare hands—ewww). If you are 16 or younger, you do not need a fishing license, so sit back and let your kids do all the dirty work. Or if you desire a kinder, gentler activity, go feed the fish at Rainbow Gardens.
Free Water Play
You are probably familiar with Dalton Park, but did you know there are several other city parks with splash pads? When your kids get bored with Dalton, then try these out.
Free DIY Clinics
Many of the museums and gardens in the LA/OC area have free admission or free admission days. Most fall on a weekday so when school is out, you can finally go! Always call ahead to confirm. See a list of participating locations here and here.
Go wild! Besides the city of Glendora’s Saturday morning and Tuesday evening trail hikes (check your Parks & Rec brochure for dates and times), the San Dimas Canyon Nature Center offers free weekly animal presentations every Saturday and a nature trail open to the public.
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there are free breakfasts and dinners! At Ikea Covina, you can get breakfast for free 9:30-10 a.m. on weekdays. Throw in a free hour of childcare in their awesome Smaland playroom while you shop (or just sit in their café and enjoy a child-free hour of “me-time”) and that adds up to one happy family. Still hungry? Then visit some of the Glendora restaurants that host “kids eat free” nights or one listed here.
As you can see, Glendora offers lots of free things to do this summer. But did you know that you do not have to be residents of the surrounding cities to enjoy many of their free offerings as well? You can check out their Parks & Rec brochures online at their city websites.