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Free & Frugal Summer Activities for Kids in Reno 2017

2017 free and frugal

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 GSR 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/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/person!  (Check back…we’ll update 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.

Escaping the summer sun
Escaping the summer sun

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 Rec catalog for days/times.

5. Scheel’s Fit Kids Club.  Scheel’s is offering one free sporting class for kids ages 4-12 each month.  April 15th is Biking 101, May 6th is Golf 101, June 10th is Fishing 101, July 8th is Hiking 101, and August 12th is Football 101.  Each class is from 9:30-11:30 AM.  All events are FREE.  You can find the full year flyer for this club within the Sparks Rec Summer Guide on page 21. 

6. Free Fishing Day.  Head to the Sparks Marina on June 10th for Free Fishing Day from 10AM-1PM. 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. Bugs & 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.  Legend’s Splash Pad.  This free little water spot is so fun for kids. Located in the center area of Legend’s Shopping Mall 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 Barnes & Noble’s 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 8-12 during the summer?  Kids can choose to explore coding and robotics, moviemaking, 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 Lavendar & Honey Festival held in the downtown Sparks Dining District on June 25th from 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM looks like great fun for the whole family!  With live music, food and drinks, Creative Kidz Zone, and arts & crafts, there will be something for everyone!

13.  Food Truck Fridays.  Food Truck Fridays are back at Idlewild Park every Friday starting May 19th!  With over 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 on August 8-13th.

15.  Art Town.  While there are MANY Art Town events (check the website for details), you’ll want to head out for the Opening Night Jubilee!  It’s totally free on July 1st from 5PM-11PM at Wingfield Park.

16. Art Baby Thursday Morning ArtTown Series with Creative Arts.  Join the wonderful Miss Katherine for these Baby classes on Thursday mornings in July.  Babies ages 15 months-3 years are welcome to each of the four unique classes!  Cost is just $5/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 Valley’s Splash Pad.  This splash pad is just $3/person/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.  Lazy 5 Splash Pad.  The Lazy 5 Splash Pad located in Spanish Springs is similar to the one in North Valley’s.  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 is presented by the Reno Phil Orchestra and Chorus will be a family friendly performance starting at 7:30PM, and will end with a firework 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/adult and $1/child to help keep the program coming back each year.  Dates, show times, and more info can be found HERE.

25.  Summer Concerts & Watermelon on the Quad @ UNR.  These FREE concerts on Wednesdays are fun for all ages!  Bring your picnic dinner and blanket and enjoy the concerts from 6-8PM.

26.  Reno Sculpture Fest. May 12th-14th is the Reno Sculpture Fest. With live painters, muralists, kids activities, food trucks, music performances, and more, this will be a fun three day event for the whole family!

27.  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!

28.  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 10-12PM.

29.  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!

30.  Junior Naturalist Program.   This free program offers a monthly nature focussed 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.

31. 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!

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About Jessica Locke

Jessica Locke
Jessica Locke is a wife and stay-at-home mom of four children ages 5 and under. She is a new homeschooling mom who swore she’d NEVER ever even possibly consider homeschooling her children. She loves finding creative ways to stretch her small budget, drinking chai, writing, and eating anything with a peanut butter and chocolate combination. You can check out her latest thoughts on life as a mom, creative tutorials, activities for kids, and easy recipes on her blog, “Mothering With Creativity.”

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