8 Free Family Activities for Summer

Days out with the family can be fun; emptying your wallet will never be. Save your cash this summer with our list of free family activities, from bowling to exploring a national park.

Free ‘Park’-ing

Fourth graders can visit Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, Glacier and EVERY OTHER national park for free. Just have your kid fill out a diary entry at everykidinapark.gov, print out their pass and let the free family fun begin (well, free for your fourth grader at least). Passes are good from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 of a kid’s fourth grade year and cover BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites. So, go ahead and start planning your trip to the San Antonio Missions.

Deck Your Ride

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) hosts family art projects every second Saturday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. The League of Reluctant Bicyclists will teach families to make their own handlebar hang-tags for bikes at the museum on May 11, 2019 (Guess baseball cards in your spokes just don’t cut it anymore). June’s Family Art Saturday is sadly cancelled, but in July you’ll create abstract art.

Spare Time

Free family fun at a bowling alley
Kids can bowl two free games per day at a local alley.

Participating bowling centers:

All Star Bowling and Entertainment, Draper

Olympus Hills Bowling Lanes, Holladay

Cache Valley Fun Park, North Logan

Jensen’s Country Lanes, Price

All Star Bowling and Entertainment, Sandy

All Star Bowling and Entertainment, Tooele

All Star Bowling and Entertainment, West Jordan

Delton Bowling Lanes, West Valley

Sign the kids up to bowl for free at one of eight local spots this summer at kidsbowlfree.com. Once registered, you can take the kids for two free games during the Kids Bowl Free hours determined by your alley. Kids must be between 2 and 15, and not all centers include shoes with the free games. If you’d like to show off your perfect form, buy a family pass, which allows four adults to bowl for free during KBF hours, too.

Put Your Art Into It

On the third Saturday of the month, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission and art projects from 1 to 4 p.m. On May 18, 2019, take the kids to create sculptures with sticks and other materials, inspired by Rex, the museum’s stunning horse sculpture that artist Deborah Butterfield built completely out of sticks. The museum also offers free admission on first Wednesdays, free admission to kids 5 and under anytime and free “family backpacks,” filled with activities to hold young ones’ interests.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts
410 Campus Center Dr., Salt Lake

All That Slithers

Exhibits and animal shows at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum are free. And with so many shows per week, if you miss one, it’s kind of on you. Catch a show at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, 7:30 p.m. nightly from Monday to Saturday, or at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday. From June through August, additional shows will be held weekdays at 1 and 3 p.m. Topics range from reptiles to invertebrates; expect live creepy-crawlies.

Running Free

The Temple to Temple run, an aptly named 5K from one Provo LDS temple to another, is gunning to become the largest 5K race in the United States on July 24, 2019. To support that effort, registration is free. Aside from a workout before Aunt Shelly’s funeral potatoes at the Pioneer Day barbecue, it’s also kid-friendly—strollers are common, you’re free to walk, most of the course is downhill and shuttles run every 10 minutes at the finish line to take you back to your minivan. And no, you don’t have to be Mormon.

Free Family Activities in the Park

Free family fun at Science and Arts in the Park
Find free family science and art at a local park. Photo credit: Weber State University

Weber State will set up shop in Ogden-area parks throughout the summer for Arts in the Parks and Science in the Parks, which offer free hands-on activities and projects for kids and families. Science in the Parks is known for experiments like creating giant soap bubbles and making soda bottle fountains, and Arts in the Parks’ schedule includes dance workshops with WSU Ballet Folklorico and art projects with UMOCA. Find schedules and activities for both programs at weber.edu/artsandscienceintheparks.

Macbeth’s Opening Act

Utah Shakespeare Festival
The Beverly Center for the Arts
195 W. Center St., Cedar City

If you’re headed to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival (as you should), or just driving through town on your way to a national park, catch The Greenshow for free on the SUU campus. This year, The Greenshow features three alternating performances — themed Scotland, England and Russia — filled with dance, music and comedy. Shows run June 17–Sept. 7, 2019, prior to the ticketed shows. Don’t tell our snooty friends, but sometimes we enjoy The Greenshow’s lighthearted nature even more than the blank verse following it. Check the festival calendar for times, and show up early.

Read more of our family content in our Kid-friendly blog roll.

Jaime Winston
Jaime Winstonhttp://www.saltlakemagazine.com
Jaime is a contributing writer for Salt Lake magazine. Formerly, he served as our editorial intern, then as our assistant web editor, and, finally, as our web editor. While he covers many different topics, he is especially interested in nerdy entertainment, from FanX's artist alley to Sundance's Midnight screenings.

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