A family-friendly outing in your town doesn't have to cost a pretty penny. Most towns and cities offer tons of free activities— the trick is knowing where to look. Check out this list of springtime activity ideas that will get your kids out of the house, but won't cost you a dime.
Visit a Local Animal Farm
Baby chicks, lambs and piglets all make adorable additions to most animal farms in the springtime. Take your creature-loving child to your local farm to learn all about the wonders of new life. Many farms also offer petting zoos and fun activities, so plan on spending more than a few hours immersed in country living.
Take a Hike
Head over to a state park or local hiking trails and spend the afternoon exploring nature. Whether you climb a mountain or just meander through the woods, your kids will love the fresh air and exercise. As an extra activity, go on a scavenger hunt for leaves, rocks, and other objects found in the wilderness and use them to create nature crafts when you get home.
Keep your eyes open for free concert series offered by your town — many towns have them. A blanket, some snacks, and jamming to a local band can be a great way to spend a warm spring evening.
Get Lost in a Museum
Most cities offer free admission days to any number of museums throughout the year, and many offer spring activities and workshops especially for children. Check your paper for an activity that might interest your family, like an afternoon of science experiments or free interactive seminar, and spend the day soaking up the culture at a local museum.
Help with a Community Garden
Freshly grown produce will get even the pickiest eater to eat his veggies. A community garden is a great way to show your child how fruits and vegetables are grown, and working together to maintain a garden teaches responsibility. The fresh vegetables you reap will make a delicious (and cheap!) reward.
Learn Your Genealogy
Are the new spring leaves on the trees making you curious about your own family tree? Your local genealogical society can be a goldmine of information, and they'll be happy to help you with your search free of charge. If you prefer to use the Internet, websites like familysearch.org and myheritage.com also offer free searches.
Star Gaze at an Observatory
Treat your little astronomer to a night of star-gazing the spring sky. Many observatories offer free use of their high-powered telescopes, pending clear skies, but just remember to call ahead to see if they have an age-limit.
Ride the Bike Path
Get some exercise and head out for a family bike ride on your local bike path. Most go for miles, so you can ride for as long or as far as your legs can carry you.
Is your older kid a history buff? Almost every city and town has a monument commemorating a historical event. Now that the weather is nicer, take a walk and see what you can learn about your hometown. While you're at it, check out your town's historical society. Historical manuscripts and artifacts are often made available to the public for free, and some societies also hold informational seminars or tours.