Summer is meant to be a fun-filled time for families but with the ever-increasing costs of amusement parks and movies, it can become rather pricey to keep your kids entertained all summer long. Check out this list of fun, free and cheap things for a family to do in Southeast Georgia.
Dig Into Reading
All summer long libraries across Georgia have hosted free summer reading events under the theme “Dig Into Reading.” Designed to inspire a love of reading in kids, these digging-themed events have included gardening activities, archaeology activities, story times, puppet shows, magicians, ventriloquists, singing pirates and more. Check your local library’s website for a list of events.
Georgia State Parks Pass
Georgia has a great variety of state parks and if you have a valid library card you can check out a Georgia State Parks Annual ParkPass and an individual Historic Sites Visitors Pass for up to 7 days. Thus you could take a driving tour of Georgia’s state parks and not pay a dime to see any of them. Check with your local library about availability of the free ParkPass.
Lowes Build and Grow Workshop
All summer long Lowes has hosted its free Build-and-Grow workshops for kids. These simple but challenging projects are designed to teach kids basic skills such as following directions and using a hammer. So far this summer the projects have included two Monsters University-inspired projects and two Toy Story-inspired projects. Check your local Lowes for dates and times
Home Depot Kids Workshop
Just like their competitor Lowes, Home Depot also offers a Kids Worshop where kids get to build a simple wooden toy and learn important skills while having fun. Just like at Lowes, these projects tend to be movie-themed. So far this summer kids have built projects inspired by Despicable Me 2. Check your local Home Depot for dates and times.
Michael’s Passport to Imagination
The arts and crafts store, Michaels, also features workshops for kids this summer. Passport to Imagination offers “summer crafting adventures” three times a week that are both educational and entertaining. A different continent is featured each week and each class features two arts & crafts project inspired by this continent. From painting Japanese cherry blossoms to crafting a mobile of a clown fish from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, these classes offer a perfect combination of education and fun.
Jo-Ann’s Simple Sunday “Make It-Take It”
Jo-Anns is another arts & crafts store that offers free workshops for kids. Jo-Ann’s “Simple Sundays” offer a “Make It-Take It” workshop for kids where they get to make a craft and take it home. These workshops take place on various Sundays throughout the month. Check your local Jo-Anns for dates and times.
Georgia Theatre Summer Movie Series for Kids
A trip to the movies with the requisite popcorn and drink has turned into quite an expensive outing for even a small family. To help out, the Georgia Theatre Company is hosting its Summer Movie Series for kids of all ages. The admission charge is only $1 and kid’s sized popcorn is only $1.50 and kid’s sized drink also $1.50. Movies start at 10a.m. and include different selections each week. The entire Harry Potter collection has been showing this summer as well as such movies as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Despicable Me, Hotel Transylvania, How to Train Your Dragon, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Madagascar 3, Rise of the Guardians and The Pirates! Check with your local theatre to see what is playing this week in your location.
2-For-1 Movie Tickets
If you don’t want to see last year’s blockbusters at 10:00am in the morning but would rather see this summer’s latest release then check out the 2-for-1 movie tickets offer from Fandango.com and Visa Signature. You buy one ticket to any current movie and you get a second ticket free. The catch is you have to buy and watch the movie on a Friday and you have to buy your ticket through Fandango.com using a Visa Signature card. If you are willing to do those things then it’s the perfect way to take your kids to see the latest blockbuster animation.
Free Alligator Program at Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Every Wednesday at 10:00am the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island offers a free alligator program. This educational program teaches you about the biology and behavior of the American alligator on Jekyll Island. It is a walking tour that takes you to see some of the alligators that call Jekyll home.
Tidelands Nature Center
All summer long the Tidelands Nature Center on Jekyll Island has been hosting the Coastal Explorers program where kids 4-10 can learn about coastal ecology and explore native animals and ecosystems. The programs meet every Friday morning from 10:45-11:45 and coast $6 per child.
Summer Waves Night Splash
What would summer be without a trip to a water park? But taking the whole family can get rather pricey. If you don’t want to spend all day at the park and a boatload of cash, check out the Night Splash option at Summer Waves on Jekyll Island. Weekdays starting at 3p.m. and Saturday and Sundays starting at 4p.m. entry fees are cut in half from $19.95 to $11.95.
St. Marys Aquatic Center
If you’re looking for the most economical water park in the area then look no further than the St. Marys Aquatic Center in St. Marys, Georgia. Like Summer Waves, it features a Lazy River, kids play pool, and adult pool with water slide. General admission is cheaper than Summer Waves “Night Splash” rates thus you can spend all day here for less than a few hours in the evening at Summer Waves. Better still, the St. Marys Aquatic Center also has Night Splash rates that kick in after 4p.m. that cuts even those low rates in half.