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Free or Cheap Things to Do With Kids

Best Free and Cheap things to do in the area 

Don’t we all want to have some fun? Yes, we do but we all also know that some activities can be very costly.

There are, however, fun things to do with kids that don’t necessarily need to break the bank. 

Kids are easy to please, and they love anything as long as they are all together with family and friends and there are great places for free activities for kids nearby.

We have created a list of cheap and free things to do with kids around the DFW area and around Plano TX. 

Free or cheap things to do with kids

Looking for “Free Activities for Kids near me?”

Explore Nature

Here in Plano alone, we’ve got tons of parks that are full of fantastic natural beauty, just perfect for walking, jogging, hiking, and playing.

While the Dallas Arboretum isn’t free, it does have a beautiful children’s garden and is one of the best places for kids near us.

But out in nature, there are some great places for kids fun near to us.

Go hike to nearby nature trails, and if you get lucky, you may be able to see some local wildlife (or a Pokemon).

Try out our new Scavenger Hunt! It’s great for kids, ages 3-12 and makes a great option for toddler activities!

Head to Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve over on the east side of Plano and Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in West Plano.

Arbor Hills Park Plano

Playgrounds to Run Around

The playground is always a huge hit for children!

Today, playgrounds are like miniature amusement parks for free. And, most of them are great for toddlers, kids, and tweens. Many of our Indoor playgrounds offer great free play options for kids.

Picnic at the Park

Weather plays an important part in planning a family picnic, Texas can be unbearable during summer, but spring or fall are great for picnics.

And, keep in mind that Plano surrounding areas have a lot of parks or green spaces that are perfect for setting up a picnic table. 

Check out the Plano Parks and its amenities.

Many offer covered areas for an ad-hoc small family picnic but also for a small fee you can reserve a spot for a larger party. 

Splash Pads

Waterparks can be so expensive, and the crowd can be so overwhelming. So, skip the costly admission fees and long lines; cool off at the splash pads instead.

Most cities around DFW areas have added splash pads to their park, and during Summer, kids definitely will have a blast! Here is the Plano Moms list of some splash pads.

Splash Pads in North Dallas

Go Fishing

Fishing can be very calming and enjoyable; it is a perfect activity for generations of family members to have fun together.

Please double-check local parks rules if you need a fishing license. Here is a link for reference, click here.

Fishing Lake Lewisville

Lake Ray Hubbard

Head to one of these great Museums

The Interurban Railway Museum

The Interurban Railway Museum is located in Plano’s Haggard Park by Historic Downtown Plano is FREE for everyone. You can enjoy a tour of Railway Post Office Car #360.

Every Friday at 10:30 a.m. the museum offers a children’s story time which is geared for preschoolers, it is hosted by professional storytellers.

Nasher Sculpture Museum

There is free admission at the Nasher every first Saturday of the month. It is excellent for everyone, so bring the whole family to enjoy some arts and make memories. Each month features a rotating schedule of things to see and do.

Dallas Modern Museum

General Admission is FREE every day; it includes viewing the museum’s collection galleries and most exhibitions.

Special exhibits will normally $16 but discounted or free admission is available for the following groups: Seniors (65+): $14, military with DOD ID, $14, students with school ID: $12, DMA members: FREE, and children age 11 and under: FREE

The Crow Museum of Asian Art

The Kimbell Art Museum

Admission to the permanent collection of the Museum is always free.

North Park Center

Yes, it is a shopping mall but with a large selection of arts.

NorthPark Center’s internationally acclaimed 20th and 21st-century art collection turns shopping into a world-class cultural experience.  Making museum-quality art available every day for your enjoyment. 

You’ll also need some great Kids eat Free ideas!

Cultivate the Love of Reading

The Library

The library is a great place to hang out with your kids, not just because it is free, but because they are fun as well. While big kids can dive into books or tablets there, there are also fun things for toddlers near to us, too.

Besides reading and checking out piles of books, they have tons of activities for everyone in the family.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble is rewarding kids with a free book (kids can choose from several) after they read eight books and complete a reading journal this summer.

Movies in the Park

Downtown Plano continues to offer us a free movie in the park each summer.

Head out to Haggard Park at the end of every month, June through August, and watch some of the most beloved family-friendly movies.

Game Night

Oh yeah… this can be so fun! Board games such as Monopoly or Pictionary and some card games can be super fun for the whole family. You can even invite friends to come and play together.

Head out for a fun Photo Shoot

We have a ton of great ideas where you can capture some Instagrammable photos around the area

Photo Shoot places in Plano

And, here is the CHEAP Stuff

While many of the activities listed below have reasonable prices, some often have annual memberships with a break-even point at two visits. It is also worth noting some have a free day once a month and you may even find discounts from sites like Livingsocial or Groupon.


Summer can be too hot to be out and about, so museums are great to cool off and at the same time learn something new.

Heritage Farmstead Museum

It is a living history, and you can experience what life is like on the Blackland prairie back in 1891. They offer camps during summertime, but the fun at the Farmstead is not limited during summertime. They are open all year round and offers unique learning opportunities for everyone.

Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Preserve

The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Preserve is a piece of gem. It has 289-acre wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum for the primary purpose of educating children about nature. 

For $10 adult admission and $7 for kids, you are learning new things at the lab, new exhibits to check out, walk at the trail and at the butterfly garden, and play at the pioneer village (this village features eight buildings in playhouse scale that emulate structures that would have been typical in prairie settlements in the late 1800s).

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The membership is all worth it!

For the year, it includes free admission to all the exhibit halls, gives you discounts on parking, discounts to theater admissions and special exhibits, early members hour to skip the crowd, you get free admission to other 360 museums worldwide, some exclusive preview days to traveling exhibitions and pre-public access to special programs like Social Science and lectures.

Family membership for two adults and all children or grandchildren (17 and younger) is $130. 

Watch Movies and have Popcorn

Cinemark West Plano Movies

AMC Theaters

The AMC theaters is the largest movie theater chain in the United States, has had Tuesday as its nationwide discount day.

AMC Stubs members, including ones who had a free membership, were eligible for $5 standard 2D tickets every Tuesday and reduced prices for premium tickets.

Studio Movie Grill

$5 Tuesdays means all of your favorite Hollywood releases are only $5 all day long!

Regal Cinemas

Watch $1 family movies at Regal Cinemas every Tuesday and Wednesday.


Cinemark has a variety of discounts offered for you.

Get Artsy

Summer means doing outdoor fun, but when the heat is unbearable, most notably here in Texas, then there are things to do most especially for our little artist.

It doesn’t cost much to explore, imagine, and create.

Crayola Experience

Check out their membership packages to get the most discounts or grab our exclusive discount too. It’s ideal for “Preschool activities near me”.


You can make creativity happen! Check out their classes and events for kids and adults.

Shakespeare in the Park

This is such a unique opportunity for people to enjoy and experience Shakespeare in a casual setting.

Kids Bowl Free App

Kids Bowl Free has been operating since 2007 and offers kids two free games of bowling a day all summer long at select bowling centers.

This program is designed by bowling centers to give back to the community and give kids a safe and fun way to spend time this summer.

Check out here to learn how it works.

Recreation Centers and Pools

There are so many classes offered at your nearest recreation center.

Most cities always make sure of creating a comfortable and fantastic experience for people of all ages and backgrounds in and around the city.

Have you discovered any others?? Share them with us! 

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