Looking to get the kids out of the house before school starts? Or maybe you’re looking to spend a weekend instead of lounging around. Anyway, many families could also hope to save money.
Throughout Massachusetts, there are plenty of free family activities that are always fun. Whether it’s visiting an animal farm, learning about local history, or spending time outdoors, all of these activities are great for parents who want to do something with their kids.
Below is a list of some free activities for the whole family.
Little River Farm – Belchertown
Little River Farm in Belchertown is a veteran owned family farm. The farm breeds alpacas and shares the animals with the general public through their farm store and through their social media channels. It is also home to mini donkeys, Nigerian dwarf goats and chickens which children and adults can visit.
Tours are free, but for groups of six or more, registration is required. You can register here.
You can also check out photos of their animals on the farm’s Instagram page.
Mount Holyoke Range State Park – Amherst
Families who love hiking can enjoy the panoramic view from the top of the mountains.
“The 3,000-acre Mount Holyoke Range State Park includes a 7-mile mountain ridgeline. The park also includes streams, wetlands, woods and thickets. Visitors can explore more than 30 miles of marked trails,” reads the state’s website.
Parking is free and the park is open Sunday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other kid-friendly hiking trails in the area include Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton and Fitzgerald Conservation Area in Northampton.
Salem Witch Trials Memorial – Salem
One thing for history-loving families is to revisit what really happened in Salem in 1692.
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial honors the 20 victims of the 1692 witch trials. Four-foot-tall granite walls surround three sides, with granite benches representing each victim. On each bench is engraved a name, the means of their execution and the date of execution.
Visitors can read the defendant’s words directly from court transcripts on the stone. The words “God knows I’m innocent” are cut off in the middle of the sentence, representing the lives cut short in 1692.
Tours of the memorial are free and can be browsed at leisure.
Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden – Springfield
It is the ideal place to tire the children while having fun.
The sculpture garden celebrates Dr. Seuss in the city where he was born and raised. Opened in 2002, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden was first envisioned when Ted Geisel visited Springfield in 1986. After his death in 1991, his wife Audrey authorized the creation of the memorial and provided major support to the project. In 1996, sculptor Lark Gray Dimond-Cates was selected to make over 30 bronze statues for the museum grounds.
Kids are free to run and play in the outdoor space amid iconic Dr. Seuss characters. You can see an interactive map of the sculpture grounds here.
Worcester Public Library Community Party – Worcester
The Worcester Public Library is hosting its second annual block party at its main Salem Square branch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on August 13.
“The event will include free FUN activities and entertainment, as well as food trucks and vendors. We hope to see you there! reads on the library’s Facebook page.
Free performances at the events will include DJ Chuck Chillin, Wicked Good Henna, face painting from Face Escape, East Coast Entertainment Photo Booth, Magic Fred’s Magic Show, Curious Creatures Reptile Exhibit, plus an inflatable slide and basketball.
The party will also have more than 60 vendors, including crafts, nonprofits, children’s programs and more. Parking is free, according to the event page.
Charles River Fishing – Hopkinton to Boston
Looking to teach kids to fish? The Charles River might be one of the best places to do this.
Fishing pressure is very light and some areas of the river produce quality fish of all kinds, On The Water wrote of the river.
The Charles River Basin, the section of the river between Watertown Dam and Boston Harbor, offers one of the largest public boating programs in the world. It is also home to several rowing and yacht clubs, is the setting for a world-class rowing regatta and, most importantly, offers excellent places for fishing. Whether in a speedboat or a small kayak, everyone is welcome to fish for free.
Drive-in movies across the state
Several cities and towns in Massachusetts have planned their free series of outdoor movie nights. Families will only need to remember to bring blankets, chairs and snacks. Besides the basics of watching movies, everything is free.
From Springfield to Mashpee on the Cape, click here to see free outdoor movie screenings near you. Almost every place offers kid-friendly movie options.
Out to Lunch Festival and Farmers Market – Worcester
The City of Worcester has announced that its Out to Lunch Festival and Farmer’s Market will return to Worcester Common for its 12th year.
The free festivals, which feature musical performances, local artists and artisans, restaurants, farmers, community organizations and nonprofits, are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on August 18 and September 1.
With the record number of applicants, this year’s events will feature nearly 60 vendors, up from 30 to 45 at previous Out to Lunch events, MassLive previously reported.
East Coast Soul is scheduled to perform on August 18 and Whitey Doucet and the Moonshine Band will perform on September 1.
Discover Dinosaur Footprints – Holyoke
Kids can see and touch real dinosaur footprint fossils at Dinosaur Footprints in Holyoke.
The property is home to over 800 fossils, including the earliest dinosaur footprints ever scientifically described. In fact, guests may be able to experience more Podokesaurus Holyokensis – the state dinosaur of Massachusetts. The carnivorous dinosaur was first discovered near Mount Holyoke in 1910 by Mignon Talbot, the first woman to name and describe a dinosaur. The species was 3 to 6 feet long, weighed around 90 pounds, and was estimated at 9 to 12 mph.
Dinosaur Footprints is open April 1 through November 30 daily, sunrise to sunset. Guests should allow at least half an hour to spend on the property, the website suggests.
You can view a trail map here.
Visit museums across the state
Massachusetts museums will receive free admission to Smithsonian Magazine’s annual Museum Day.
The annual holiday takes place on September 17 and is a one-day event at all participating museums in the United States, offering free admission to anyone who presents a Museum Day ticket.
Attendees can download one ticket per email address and the ticket provides free general admission for two people.
Massachusetts will have at least 11 participating museums. See below for the full list.
Do you have a free activity that is not on the list? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org