Fun, Family-Friendly Indy Activities for Cheap

Published July 2, 2017

There’s only a month left of summer break, but for a parent with school-aged children, those few weeks can seem like an eternity. If your kids are anything like ours, they’ve already made the shift from summertime excitement to full-fledged, whiny boredom. Luckily, Indy is full of fun, family-oriented, FREE (or very inexpensive) activities—many of which even accommodate working parents’ schedules.

1. Tarkington Park

One of Indy’s newest and most exciting play areas, Tarkington Park is a crowd-pleaser for kids of all ages. With slides and swings, a splash pad and parkour area, this is a traditional-playground-meets-adventure-park the whole family is sure to love.
Where: 45 W 40th Street
Hours: Daily, dawn – dusk (spray plaza operates 10am-8pm)
Admission: Free
More Like It: Free Indianapolis Splash Pads & Spray Parks; The Waterpark at Monon Community Center

2. 100 Acres

Just down the road from the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s main campus, the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres is the perfect place to let the kids run wild…AND expose them to a bit of culture. The park not only features hiking trails, bird feeding and viewing stations, and a 35-acre lake, but several climbable, interactive installations to incite your kids’ curiosity. Fun Fact: The Park is one of the largest museum art parks in the country!
Where: 4000 N Michigan Road
Hours: Daily, dawn – dusk
Admission: Free
More Like It: Holliday Park; Crown Hill Cemetery; Indianapolis Cultural Trail

3. The Children’s Museum

Love The Children’s Museum but not the price tag? Admission is just $5 on the first Thursday of every month from 4-8pm!
Where: 3000 N Meridian Street
Hours: First Thursdays, 4pm-8pm
Admission: $5/person
More Like It: ½ Price First Tuesdays at the Indiana State Museum; Free Museum Days at Indianapolis Museums

4. The Indianapolis Public Library

With free events, classes, and programs for the whole family, and locations scattered throughout the city, the Indianapolis Public Library is one of our community’s greatest resources. The Summer Reading Program (through July 29th) encourages kids to read by offering exciting prizes. And if you have a reluctant reader in your midst, you must check out the Paws to Read program at the Eagle Branch.
Where: Multiple locations
Hours: Varied – see website for details
Admission: Free

5. Kids Bowl Free

Select bowling centers around the city offer 2 free games of bowling PER DAY, all summer long! Kids must be registered, so be sure to sign up ASAP to make the most of this incredible program.
Where: Multiple locations
Hours: Varied (program runs through August 26) – contact your preferred location for details
Admission: Free (shoe rental fees not included)
More Like It: Woodland Bowl “Beat the Clock” Sunday Mornings; Regal Cinemas $1 Summer Movie Express; $2 Tuesday Nights at Skateland; $5 Fridays at Greatimes Family Fun Park

6. Concerts on the Canal

The Indiana History Society presents Concerts on the Canal, every Thursday throughout July. Stake out your free seating on the grassy area along the Canal Walk and dance away the evening with the fam. Bonus: On concert nights, the History Center is free and open until 8pm!
Where: 450 W Ohio Street
Hours: 6pm – 8pm
Admission: Free
More Like It: Indy Parks Summer Concert Series; Greenwood Parks Summer Concert Series; Summer Concerts at the Gazebo

These are just a few of our favorites, but there are so many resources out there with great ideas on how to keep your Indy kids occupied, year-round. Check out these links to learn more:

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