Summer break doesn't have to be expensive. Here are dozens of budget-friendly family things to do that the kids will love!
Having fun with the kids over the summer break can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Looking for budget-friendly things to do with kids? You've come to the right place.
Fortunately, there are plenty of events and fun places to visit around Dayton on a budget. These options run $10 or less per person - oodles of them are FREE!
ARTventures - A fun and creative Saturday afternoon family art-making experience. Normally held the 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month. (May/June 4th Saturday only). Drop in between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. to learn new art-making techniques and create artwork and memories that you’ll take home and cherish.
When: May 26: Art Camp Sampler June 23: Monet's Waterlilies July 14: Clay Portraiture July 28: Celebrating Celebrities August 11: Terrific Typography August 25: Creative Collages
Cost: $10/family of four for members $15/family of four for non-members $2/each additional child
Try Paddlesports for free! Kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, or canoe over-views will be given. Depending on demand, you may be able to try different boats.
When: June 14, July 5 and August 1
Trust us, the Butterfly House, Tree Tower, trails, and gardens at Cox Arboretum need to be on your list. One of the few exhibits in the country featuring all native butterflies, the Butterfly House is well worth the visit. Pack or pick up lunch and have a picnic, check out the gardens, hike a trail, and don't forget to climb the Tree Tower (now open following repairs).
When: Knowledgeable volunteers on hand in the Butterfly House from July 5 through August 31: Mon.-Sat., 10 AM-12 PM Sun., 12-2 PM
Great American Campout at Possum Creek Metropark - Take the National Wildlife Federation's pledge to celebrate camping as a way to connect with nature and wildlife. Pack the tent and the family, Five Rivers Metroparks will provide the campfire, hotdogs and s'mores.
When: June 23 (3p Saturday to 10a Sunday June 24) Check in at the campsite between 3-5pm.
Cost: $25 per family (up to 5 people) Advance Registration Required
Bike Rodeo For Kids at Wegerzyn Gardens Metropark - Join Rangers and MVPs for a day of bicycle safety. Bring your two-wheeled bicycle (with or without training wheels) for a bicycle course. Receive a free bike helmet, properly fitted (while quantities last) (no large hair accessories, please). The bicycle course teaches students the rules of the road. Supported by Dayton Children's Hospital and Safe Kids Dayton.
When: May 25 8a-12:30p
Cost: FREE for Children 3-15 Registration Requested, Walk-ins Welcome
Super Science Saturday - Each year, the Boonshoft Museum hosts four dates that offer FREE admission. Super Science Saturdays include access to Special Exhibitions, Space Theater Shows (limited seating available), and public programming.
When: 10a - 4p August 18 November 17
Cost: FREE Admission
The Armstrong Air & Space Museum is open year round. Enjoy the Wapakoneta Summer Moon Festival July 21 & 22. The museum is filled with motion and sound. There are seven interactive exhibits, ten audio/visual elements, and three simulators. Visitors can practice landing the lunar module and space shuttle, or docking the Gemini capsule, as Neil Armstrong did in 1966. Adults will find the simulators just as challenging and entertaining as the kids do.
When: April to September Monday - Saturday: 9:30 AM to 5 PM Sunday: Noon to 5 PM
Cost: Adults $8.00 Seniors (60+) $7.00 Children (6-12) $4.00 Children (5 and under) Free
Hand-led pony rides for youngsters ages 2-8 at the Riding Center at Carriage Hill MetroPark.
When: Saturdays June through October
Cost: $5 per child
Sundays are the best time to visit the largest indoor entertainment center in Dayton. Take advantage of the Sunday Family Meal Deal and get 4 x $10 arcade game cards plus a large one-topping pizza for $39.95. That's $10 per kid!
When: Every Sunday
Hollywood Film Series - The 4th Sunday of each month catch a movie for just $5 per person. All films are shown on the six-story giant screen in the Air Force Museum Theatre, located inside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Accompanied by amazing eight-channel surround sound, the largest screen in SW Ohio puts you at the center of the action in a way no ordinary theatre can.
When: Typically the 4th Sunday of each month
Cost: $5 each
The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park is a five-unit park located in and around Dayton. Experience the historically refurnished Wright brothers' printing office, walk through an original Wright brothers' bicycle shop, see the Wright brothers' third airplane, and tour Paul Laurence Dunbar's last home.
When: Wright Dunbar & Wright Cycle Co. - SUMMER 2018 SEASONAL HOURS: March 4 through November TBD, 2018 Open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Every Day Paul Laurence Dunbar House - Fri/Sat/Sun 10a-4p
With hundreds of aerospace vehicles and missiles, along with thousands of historical items and powerful sensory exhibits, the National Museum of the United States Air Force is a must-visit-multiple-times destination. You might find yourself running from one exhibit to another at a faster pace than you'd prefer with children, but there's so much to see - and it's FREE! Check the schedule for family days (held monthly on Saturdays 9a-3p). If it's been a while since your last visit, be sure you make it to the 4th building, where you'll find the Presidential Gallery, featuring Kennedy's Air Force One. You'll also find the Space Shuttle Exhibit here, where the kids will love the interactive shuttle landing simulators.
When: Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day
Cost: FREE Admission, Parking, and WiFi
You'll find more at Carillon Park than you expect. Visit the Wright Brothers Aviation Area, History on the Hill and Moraine Trails, Early Settlement Area, Print Shop, The Great Flood of 1913 Exhibit, World War 1 Exhibit, Heritage Center of Dayton Manufacturing, & the James F Dicke Family Transportation Center during regular hours. Enjoy The Heritage Festival May 27 and Rail Festival June 23 & 24.
When: Monday–Saturday: 9:30am–5:00pm, Sunday: 12:00pm–5:00pm *Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day
Cost: Admission: $8 per adult (ages 18–59) $7 per senior (60+) $5 per child (3–17) Children under 3 and Carillon Historical Park Members FREE Train Rides are $1 Per Person Per Ride
Laser Web Dayton - Laser Web is 5,000 square foot laser tag arena or sneak around the laser maze room and avoid the lasers! Buy One Laser Tag Game or Laser Maze and Get One Free All Day Every Monday.
When: Mondays 5-10p thru May 21, 2-10p through August 2018
Cost: Laser Tag - 1 Mission $8 / Laser Maze - 1 Run $2
Your kids will love Decoy Art Center! The price on the piece you pick includes everything you need to finish your project - paints/glazes, tools, stencils, and the firing of pottery.
When: Mondays 12-5 pm ( when Beavercreek Schools are out) Tuesday-Thursday: 11 am-8 pm Friday: 11 am-9 pm Saturday: 10 am-9 pm Sunday: 12-6 pm
Cost: Walk-In Pottery Painting - $2 and up - Glass Painting $5 and up / TWO for TUESDAY special! Pick 2 from the orange shelves - kid friendly - for $20!
The Children's Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Garden MetroPark allows kids to play, learn, and interact with nature. Habitat areas and whimsical themed gardens for children and their adult companions to explore together including a Sensory Garden, Sandboxes, Fossil Cave, Music Maze, and Water Features.
When: April 1 – Oct. 31:10 AM – 10 PM Nov. 1 – Dec. 31: 10 AM – 8 PM The water feature is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 10 AM – 8 PM. Closed Jan. and Feb. March 1- March 31: 10 AM – 8 PM
The Dayton Metro Library offers many fun, interactive and informative programs designed for children of all ages. One such program being offered this summer - "Libraries Rock" - is providing free, live concerts for kids and teens.
When: M, T, Th: 9:30 am - 8:30 pm W, F, Sat: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm Sun: Closed (Main Branch open 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm)
The kids will have a blast and make new friends while cooling off in one of the Splash Zones around Dayton. Don't forget the sunscreen!
When: Most splash pads observe daylight hours Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Dayton Local is your guide to the best water parks around Dayton, but Sycamore Trails Aquatic Center offers great daily rates and features a 174-ft tube slide, 133-ft body slide, aquatic climbing wall, padded tot frog slide and more.
When: May 26-August 20 Monday-Thursday Noon-8:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday & Sunday* Noon-7:00 p.m. *Sundays are reserved for residents, season passholders and their guests, ONLY
Cost: Miamisburg Residents: Toddler 3 & under FREE, Youth (4-17) $3.50, Adult (18-54) $4, Senior (55+) $3.50
Non-Resident Rates: Toddler 3 & under FREE, Youth (4-17) $6, Adult (18-54) $7, Senior (55+) $6
Each free festival at The Fraze features live music and a variety of food, beverage, and craft vendors.
When: Spass Nacht - An Austrian Festival is June 20; Sliders, Sides & Suds is June 16; Kickin' Chicken Wing Fest is July 14; Miami Valley Youth & Teen Talent Show is July 25; Festival of the Vine is August 11, and the ever popular Bacon Fest is back on August 18.
Cost: FREE Admission
Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature at Glen Helen. Guests are asked to stay on designated trails and "leave no trace" of your visit.
When: Trails are open from dawn to dusk.
Cost: $5 Parking fee per car
When: Event dates and times vary.
The Playscape at Russ Nature Reserve is local hidden gem is a unique destination for local families. What makes a "playscape" different from a "playground" is that its features are almost all created from natural materials. A log cabin and a tee pee provide a perfect setting for open-ended, creative play, and there is no shortage of other features designed to engage. Climb a tree, play on the giant see-saw, build a fort, walk the tight ropes, practice your parkour and more. The excitement at the playscape is only limited by your imagination!
When: Open year-round
There are well over 150 free concerts around Dayton this summer there is something for everyone. Expand your horizons and explore a variety of genres and cultures.
When: May through October
Watch a movie outdoors! Several communities around the Dayton area are planning family movie nights (21 nights in total listed for 2018). Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the show!
Cost: Almost all are FREE
Touch-A-Trucks are fun and FREE hands-on events for the whole family and there are several Touch-A-Trucks around the Dayton area.
When: June & July
When: 10am, select Saturdays through Aug 4 at Riverscape Metropark
Move your workout outdoors! Come enjoy a terrific, free, outdoor workout at Riverscape! Wear comfortable clothes, bring water and a mat for yoga class.
Children are eligible to register for 2 free games each day of the Kids Bowl Free program, all summer long, courtesy of the participating bowling centers. Registration Required. Ages, days, and hours vary at participating bowling Centers.
When: All summer long
Cost: Bowl 2 FREE Games (does not include shoe rental).
Sign your children up for a Kids Skate Free pass! Registration Required. Ages, days and hours vary at participating rinks.
When: All summer long
Learning Tree Farm is open during daylight hours to visitors wanting to see our animals and enjoy the outdoors. Bring a picnic lunch, enjoy the hiking trails, and visit the animals and farm garden. Wear comfortable shoes - mud boots or old shoes are a great choice. Please close the gates and barn doors after yourself to help keep the animals safe. Don’t forget to take your trash home with you.
When: Daily 9:00 AM to Dusk
Cost: $3 per person $10 for groups of four or more Children two and under are FREE!
Beat the Rainy Summer Blues at Fairhaven Church’s Play Area. For children ages 0-6. Softplay area for children 0-2 years, tube play area for children 3-6 years.
When: 12-4p Monday - Friday 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM Sunday
Sign up for the KIDX Club at The Mall at Fairfield Commons and enjoy a variety of free kids activities designed to entertain and educate.
When: Events, dates and times vary