By: Martianne Stanger
In the past week, my family has released endangered red-bellied cooter turtles…
…enjoyed climbing on all sorts of DPW equipment and collecting some freebies…
…watched a police dog exhibition, clamored into police vehicles, potted plants, had faces painted, enjoyed hots dogs, hamburgers, and more…
…all for FREE!
How? Simply by keeping our eyes and ears open for the many free community events that spring up from May through September in our area. For, truly, once summer weather springs forth, so does a plethora of opportunities for free family fun!
Many of those activities are not posted quite yet, but they will be soon, no doubt. Five places I tend to look for them are:
1. The Department of Conservation and Recreation Events Page
No matter what part of the Massachusetts you are from, you can find beautiful state parks nearby. Many of these host walks, talks, and family-friendly programs that, in my experience, are anything but crowded. From guided hikes, to critter-catch-and-release beach walks, to historical and environmental talks, my family has enjoyed a wide variety of free programs run by our state recreation department. All have been worthwhile and fun!
For at least four summers running, our family has enjoyed Junior Ranger programs, guided walks, and informative talks offered by the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center. The rangers are GREAT with children and the evening programs, geared for a more mature crowd, sometimes are appropriate and interesting for children, too. The full summer schedule for such free offerings is not out yet, but news of the free and fun Boating and Water Safety Day on June 25 is already available.
There’s a big 150th anniversary celebration coming up on June 4, plus there are loads of free fishing events and more already scheduled. Take a peek at the event calendar to see what might appeal to you.
4. Small History Museums and Community Groups
I tend to keep a running list of great little places and groups I have heard about and to check their webpages and Facebook pages regularly. In doing so, I find out about such free-and-fun events as the annual Plymouth Outdoors National Trails Day, where you can enjoy guided walks, demos, and more, and the Strawberry County Festival in Rehoboth at the Carpenter Museum on June 5 where you can dive into history with hands-on fun.
5. Local Library Websites
So many local libraries offer fabulous, free programing during the summer. Movie nights, kids’ shows, workshops, and more abound and are often open to residents from other towns. So, be sure to check out the events page of your local library and of ones within driving distance of you, too.
Honestly, with just a small investment of time spent browsing online, you can ensure you and your family enjoy a wide variety of educational and enrichment experiences out in the sunshine at nearby parks or basking in the a/c of libraries and community centers. We are so blessed to live in proximity to loads of beautiful spaces and free places and events to enjoy.