By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph. D.

Free and low-cost activities come in handy when the kids are home in the summer! My children are definitely counting down the days and planning for all of their summer excursions. While children are often excited for summer to start and to get away from homework, parents are often panicking. Whether you are a stay at home parent or working elsewhere, trying to find things to do with your children can be stressful. Throw in rising costs of everything, and it’s downright overwhelming. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

One of the things that I’ve done every May (especially when the kids don’t go to summer camp), is make a list of free and low cost things that we can do as a family. I start researching what’s going on in the Triad and make a list. Soon enough, I find that I’ve listed more things than we have time for, which is great.

If your children are home for the summer and not engaging in a full-day camp, here are my favorite adventures you should try…

Free and Low-Cost Activities in the Triad

free and low costHanging Rock State Park (Danbury)TMoM has run several blogs about all there is to do at this local state park. Read more about here and here, plus cabin camping here!

Coffee Mill in Lewisville I often take my children here. The last time, they got to see a “science experiment” when they watched their teas turn color.  We had a blast lounging in the coffee shop.

Old Salem:  Families can tour Old Salem in Winston-Salem, visit trails, bakeries, and gift shops.

Picnic at Pilot Mountain (Pilot Mountain) Picnic tables, restrooms, drinking water and shelters available on a first-come first-served basis free of charge.

Public Library Events:  These events take place all Triad libraries, however, not all events are in-person yet.  Be sure to view your local library page to see what’s happening for the month. You can visit their pages here: Forsyth County Public Library, Greensboro Public Library, High Point Public Library.

Lake Brandtfree and low cost: Walk the trails, or have a family picnic. Kayaking, stand-up paddling boarding, and canoeing are allowed on Lake Brandt.

All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm (High Point):  Here, you can let the butterflies tickle your nose. In the Flight House you are surrounded by hundreds of monarchs, as they are enjoying their perfectly landscaped environment. Great for photo opportunities!

Salem Lake (W-S):  The kids have a great time running around Salem Lake and playing and I enjoy the peace of the water. There’s also a playground nearby for the kids to exert energy.

Greensboro Science Center (Greensboro):  This is a great trip for the entire family and you can save money when you purchase a membership.

Winterpast Farm (Wake Forest) – A ten acre family farm near Falls Lake (formerly a tobacco farm, a Christmas tree farm, and a horse farm), as well as an animal sanctuary where goats, sheep, emu, a mini donkey several types of ducklings, peacocks, a goose, pigs and lots of bunnies, guinea pigs (most former pets) and chickens all co-exist peacefully.

Greensboro History Museum – The museum celebrates Greensboro’s local culture and the city’s prominent place in American history. With more than 17,000 square feet of stories, the Greensboro History Museum is bigger and better, making it the place to learn about Greensboro.

Eden Drive-InIf you’ve never been to a drive through, you’ve got to try this. Pick the movie, get in the car, and enjoy a night under the stars!

Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden (Greensboro): Take a walk through this garden of trails, flowers, statues, and sitting areas.

Providence Farm (McLeansville) – A real life, working farm with animals, bugs, and dirt. If you are interested in an interactive, educational field trip, this one will keep your kids engaged!

Arboretum Lindley Park (Greensboro) – A17-acre garden tucked in the Lindley Park neighborhood. The garden features 14 plant collections, paved walking trail, special display gardens, wedding gazebo, scenic overlook, and more.

NC Zoofree and low cost (Asheboro) – This is definitely a day trip, but the different animals, playgrounds, and continent traveling are amazing! Plus, a membership at the Zoo gives you free reciprocal membership at other zoos and aquariums!

Celebration Station(Greensboro) – For a very small fee, enjoy their arcade, mini golf, bumper boats, and more!

Reed Gold Mine (Midland) – Want to mine for gold?  Try this place out and even take a tour. TMoM also highlights a relatively inexpensive day trip at Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite.

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher (Kure Beach) – This is an iconic aquarium that makes for a great diversion when you’re at the beach. Plus it’s one of the many places you can visit for free with your NC Zoo membership!

Whatever you choose, there are a many places children can visit in the Triad. Most are low-cost or free and fun for various ages. Also, don’t forget about those summer reading challenges!

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