Is summer getting expensive? Save your dough with these Free Summer Activities!
No matter how you slice it, summer is expensive.
Somewhere between ice cream and the ziplining, your wallet just went up in flames. Before you run out and get a second job, I’ve got good news. There’s a boatload of things to do around the Seacoast that cost nothing. Check these out next time you’re feeling a little light.
Like movies? You’re in luck. Free outdoor cinema is everywhere on the Seacoast! In Durham, the Memorial Union Building at UNH (the “MUB”) offers free showings of family-friendly movies at 7:00pm each Wednesday night in July (unhmub.com). On Thursday nights in August, Exeter’s Swasey Park hosts an outdoor movie night showing family-friendly selections out on the lawn. Movies start at dusk (approximately 8pm-8:15pm). For movie titles and additional info, visit visitexeternh.com.
Prescott Park in Portsmouth hosts a weekly outdoor movie every Monday night from late June through the end of August. Check their website for movie titles (prescottpark.org). Also weekly on Monday nights through August 28, Hampton Beach welcomes families for a cinematic evening under the stars. Movies start at dusk; Movie line-up announced on their Facebook page, visit hamptonbeach.com for more info.
Worth a Mention:
O’neil Cinemas in Epping presents their annual “O’neil Summer Kids’ Series” which runs every Monday and Wednesday at 10am through August 10. Admission is just $1 for kids 11 and under and $2 for everyone else. See oneilcinemas.com for the full line-up.
Free Children’s Entertainment
Cochecho Arts Festival hosts a different national or regional children’s performer every Tuesday morning at 10:30am at the Rotary Arts Pavilion Stage in Downtown Dover (cochechoartsfestival.org). The Kids’ Koncert Series at the Somersworth High School Outdoor Pavilion runs every Wednesday for five weeks in the summer (July 12-August 9 at 6:00pm), you can view family-friendly entertainment on the lawn (nhfestivals.org). Stratham Parks & Recreation has a great summer lineup just for kids! Every Friday at 10:30am from July 14-August 4, you can check out the best in children’s entertainment. Performance locations vary, visit strathamnh.gov for more details. In addition to its regular evening performances, Prescott Park offers several matinee showings of Mary Poppins throughout the summer. See a schedule at prescottpark.org.
Worth a Mention:
This one’s jam packed. The Hampton Beach Children’s Festival, running August 14-18, is a week-long extravagant of little kid fun with all-day daily live entertainment, hands-on activities, music, parades and more. See the daily line-up of activities at hamptonbeach.com.
Free Museum Passes
This summer, 80+ museums and other cultural institutions in Boston and Massachusetts open their doors for Free Fun Fridays. Each Friday from June to the end of August, a new list of eight museums offers free admission for all—a great way to explore museums you may not normally visit! For the season line-up, visit highlandstreet.org.
Worth a Mention:
Your local library is a wealth of resources. In addition to many Children’s Room activities (crafts, story times and reading programs), they also allow library card holders to “borrow” free and discounted passes to museums all over New England. Check your local library’s website for a list of participating museums and discounts.
Free Nature Activities
Mount Agamenticus has found a way to combine outdoor fun and education with their seasonal Story Walk™ program by taking children’s books and posting them, in pieces, along a recreational path or hiking trail. Available every day, dawn to dusk (agamenticus.org). The Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland is a fantastic place to visit with self-guided walking path tours through the woods, marsh and estuary. The Learning Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00am – 4:00pm, with hands-on exhibits, stories and historical artifacts explaining life on the NH seacoast. The grounds are open year-round, dawn to dusk.
Did you know that Seabrook Nuclear Power Station has a free educational science and nature center? Did you know you can find a Barbie doll, a bicycle and a rare orange and white lobster inside? The learning center is a self-guided tour through hands-on educational exhibits while the outdoor Owascoag Nature Trail offers a ¾ mile boardwalk through the habitats of the salt marsh and surrounding woodlands. The Seabrook Nature & Science Center is FREE and open to the public by appointment only, call (800) 338-7482.
Worth a Mention:
Joppa Flats, a Mass Audubon facility in Newburyport, offers tons of free classes and weekly activities including Meet the Beach Creatures, Free-for-All festivals, See, Think & Wonder Walks and much more. Although all of the above activities are free, donations are graciously accepted at each location.