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Having fun for FREE!

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The economy is facing uncertain times. Pennies are being pinched all over the place. Many of us are sitting down and re-prioritizing where our money is going. The necessities get taken care of first, with hopes of there being something left over for the fun stuff.

They say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” That may be true, but if you’re careful with your planning and do a little research, you CAN have lots of fun in the Denver Metro Area for FREE! (And, I’m not just talking about all our wonderful parks or indoor play areas.)

Having fun for FREE? For real? Yes!

Where? Well, here are some great places to check out…for FREE!

First, we have The Children’s Museum of Denver.

The Children’s Museum of Denver is open to the public for FREE on the first Tuesday of the month. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on that Tuesday, there is no admission charge, and you and your kids can experience all the different rooms, nooks and crannies…for FREE.

Claire and I had the opportunity to check it out, and she had a blast! It was rather crowded, so I was sure to pack a little extra patience in my bag, and we had a great time. She loved the nature exhibit where she got to crawl around in the tunnels with the other furry woodland critters. She loved shopping for groceries at the supermarket and then using those items to make a meal in the kitchen that she then served to us at the restaurant counter.

It was hard getting her to leave the workshop area where she and Daddy put together a project, using real tools! After that, it was onto the art center where she painted a picture, before heading to the dance floor to try out her new moves in front of the mirror.

There were so many things to do that her answer to “what was your favorite part” was a list of things!

The Denver Children’s Museum is located at 2121 Children’s Museum Drive or on the web. Parking was free. Admission was free. Even with the crowds, we had a great time!

So, if the normal Admission Prices (that range from $5.50 to $7.50) aren’t in your budget for the month, go down to The Children’s Museum on the first Tuesday of the month for FREE!

Another awesome example of a fun FREE thing to do is The Denver Art Museum!

The Denver Art Museum is open to the public for FREE on the first Saturday of every month. Before I visited The Denver Art Museum, I had no idea that there were a lot of things for kids to do! I love art museums, and although most sections of it are the typical “please don’t touch” displays, there are a whole bunch of things devoted to children.

In fact, when you go, there are two places you need to check out with your kids: The Bubble Floor and the Kids Corner.

The Bubble Floor is located on the second floor of the Hamilton Building, right before you cross the bridge to get to the North Building. (If you’re lost, just ask someone where “the bubble floor” is, and they can help you.) This room has a projector that shoots bubble images onto the floor, and when you step on the bubble, it bursts! It’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. The kids love running all over that space, stomping on the bubbles. In fact, it’s usually the last place we go to work out that very last bit of energy before the car ride home. (There are also comfy chairs for the adults in that area. Oddly enough, the chairs are completely ignored by the kids. Go figure.)

The Kids Corner is located in the North Building on the First Floor in the Just For Fun Family Center. Claire had so much fun creating her own piece of artwork! You just grab a black palette to use as a work surface, choose a piece of paper as your canvas and then use your scissors and glue to make a masterpiece. You can use the provided markers and stencils to put on the finishing touches.

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This is truly a kid-friendly section of The Denver Art Museum. In fact, the sign by the turtle tells you to climb right on!

Claire is only 3-yrs old, but she loves looking at the different pieces of art throughout the museum. But, like a typical preschooler, her attention span is only so long. Because of that, we’re careful to mix some “now these are the ones you don’t touch; just look at these with your eyes” displays with the “let’s go make a piece of art!” sections. In fact, throughout the museum are different “hands on” areas with fun little things to explore or make.

One thing we haven’t done yet, but we plan to do when she’s a bit older, is check out one of their free “backpacks” or “art tubes.” These are fun packs that contain different art projects to work on or puzzles to complete as you tour the museum.

The Denver Art Museum campus is hard to miss at 100 W 14th Avenue Pkwy. Their website has great directions on the best place to park and the latest information about their exhibits.

Note: Depending on where you park, there may be a fee, so keep that in mind. Every time we’ve gone, we like to park in the garage, and because we’re not paying for admission, the $5 charge for the day fits into our budget. (Parking prices may vary, of course.)

If the Admission prices (that range from $7 to $15) aren’t in your budget for the month, mark your calendar to check out the museum on the first Saturday of the month for FREE!

Both The Children’s Museum and The Denver Art Museum are free on a once-a-month basis, but what if you want to do something fun with your kids during the week or more often?

One of our favorite & FREE activities to do on a weekly basis is Story Time at our local library. Every library offers story times throughout the week. Many of them are daily and geared toward different age-groups.

Here are some quick links to find the ones in your area:

Denver Public Library Site
Jefferson County Public Library Site
Boulder Public Library Site
Adams County (Rangeview) Public Library Site

The Story Times at each location are unique. Some incorporate dancing or singing or crafts with their stories. The kids have a blast, and it’s a fun & FREE activity.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to fun & FREE things to do in the Denver area. In fact, Denver has a great website devoted to Free Activities, and it can be found by clicking here.

I love showing my daughter that fun things don’t have to cost cartloads of cash. So, what are you waiting for? Mark your calendars; get out there, and have fun…for FREE!

Where are your favorite places to have fun for FREE?

JoAnn
Author: JoAnn

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson March 18, 2009

    These are two of my favorites! Some of my favorite things to do for free are to walk around Washington Park with the kids and have a picnic, hike Red Rocks, or play in the stream at Lair of the Bear in the summertime.

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver March 18, 2009

    Great tips! Can’t wait to check out the Bubble Floor.

    We like to climb the stairs at Mother Cabrini Shrine. Good exercise, cool destination, and great views. Pretty darn easy on the wallet, too.

  • comment avatar Russ March 18, 2009

    Don’t forget the wonderful joys of Doors Open Denver, Coming in April!

    http://www.denvergov.org/Default.aspx?alias=www.denvergov.org/doorsopendenver

    russ
    http://www.radruss.com

  • comment avatar Suzanne B (Crunchy green Mom) March 18, 2009

    I love all of those! I try to do 1-2 free things a month.

    Here are a few of mine:(And some I haven’t tried yet)

    First Sunday of every month Free.
    Denver Museum of Dolls, Minatures and toys
    http://www.denver.org/events/detail?e=10576&t=free_events

    Starting May 1st, every Saturday is free at the Bowles House in Westminister.

    http://www.denver.org/events/detail?e=11008&t=free_events

    Colorado People’s Fair is coming the first weekend of June!!

    http://www.denver.org/events/detail?e=12058&t=festivals

    27th Annual Highlands People’s Fair is coming June 20th!

    http://www.denver.org/events/detail?e=11504&t=festivals

    Just some fun things to do this spring!
    Great article!

  • comment avatar Jess March 18, 2009

    Those are all lots of fun. The bubble floor is something we’ll have to go to April’s first Saturday.

    There’s also Old Globeville Days on July 18th and 19th. Lots and lots of good food!
    http://orthodoxfoodfestival.wetpaint.com/

    Jess
    http://7cubed.net/babycubed

  • comment avatar Momma, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com March 18, 2009

    These are all great ideas! Keep ’em comin’! 🙂

  • comment avatar Laura March 19, 2009

    Great info! We need to go check out that bubble floor! Something we love to do when it’s a little warmer is play in the stream at Belleview Park in Englewood. Besides the great wading stream, they have a train that goes around the park, and a great little petting zoo. Those aren’t free, but I think admission is around a dollar a kid – pretty affordable! It’s a great place to spend an afternoon and have a picnic!

  • comment avatar Hannah March 23, 2009

    Free event: Camp Jam’s Ready Set ROCK Tour!
    April 4,2009
    11:30 am
    Guitar Center
    1585 South Colorado Blvd
    Denver,CO 80222

    3 pm
    Guitar Center
    9647 E County Line Rd
    Englewood ,CO 80112

    Camp Jam’s Ready Set ROCK! Tour is a free, interactive music event that includes a “My Mom Rocks” Karaoke Contest, where moms are invited to battle it out with a live backing band for the chance to win a free week at Camp Jam’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Summer Day Camp for their son or daughter plus a $100 Spa Gift Certificate, and a Rock Solo Contest for young rockers, ages 7 to 17 who are invited to come down, plug in and play their best 30-second rock solo for a chance to win a free week to Camp Jam’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Summer Day Camp and a $100 music store gift card. 

    Visit Campjam.com or call 1-800-513-0930 to secure a time slot in the contest. Walk-ups are welcome .