FREE & CHEAP SUMMER FUN
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by Vicki Powers, Houston on the Cheap
Kids are out of school now — so summer 2012 is here! Here is a round-up of free and cheap things to keep your family fun alive this summer — without the “I’m bored” statements. Plus you can do most of these for FREE! I have added a link in the top navigation bar at Houston on the Cheap so you can find the updated list as needed. I will cover all these on my blog over the next few weeks, but here is a list I’ve created of summer fun on the cheap:
Free and $1 Summer Movie Camps: Cinemark $1/each or 10 for $5, start 6/19; Rave Cinemas free, 2x week, 10 am start 6/4; Studio Movie Grill M-F, 11 am, $1 kid/$2 adult, 6/4-8/20; Santikos Silverado, Free 6/12-7/21, 11 am; Regal Summer Movie at Edwards Marq*e, 10 am, $1 movies start 6/5; Alamo Drafthouse (Mason Park in Katy), free movie each weekday at 11 am from June 4 – June 20, June 25 – 28 and July 10-14
Free Outdoor Movies at Miller Outdoor: Joyful Noise (6/8), Jaws (7/3), Forrest Gump (7/5) and more
Free Outdoor Movies at Discovery Green: IKEA Screen on the Green, The Muppets (6/9), 9 pm; Date Night Movie (6/23) featuring Dirty Dancing; Julydoscope (7/28) featuring The Wiz
Friday Night Films at Whole Foods Market: The Chronicles of Narnia (6/8), Ghostbusters (6/22). Movies start at twilight. Only at the Montrose store, 701 Waugh.
Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow at Market Square Park, 8pm: Mr. Mom (6/17), National Lampoon’s Vacation (7/11)
Free Summer Symphony Nights: Miller Outdoor (6/15, 6/16, 6/22, 6/23, 7/4), 8:30 pm
Free Sounds Like Fun Series (in the community) by Houston Symphony: 6/26, 11am @ Miller Outdoor; 6/26, 7:30 pm @ The Centrum in Spring; 6/27, 11am @ Pershing Middle School, 3838 Blue Bonnet Blvd.; 6/28, 7:30pm @ Church Without Walls, 5725 Queenston; 6/29, 11am @ Ripley House, 4410 Navigation; 6/30, 7:30pm @ St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 15500 El Camino Real
Houston Chronicle $1 Concert: 7/15, 7:30pm at Jones Hall by Houston Symphony. $1 tickets are general admission. Premium reserved seats available for $10.
Free Summer Reading Programs at local public libraries, H-E-B, Barnes & Noble, Pottery Barn Kids and more.
Story time Tours at Rienzi: “Tales & Tours,” Wednesdays, June-July, 10 am. MFAH home, 1406 Kirby
Camp Blue Willow: Wednesdays, June & July, 4 pm, 1st-5th gr.; Blue Willow Bookshop (Memorial)
Page to the Stage Book Club: 6/9, book study of Pinkalicious w/ Main Street Theater at Blue Willow
SAGOSTUND (Story time) at IKEA Houston: Tuesdays (noon – 2pm) in the IKEA restaurant. Magicians, storytellers and more for all ages. Kids eat free every Tuesday all day!
Story time at Pottery Barn Kids: Tuesdays, 11am, The Woodlands Mall
Toddler Tuesdays: Storytime and activities at Discovery Green with favorite look-a-like characters, 10:30 am such as Scooby Doo and Curious George
Free Disney Musical: The Little Mermaid Jr., Miller Outdoor Theater, June 6-8, 11 am
Free Children’s Theater at Miller Outdoor, 11 am: Pinocchio (6/12), The Three Little Pigs (7/24), Hansel & Gretel (7/25), Goldilocks (7/26), Pinocchio (7/27)
Free TUTS’ Summer Musical: Yankee Doodle Dandy, Miller Outdoor Theater, July 17-22, 8:15 pm
Free Shakespeare in the Park, Miller Outdoor: Hamlet and Comedy of Errors, August 3, 4, 7-12
Free Theater District Open House: 8/25, 12noon, featuring tours of Jones Hall, Hobby Center, Wortham Theater Center, and Alley Theatre, lively performances, food, costume trunk dress-up, and discounts to season packages
Target Free First Sunday: Free admission to Children’s Museum of Houston – June 3, July 1, August 4 (noon – 6pm)
Detective Days at Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens: Self-guided adventures through August 31 for young detectives (ages 6 and up). Each week features new educational themed scavenger hunt such as “The Case of the Missing Trees” and “Mysterious Messages”. Special pricing for Detective Days: kids 12 and under free, adults are $5. Adventures are outdoors in June & July and inside the historic house in August.
B of A “Museums are Us” program: Free admission first full weekend of each month for Bank of America cardholders to Houston Zoo, Children’s Museum of Houston, and Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Cardholders are free, but kids are not.
Free Museum Days in Houston Museum District:
- Buffalo Soldiers National Museum – Monday, 10 am – 5 pm
- Houston Museum of Natural Science – Thursday, 3 pm – 6 pm
- Museum of Fine Arts — Thursday 10 am – 9 pm
- Children’s Museum — Thursday 5 pm – 8 pm
- The Health Museum — Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
- John C. Freeman Weather Museum — Thursday 12 pm – 4 pm
Free Houston Zoo after 2 pm, first Tuesday/month: June 5,
July 3, August 7 (update 6.18.12: Houston Zoo discontinued its Free Zoo after 2pm for summer months July & August due to extreme traffic. It will return first Tuesday of September.)
Noah’s Ark Pool at First United Methodist Church’s Quillian Center in Westchase: Open Monday-Saturday 10 am – 4 pm; $6 each (under age 1 free), 10570 Westpark
Family Bat Nights Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Labor Day: Watch bats emerge under the Waugh Bridge. Arrive 20-30 minutes before sunset to hear a brief presentation on Waugh Bridge Bat Colony. Free public parking at Spotts Park, 401 S. Heights Boulevard at Memorial.
Kayak Boat Rides at Discovery Green: Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am – 5 pm, $5
Kayak Camp on Kinder Lake at Discovery Green: June 3, July 1, $5 (kids & teens age 5-16)
Free Skateboarding Classes: 6/2, Novice Skateboard Workshop, 8-9 am; Beginning Skateboarding Classes 7/17 – 8/9 Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 – 9:50 am; 10 – 10:50 am for Intermediate and Advanced; Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, 103 Sabine
Free LEGO Mini Model Build, 5 pm, first Tuesday/month: June 5, July 3, August 7
Free Summer Bowling, 300 Houston Kids Club (2 free games/day), 2012 Kids Bowl Free program (2 free games/day), and AMF Summer Unplugged program. Shoe rental is not included. Find Houston-area participating locations online here.
Houston Family Summer Fest at Discovery Green: 7/1 by Houston Family Magazine, 12-4pm featuring music, arts-n-crafts, bounce houses, face painting, hooping and more
Aurora Picture Show’s Popcorn Kids: I Can Do Anything at Discovery Green– 6/8, Film Shorts by and for kids
Free Apple Camp, 3-day workshop on iMovie for kids 8-12. These camps fill up quickly. Sign up online for a three-day Apple Camp session:
Memorial City: (July 25, 26, 28); (July 30, 31, August 4); (August 1, 2, 4); (August 6, 7, 11); (August 8, 9 11)
Willowbrook Mall: (July 25, 26, 28); (July 30, 31, August 4); (August 1, 2, 4); (August 6, 7, 11)
Galleria: (July 25, 26, 28); (July 30, 31, August 4); (August 1, 2, 4); (August 6, 7, 11)
The Woodlands: (July 30, 31, August 4); (August 1, 2, 4); (August 6, 7, 11)
First Colony Mall: (August 6, 7, 11)
Baybrook Mall: (July 25, 26, 28); (July 30, 31, August 4); (August 1, 2, 4); (August 6, 7, 11)
Highland Village: All sessions are full. Sign up online for a waiting list.
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