FREE WEEKEND FUN

Get ready for a weekend of free fun! What are your plans? Here is a snapshot of 16 Free Things to Do in Houston April 17-19:

Discovery Green

FRIDAY

Enjoy the wonders of the Earth — Miller Outdoor Theatre is presenting a visual, musical performance Friday called Bella Gaia, meaning Beautiful Earth. Created by classically trained violinist Kenji Williams, it features world music performers and dancers, with orbiting visualizations of Earth from space, thanks to NASA. Dr. Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in the world in space, will perform spoken word on stage. Free covered, reserved seat tickets are available at the Miller box office the day of the performance between 10:30 am – 1 pm.

Enjoy live music — Get ready for a free  outdoor concert with local favorite, The Tontons, at Market Square Park. The music kicks off at 7:30 pm at 301 Milam.

Enjoy a movie under the stars — The new Chipotle Music & Movie series presents live music at 7 pm and free movie at 8 pm. Grand Old Grizzly performs before the feature, Fed Up, a documentary by Katie Couric that reveals more about obesity in the U.S. and the role sugar plays in the process. First 250 get free chips and salsa from Chipotle. Located at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney.

SATURDAY

san jacinto dayEngage in Texas history — Go back in history Saturday at the San Jacinto Day Festival and Reenactment at San Jacinto Battleground State Park. From 10 am – 6 pm, folks can enjoy live music, visit Mexican and Texian camps of 1836, watch demos of 19th century craftsmen plus enjoy kid’s entertainment, camel rides, pony rides, snakes, Birds of Prey show and more. Catch the Battle of San Jacinto Reenactment beginning at 3 pm as Texas wins its independence. It’s a day of fun set against living history. Free admission, free shuttle, & free parking! Located at 3523 Independence Parkway in La Porte. photo: BFSMan

Celebrate the earthEarth Day is a free celebration at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center packed with fun activities for the whole family from 10 am – 2 pm. Don’t miss earth-conscious activities, demonstrations, crafts, face painting, guided habitat hikes, Intro to Geocaching, and a native plant sale.

Try your hand at kayaking — It’s the 10th annual Spring Kayak Demo Days April 18-19, thanks to Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK). Test any of the 80+ models they have at The Pond at Butler in Conroe. Demo hours are Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm, and Sunday noon – 4 pm. Plus save up to 30% off on a variety of kayaks! The same event is going on in Austin this weekend.

Explore the arts — The annual Midtown Art in the Park is a fine art festival featuring local and regional artists. And it’s free! The goal of this festival is to bring the cultural arts and entertainment community together. Open 10 am – 6 pm at 1701 Elgin.

Japan Houston FestivalLearn the culture — Get immersed in the Japanese culture at Japan Festival Houston, a free two-day festival with live music, culture, games, and cuisine. Festival hours: 10 am – 7 pm Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm Sunday. Find the complete schedule online including the Saturday Sushi Roll Off at 6:15 pm! Located at Hermann Park.

Engage with dance — Vitacca Dance Project is sharing a free Day of Dance Saturday at its Montrose location. Classes are geared to ages 9 to adult and include Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, and Variations from 9 am – 4:15 pm. Folks are invited to stay and celebrate Dominic Walsh, who was instrumental in the planning. day with a 6:30 pm reception. The day also includes a ribbon cutting for the build-out phase of VDPs newest studio. Located at 2311 Dunlavy.

Love the arts — Folks interested in the arts will love MenilFest, a free event comprising literature, music, and performance arts + Houston indie book fair. Plenty on the schedule including family concert, family-friendly films, HCP scavenger hunt, and kids’ hands-on crafts with the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Located at The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross.

Get excited about STEM Southeast STEM Festival is right here in Houston Saturday for folks interested in Science, Technology & Math (STEM). The full day festival, 8 am – 5 pm, is held in conjunction with the annual CTEM Challenge. Students can learn about STEM programs for after school, summer programs, and college opportunities. This is free and open to the public.

Get country– If you love Country, don’t miss Tomball’s Honky Tonk Music Festival with free admission and free parking. Good old-fashioned fun for the whole family. The festival is 11 am – 6 pm at 201 S. Elm in Historic Tomball.

SUNDAY

messiah butterfly festivalRelease a butterfly — Celebrate new life at the Butterfly Festival, noon – 3 pm, at Messiah Lutheran Church in NW Houston. The afternoon of free fun includes a live butterfly release, science show and children’s activities, moonwalk, and games. The event also features a BBQ lunch, silent auction and raffle benefiting youth education. Messiah Lutheran is located at 11522 Telge Road in Cypress.

Enjoy family fun  — Free admission for Family Day at Rienzi and Bayou Bend! Enjoy games, workshops, performances and more. Take advantage of free transportation from one venue to another. Bayou Bend: 6003 Memorial, Rienzi: 1406 Kirby

Learn the culture — Get immersed in the Japanese culture at Japan Festival Houston, a free two-day festival with live music, culture, games, and cuisine. Festival hours are 10 am – 7 pm Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm Sunday. Located at Hermann Park.

Try your hand at kayaking — It’s the 10th annual Spring Kayak Demo Days April 18-19, thanks to Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK). Test any of the 80+ models they have at The Pond at Butler in Conroe. Demo hours are Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm, and Sunday noon – 4 pm. Plus save up to 30% off on a variety of kayaks! The same event is going on in Austin this weekend.