Sights and attractions children can visit for free

Not a bearer of bad news, but travel doesn’t get any cheaper. Hotel costs are on the riselast summer saw some Airfares in the highest month jump in history and many travelers are adjusting their spring break travel plans to save money.

Add a few kids to the mix and your vacation expenses can quickly spiral out of control faster than your kids outgrow. Even in the face of rising prices, there are ways to keep you family vacation budget in control. One of the best ways to save money on your next family trip is to visit attractions and destinations that are 100% free for kids.

From theme parks and zoos to all-inclusive resorts, here are 9 places kids can go for free.

Related: 13 best family attractions in the US

national parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park. IMAGE ITAI MINOVITA/GETTY

Most of US national park entrance fee charged. This fee covers the use of the land and its amenities during your visit.

For most parks, you’ll have to pay a per-car fee that covers everyone in your vehicle, but know that some fees are per-person. Places that charge per person only ask for an entrance fee for anyone over 15 years old. Children 15 years and under are always free.

Related: Enjoy free national park visits — here’s how to save money

The National Park Service also hosts a series of five free admission day every year, where all guests, regardless of age, can visit for free. The date of 2023 is as follows:

  • January 16: birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • April 22: first day of National Parks Week.
  • August 4: Commemorates America’s Great Outdoor Activity Act.
  • September 23: National Public Land Day.
  • November 11: Veterans Day.

If you happen to have a fourth-grader in your household, you can sign up for a free year of travel to all NPS properties and other federal lands through the “Everybody” program. All children are allowed to go outside.” All you need to do is register on the Every Kid Outdoors websiteprint your voucher (digital vouchers will not be accepted) and get out.

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Smithsonian Institution Museum

National Museum of Natural History. JAMES DI LORETO/SMITHSONIAN

The Smithsonian Institution Museum in New York City and Washington, DC, are among the most visited in the country. There are 21 sites in all, plus the Smithsonian National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, and nearly all of them are free to all visitors (the only exception being Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Museum of Design in the City). New York City).

Related: 4 simple rules to maximize your travel budget

At the National Air and Space Museum, children can view exhibits on everything from the early days of flight to humanity’s first voyage to the moon. Besides the National Museum of Natural History, they can view artifacts from ancient Egypt and observe surviving skeletons of all sizes in the Hall of Bones, as well as other wonders of the natural world. our nature.

Related: Lost in DC: From historic gardens to travel-inspired restaurants

While tickets are free, you’ll have to pay for metered parking or parking if you’re driving to the National Mall. Keep in mind that some Smithsonian Institution museums require timed admission. These include the following:

  • National Museum of African American History & Culture.
  • National Air and Space Museum.
  • National Zoo & Smithsonian Institute of Conservation Biology.

holiday world

The Howler at Holiday World. WORLD OF FESTIVAL

holiday world located just an hour west of Louisville, Kentucky, in Santa Claus, Indiana. The park has been owned and operated by the same family since opening in 1946 and features Thanksgiving, July 4, Halloween and Christmas themed grounds. There is also a water park called Splashin’ Safari.

Related: 11 theme parks in the area closer to home but just as exciting as the big names

The park is best known for its thrilling, award-winning roller coasters, but it’s also one of the most kid-friendly theme parks in the country. There are two game zones specifically for kids, including a children’s roller coaster called The Howler, where the game attendants will let you go around twice if you howl like a ghost. Holiday World’s Holidog.

Regular one-day tickets start at $39.99 per person, but kids 4 and 5 can visit for free all season with a Pre-Korea season card. All you need to do is register on Holiday World’s website, print your card or save it to your phone and present it to guests along with proof of your child’s age (photograph of their passport or birth certificate). is enough) on your day. visit.

Kids 3 and under are always free, so a Pre-K Season Pass buys you a few more years of free Holiday World admission.

The last day to register for the 2023 season is September 4, 2023.


FireChaser Express at Dollywood. STEVEN . Bridge

If you have never been Dollywood, 2023 is the year to visit. This spring, the park will open a family-friendly roller coaster called big bear mountain. Later this year, The Heart of DollywoodSong Lodge & Resort will also open.

Related: My ‘9 to 5’ put me to bed in Dolly Parton’s $10,000 tour bus set – here’s what it was like

You can enjoy Dollywood’s current offerings and everything new coming to the park this year for less than free Pre-K Imagination Season Pass. This pass entitles any child born in 2018 or 2019 to visit the Dollywood waterpark and Dollywood’s Splash Country free of charge during the active season. Children 3 years and under are always free.

To apply, register on the Dollywood website and bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate or passport to the front gate to activate the pass on your first visit. Then your little one can get unlimited entry throughout the season.

Griffith . Observatory

Griffith Observatory with the Los Angeles skyline in the background. RIBBON / GETTY CRIMSON IMAGES

Whatever your reason for visiting Southern California, you’ll find a whole world family-friendly activities in addition to beaches and amusement parks. One that is completely free for all guests is Griffith . Observatory. Perched atop Mount Hollywood within the grounds of Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory is arguably the most visited stargazing site in the world.

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You can observe the night sky through the telescope and see the exhibits related to our observations of the sky and space in addition to attending daily program and special events. (You can also visit the planetarium on site for an additional fee.) On a clear day, you can even see the iconic Hollywood Sign from the observatory.

Once a month, the Griffith Observatory hosts a free public Star Party event where visitors can observe the sun, moon, and planets through a telescope and learn from amateur astronomers , who provided telescopes for the party.

Saint Louis Zoo and Nearby Museums


It’s rare to find a zoo or museum that doesn’t charge an entrance fee, but you’ll find them in St. Louis’ forest park is one of the few that welcomes all guests for free.

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Forest Park is a historic public park that hosted the 1904 Olympic Games and the 1904 World’s Fair. It spans 1,300 acres and attracts more than 10 million visitors each year. Many of them flock to the park for its five main cultural institutions, all of which are free to all visitors. These include the Missouri Museum of History, the Muny Theater, the St. Louis, the Saint Louis Science Center, and the Saint Louis Zoo, although some of these are free to enter, there are regulations.

Most seats at The Muny require a paid ticket, but in the spirit of making the musical theater accessible to everyone, the last nine rows of each performance are reserved. available for free on a first come, first served basis. Most exhibits at the zoo and science center are free, although certain attractions, such as the museum’s IMAX theater and the zoo’s railway, require an additional fee. fig.

Lincoln Park Zoo


of Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the US zoos that doesn’t charge an entrance fee, no matter what age you are. Located just minutes from downtown Chicago, this free attraction is open 365 days a year.

Related: 8 things to do in Chicago with kids

From piggy banks to zebras, Lincoln Park Zoo is home to hundreds of animals. It also hosts daily demonstrations of seal training and feeding, plus knowledge and care of African gibbons. Certain activities, including rides and trains, require a small fee.

Med Club Resort

Club Med Punta Cana. CLUB MED

While guests at all-inclusive resorts can eat, drink, and play as much as they want for one price, that price can be expensive when you’re traveling with young children. That’s because most all-inclusive resorts charge per person, not per room.

However, at Med Club Resort — can be found in Mexico, Brazil, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, Canada, the Alps and the Caribbean — Children under 4 years old can stay for free. As a result, you won’t have to pay extra for meals, childcare, activities or accommodation for children 3 years and under.

As an added bonus, Club Med also charges a discounted rate for children age 4 and up. Expect to get 50% off adult rates for kids ages 4 to 11 and 20% off adult prices for teens 12 to 15 years old.

Palace Resort


Palace Resorts in operation all-inclusive resort in tropical regions such as Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, Mexico.

At most of the brand’s family-friendly locations (the only exception being Moon Palace The Grand — Cancun), Children and teenagers aged 17 and under stay for free. This offer is currently available for stays through December 23, 2023, and certain dates require a minimum length of stay.

Related: The best teen all-inclusive resorts for spring break trips, family vacations, etc

Rates range from all-day dining and snacks — including 24-hour room service and freshly made baby purees — to beach activities, daily entertainment that’s age-appropriate and accessible Supervised playroom for children and teenagers.

All Palace Resorts also have large pools and kid-friendly features like water pads and waterslides.

bottom line

Even the small adjustments you make to your vacation budget can save you a lot of money. Visiting destinations and attractions where kids can go for free means you’ll save money on vacations And family memories on your next trip.

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