Tuesday, May 20, 2014

61 Cheap things to do this Summer in Middle Tennessee

With Memorial Day just around the corner, I started wondering what me and the kids were going to do this summer.  Since I changed jobs in February, this will be the first summer that I am off work the majority of the time with the kids, they will not be in day camps or day care.  I also took a considerable pay cut, so our budget is limited.

Then I looked on Facebook and found that I wasn't the only one looking for CHEAP things to do this summer.  It is great if you can afford to hit the zoo, science center, Holiday World, Cheekwood and Nashville shores all this summer, but I can't.

So here is my list of 61 (1 thing every day for June and July) to do in Middle Tennessee (or for most, anywhere) this summer for an average of $5 or less per person:

At Home:
1.   Start a water balloon fight.
2.   Organize a scavenger hunt.
3.   Put the Pinterest Board to use, have a craft day.
4.   Have a picnic in the back yard.
5.   Spend the day playing and creating new games.
6.   Set up carnival type games in the back yard and invite friends/neighbors to play.
7.   Camp out in your back yard.  Don't go in the house for anything, except maybe the bathroom.
8.   Make and obstacle course, inside or outside.
9.   Have a Lego building contest.
10. Find a pen pal in another country.
11. Have a neighborhood water gun fight.
12. Have a talent show with friends.
13. Black out the windows and have a movie night during the day, in your PJ's.

14. Spend a day doing yard work/gardening. Let the kids really play in the dirt.
15. One night, turn out all the lights and have a glow in the dark night. Play tag, dance to music, blow glow in the dark bubbles.

Hometown USA:
16. Visit your local library for story hour.  Locally, I can personally reccomend Nashville Public Library Down town, Springfield and Hendersonville.
17. Register your kids at Kids Bowl Free and they can each get 2 free games of bowling each day.  Note: you can only pick one bowling center, so pick your favorite, you'll be bowling there all summer.
18. Sign your children up for Vacation Bible School. If you need reccomendations, ask your friend's and neighbors.  Maybe you can even carpool!   I have some fabulous reccomendations for Robertson and Cheatham counties!
19. Take the kids to pick your own fruit!  You can find a local farm here.  I personally reccomend Bottom View Farms in Sumner County.
20. Find a creek.  Creeks are wonderful ways to cool off and explore nature.
21.Give the kids $5 to spend and take them to Goodwill, a used book store or a yard sale.  They can spend hours exploring before spending their money.
22. Go out for ice cream.  I am partial to Banana Boats in Portland, Tennessee.
23. Sign the kids up for classes at Michael's. The Passport to Imagination class is only $2 per child and all supplies are included.
24. Sign the kids up for the free Lowe's Build and Grow workshops.  My daughter is looking forward to the "Toothless" project on June 14.  Other dates/project are available throughout the summer. Workshops are every other Saturday at 10AM.
25. Similarily, Home Depot also offers free workshops. Workshops are the first Saturday of the month at 9AM.  Registration is required.
26.  Check out your local county museum to learn some interesting local history.  Sumner County museum admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.  Robertson County admission is $4 for adults and $1 for students. Check with the museum for hours of operation
27. Go geocaching.  It is basically an outdoor treasure hunt.  Older kids will especially find this fun.  Be prepared to leave a small treasure also!

The rest of this post is going to list specific sites in Middle Tennessee, however most can be adapted for your hometown.  These are just our favorite local spots for biking, hiking, etc.

Davidson County:
28. Visit the Bicentenniel Mall State Park on June 1 for vintage baseball and Statehood Day.
29. Hit Fun Fridays at Moss Wright Park.  We are especially excited about Party in the Park on June 27. Events are every other Friday throughout the summer. All events are free.
30. Take a dip in the Pleasant Green Pool in Goodletsville.  Admission is $5.
31. Dancing in the District (now called Nashville Dancin') is back and it is FREE! Check out a schedule here.  I haven't actually heard of many (any) of the bands, but so what.
32. Take a tour of the Parthenon.  Adult admission is $6, but children's admission is $4, so it averages to $5 per person.
33. Check out Warner Park Nature Center for several free programs.  The Center is closed every Sunday and Monday.
34. Explore downtown Nashville. Walk across the pedestrian bridge, play in the fountains at Bicentenniel Mall State park, ride the Music City Circuit and explore Broadway all for FREE.  Want to spend a little cash, splurge at the Arcade.  They have THE BEST peanuts, donuts, icecream...FOOD (but still reasonably priced!)
35. Tour the Nissan plant.  Tours are free and are every Tuesday and Thursday at 10AM and 1PM.  Reservations are required.

36. If you have a car enthusiast, you are not going to want to miss Lane Motor Museum. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Adult admission is $9, Children 6-17 is $3 and 5 and under is free.
37.  The Tennessee Statue Museum is free (for MOST exhibits) and is open Tuesday through Saturday 10AM to5PM.
38. Take the kids on a tour of the State Capitol.  Guided tours are free and available Monday through Friday from 9AM to 4PM.
39. Explore Fort Negley.
40. Sign your older kids (ages 8-12) for Apple Retail Store Movie Camp.  Camp is 3 days.  You can check out information here.
41. Bass Pro Shop has an amazing and FREE Family Summer Camp from Noon to 5PM on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sundays this summer.
42. Enjoy some world class music for free.  Go downtown June 5-8 for CMA Music Fest.  There are free stages set up with known acts.  Plus you never know who you will bump into!
43. Before CMA gets in full swing, check out CMA GlobaLive.  It is a free concert showcasing country artists from around the world.
44. Take your artist to the Frist Center. Adult admission is $10, but children are free.  There are plenty of hands on things to do at Martin ArtQuest which is on the upper level and included in admission.

Sumner County:
45. Take a hike at Bledsoe Creek State Park.  The park is along Old Hickory lake and has some beautiful views.  There are trails appropriate for children.  They will also be having Jr. Ranger Camp June 16-20.  If you plan to splurge, camp sites are $25 on the lake.
46. Break out the bikes on Hendersonville's greenway.  Most of the greenway is flat which we prefer for bike riding.
47. Celebrate Freedom at Drakes Creek Park on July 3.  Festival is from 4PM to 11PM with fireworks at nightfall.  The festival is free, however there will be LOTS of vendors to purchase goodies and food from.
48. Check out Sanders Ferry Park in Hendersonville.  It has a disc golf course and a model airplane flying field.  It is also right on the lake, so you can walk out on the docks and stick your feet in.  There are also 2 small playgrounds.
49. Go swimming at Gallatin Civic Center. There is a large pool and slide.  Admission is $5.
50. Check out another greenway at Triple Creek Park in Gallatin.  This greenway is also perfect for bike riding or a nice family stroll.  The park is appropriately named, so there is a creek to play in, a play ground and a disc golf course.
51. Go to a Movie in a Park in Portland.  Red 2 will be showing on June 28.  The movie is free and popcorn is only 25 cents!
52. Touch a Truck at Richland Park in Portland on July 25, 10AM to Noon.  Event is free.
53. Take the kids fishing June 7. Memorial Park in Hendersonville will stock the lake and kids fish free.  No permit is required.  Similar events are happening the same day at Cheatham Dam in Ashland City (Cheatham County) and at Travis Price Park in Springfield (Robertson County).
54. Spend the day at the lake.  I personally like Old Hickory lake simply because I think it is cleaner.  There is a swim beach at Lock 3 in Hendersonville.  There are also swim beaches/lakes in Davidson, Wilson and at Cheatham Dam in Cheatham County.
55. Enjoy a $1 movie at Indian Lake Regal thanks to The Summer Move Express.  2 movies are played each week on Tuesday and Wednesdays at 10AM. Get there early, the theaters fill up fast.  Week 1 starts June 3.

Robertson County:
56. Ride your bike on the Springfield Greenway. This greenway is flat and runs between 2 great parks.
57. Take a stroll on the White House Greenway.  This greenway is a bit longer but you have to go up and down 2 large inclines. We stray away on our bikes, but it is lovely to walk.
58. Enjoy some live music at Sumner Crest Winery. The next concert is June 7 and they will be playing music from the 50's and 60's.  Concert starts at 6:30PM. July 12 will be music from the 70's and 80's. Admission is free and is always a good time for the whole family.

Cheatham County:
59. The Cumberland Bicentenniel Trail is a nice kid friendly hike (or mountain bike trail ride).

Dickson County:
60. Take a trip to Montgomer Bell State Park.  This is by far our favorite place to go hiking.  They have trails of all length and difficulty.  Take a hike to one of the small lakes and for a swim then have a picnic.

Wilson County:
61. Spend the day at Cedar of Lebanon. There are playgournds, hiking, disc golf and a pool ($5 admission, closed Monday and Tuesdays).  If you have the money to splurge, go horseback riding ($20 each).

What budget friendly activities did I miss?  What are you looking forward to this summer?