I work from home part time, which allows me to spend most of my days with my kids. While we spend an occasional day just playing with toys or in the backyard, I typically take them somewhere for at least part of every day. Since they don’t attend daycare, I think it’s important for them to interact with other kids. They love exploring new places. And as I’ve mentioned before on the blog, when we’re not home, they’re not making a mess in the house! While it can be stressful to get us out the door at times, at 4.5 and 3 years old, it’s getting a bit easier. And we’re truly all happier when we’re going places. That being said, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on our outings!
Here’s a list of cheap (or FREE) things to do in the Bucks County area this summer!
Free Museum Passes
Free passes haven’t returned to ALL of the local libraries yet. (I called Langhorne this morning and they said they’re still unavailable.) However, the Grundy Library in Bristol has reinstated their Museum Pass Program! The library has a Membership to many local spaces, and you’re able to borrow the pass for a day of admission and then return it when you’re finished! Elmwood Park Zoo, Bucks County Children’s Museum, and Pennsbury Manor are just a few of the locations you can visit with one of the library passes. Check the Grundy Library website for more information.
While obviously not free, you might also consider buying a Membership to a local spot that you and your children love. Most Memberships tend to “pay for themselves” after a few visits. Having a Membership will definitely motivate you to get out of the house because you’ll want to get your money’s worth. Plus, you won’t feel bad if you only go for an hour or two. We currently have Memberships to Sesame Place, Grounds for Sculpture and Bucks County Children’s Museum.
Visit a Local Farm
There are quite a few farms in Bucks and neighboring Montgomery County that allow families to visit to see the animals or pick-your-own produce. Here are a few:
None Such Farms in Buckingham offers pick-your-own crops such as strawberries. You only pay for what you pick. No admission fee, and no reservations needed. It’s offered Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At Snipes Farm in Morrisville, families can visit with the animals and then shop the weekly farm market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ryerss Farm in Pottstown is a unique experience for any horse enthusiast. The country’s oldest non-profit organization of its kind, it provides a comfortable retirement for horses. Visiting the horses is free, though donations are appreciated. You can also purchase treats to feed the horses. No reservations are needed. Current hours posted are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
And at Tanner Brothers Dairy Farm in Ivyland and Merrymead Farm in Lansdale, you can visit the animals outside and then stop in the market for ice cream!
I’ve heard of the Kids Bowl Free program, but we haven’t actually done it yet. I signed the kids up the other day though, so we’ll be trying it soon! Kids can bowl free by registering at kidsbowlfree.com. Each child registered can get two free games of bowling per day. When you go to the website, just check for bowling alleys which participate in your area. Levittown Lanes, Penndel and Limerick are a few participating. They also offer discounted passes for adults if you want to bowl with your child. I’m going to see how the kids do before deciding if it’s worth getting a pass for myself. This could be a great activity for when it’s rainy or just TOO hot to be outside!
A few months ago, I was watching a movie on the couch with the kids and commented, “I saw this with Grandma and Grandpop in the movie theater when I was little!” Henry smiled and responded, “Wow … what’s a movie theater?!” I was shocked, but then I realized between last year’s widespread closures and my kids being so little, they’ve never been to a movie theater!
Well, that might change this summer! Previously, I’d worried how they’d respond to being in a dark, loud theater. And to be honest, I didn’t want to spend $$$ just to hightail it out of there if they had a meltdown. But with Summer Movie Express at Regal Cinemas, I can give their first movie experience a try without spending a lot. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they will be playing kid-friendly summer movies for just $1! Summer Movie Express starts on June 22, and they play 2 movies each week.
Outdoor Movie Nights
If you’re not ready to be inside a theater yet, there are outdoor options in Bucks County! Some are completely free, and the others are very reasonable when you consider you won’t be dropping big bucks on movie theater concessions.
Here are a few to check out: Upper Southampton Parks & Rec’s Movies in the Park, Warwick Township Movies in the Park, Mid Atlantic Event Group Drive In Movie Nights.
Visit a Local Nature Center
If you and your kids love to explore the outdoors, consider visiting a local nature center! We like to visit Silver Lake Nature Center in Bristol because we can take a nice shady walk, stop by the playground and then visit the turtles inside the Visitor Center on the way out. It’s also less than 10 minutes from home. But this summer, we might need to make the drive to check out the Churchville Nature Center. The gardens look so beautiful!
Go For a Walk Someplace Different
Getting outside for a walk isn’t limited to just parks or your neighborhood. If you’re not feeling particularly “naturey” but still want to take the kids somewhere, consider visiting a location like downtown New Hope, Lambertville or Peddler’s Village. You can get outside in the fresh air, do some window shopping, and grab an ice cream. There’s plenty to look at that you can kill an hour or two without spending a lot of money.
TIP: If you visit Peddler’s Village or live in that area, be sure to check out the grounds at Best of France Antiques off 202! It’s completely free to walk around outside, and my kids had so much fun checking out the sculptures – especially the dinosaurs!
Summer Concerts & Music Events
Several places in Bucks County offer free (or cheap) outdoor concerts throughout the summer. These events are completely family-friendly, so bring the kids, some blankets and snacks, and enjoy music in the fresh air. If you’re looking for concerts near you, your Township’s Facebook page is usually a good place to start.
Here are a few Summer 2021 schedules/details to get you started:
Penn Community Ampitheater, Bensalem: Concerts are Wednesdays and tickets are $5 for residents, $10 for non-residents
Langhorne Summer Concerts are held every other Wednesday (June 16 is the next one), and they’re free to the public.
Falls Township Community Park, Levittown: Free concerts by the soccer fields on Sunday nights
Peddler’s Village offers free live entertainment during many summer weekends. In June, they have their Summer Block Party, July is Bluegrass & Blueberries Month in July and Peach Festival in August.
Shady Brook Farm has live music every weekend! You can buy tickets for their Summer unWINEd shows on the Festival Field Friday nights, which includes access to the big playground, bounce pillows, go-carts and more. Or, you can opt to visit The Stone’s Throw Pub for live music during their Patio Parties Friday through Sunday.
Check Out Your Local Library
We’re BIG library fans here. I’m anxiously awaiting the return of library Story Hour and Penn’s Little Village at the Langhorne Branch. In the mean time, I still make library visits part of our go-to list of activities to get out of the house. Read more about that HERE. (Hint: You can almost always at least pick up a free craft at the library along with your books and DVDs! PLUS, I recently saw that games are available to check out again!)
From what I’ve been hearing, Bucks County Free Library branches are still deciding on how to approach summer activities for kids, but here’s hoping that they’ll at least offer some outdoor programming. I did, however, find that some of the Bucks County public libraries (not part of BCFL, confusing!) ARE launching their Summer Quest programs with small outdoor events on June 19! So check with your preferred library to see what they have scheduled so far.
And if you just want a great spot to enjoy the outdoors with a book, be sure to visit the garden spaces at the Doylestown, Langhorne, Perkasie and Yardley branches. Grundy Library in Bristol is beautiful, too!
Parks & Playgrounds
There’s no way I could make this list without including our favorite pastime – visiting local parks and playgrounds! The kids and I probably visit a playground at least once a week. If you’re getting tired of the same ol’ slides and swings, make it a point to try out some NEW (to you) parks and playgrounds this summer! Take a look at this Playground Guide that I’m constantly updating for some ideas. (TIP: Go for a two-fer and visit a playground that ALSO has a spray pad!)
If you want to go beyond playgrounds, hike Ringing Rocks (with a hammer in hand), picnic waterfront at Nockamixon State Park or the Bristol Waterfront, or bike the many local trails like those in Tyler State Park.
There are plenty of things to do this summer without breaking the bank!