A summer full of free fun awaits! Here’s Part 2 of Atlanta Parent’s roundup of free or nearly free activities. Didn’t catch Part 1? Read up online at atlantaparent.com.


D.H. Stanton Park and Splash ‘N Play

Beat the heat and splash the summer away.

Perkerson Park Splash Pad. This brand-new water feature was kid tested and approved on its opening weekend in May. If the fountains are not enough, this park has great tennis and basketball courts, too. Free. 770 Deckner Ave., Atlanta; 404-756-1859.

D.H. Stanton Park and Splash ‘N Play. This splash pad comes with jets, stationary water cannons and structures to hide behind. (A side note, this is the first solar-powered park in the city of Atlanta.) 1052 Martin St. SE, Atlanta; 404-756-1859.

Historic Fourth Ward Park. A year-old glistening oasis thanks to Atlanta Beltline Inc., this 17-acre park features green space, playground, outdoor theater, and of course, the splash pad! Prepare to leave with dripping wet kids because this splash pad has jets that stream water from all directions. There is even a skate park for older kids. Free. 680 Dallas St., Atlanta; 404-590-7275.

Village Pavilion Fountain at Mall of Georgia. Simple water fountain fun for little kids to make a big splash. Shoes required. Open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.; 3333 Buford Dr., Buford. 770-271-9458.

Riverside Park Splash ‘n Play. Cool off beneath a spinning mushroom and try to dodge the in-ground spray jets at this Roswell sprayground. $1 per person, closed on Tuesdays. 575 Riverside Rd., Roswell; 770-594-6158; roswellgov.com.
Spray Station at East Roswell Park. Lots of spray action and just $1 per person. This splashy-fun fountain pool is closed Wednesdays. 9000 Fouts Rd., Roswell; 770-594-6188; roswellgov.com.


Stars and Strikes

Bowling, skating and baseball, oh my!

300 Atlanta. Kids 12 and younger can bowl two free games per day all summer long. Parents need to register online at freebowling.3hundred.com for weekly vouchers. Shoe rental not included. 2175 Savoy Dr., Atlanta; 770-451-8605.

AMF Bowling Centers. Through Sept. 3, kids 15 and younger can bowl two free games per day until 8 p.m. Find the nearest AMF center and register for a voucher at freebowling.amf.com. Shoe rental not included.

Suburban Lanes. Through Aug. 31, kids 16 and younger can bowl two free games per day. Shoe rental not included. Visit atlantasuburbanlanes.com for details. 2619 North Decatur Rd., Decatur; 404-373-2514.

Stars and Strikes. Kids get two free games of bowling Mon.-Sat. all summer long. Keep the classic game alive and find the bowling alley nearest you. Register for free bowling by visiting at kidsbowlfree.com; 678-965-5707.

Sparkles Roller Rinks. Through Aug. 30, families get one free skate admission on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. in Gwinnett and Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. in Hiram, Kennesaw and Smyrna. Three family members, including one adult, required for free admission. Skate rental not included. Visit sparklesfamilyfuncenters.com.

Family Activities at Bass Pro Shops. In stores through July 15, enjoy free family activities, including the shooting range, photo station and s’mores cookout (Sat. only). Tues., Thurs., Sat., Sun., 1-5 p.m. 5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Lawrenceville; 678-847-5500.

Braves Games. Two-and-a-half hours before every home game, the Braves release 186 tickets for just $1. It’s not free, but it’s such a good deal we had to share it. 755 Hank Aaron Dr. SE, Atlanta; 404-522-7630.


First Friday Art Walk

Let your creativity soar!

First Thursday Artswalk. Experience art inside and out in Downtown Atlanta. Every first Thursday of the month, 10 galleries and museums open their doors for a night of entertainment and art. Families and couples stroll at their own pace, with no beginning or ending point. Free. Downtown Atlanta. 5-8 p.m.; 404-658-1877.

First Friday Art Walk. Join the emerging arts community in Marietta the first Friday of every month. More than 30 merchants have local artists’ works displayed. Families can stroll down Artists’ Alley or create their own route. Free. 5-9 p.m. Historic Marietta Square, 50 North Park Sq., Marietta; 770-429-1115.

Castleberry Hill Artstroll. Stroll through Castleberry Hill, Atlanta’s historic art district, to check out restaurants and art pieces displayed around the neighborhood the second Friday of every month. Free. 7-10 p.m. castleberryhill.org/ch_calendar/art-stroll/.

Home Depot Kids’ Workshop. This popular program helps kids learn tool safety while building a different craft each month. Kids also receive an orange mini-apron. Ages 5-12. Free. All locations. First Saturday of each month, 9 a.m.-noon; homedepot.com.
Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics. Teach the kids to be handy with these clinics on building wooden crafts. Kids receive a free apron, goggles and a merit patch. Pre-register. Free. Visit lowesbuildandgrow.com for locations. Sat. and Sun., July 14-15, 28-29; Saturdays 10 a.m., Sundays 2 p.m.; 800-445-6937.
Michaels’ The Knack Kids’ Club. Classes teach different arts and crafts to children and their families. Register for a Knack Club member card. Classes are free. Call or visit the website for class schedule, Michaels.com/theknack; 800-642-4235.

Lil’ Bean Heads Crafts. Get creative making different art projects twice a month at Bean Head Toys. All ages are welcome, but smaller children may need assistance. First and third Wednesday of every month. 3-4 p.m. Free. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., Sandy Springs; 404-851-2980.

Crafts for Kids. Learning is fun at Lakeshore Learning Store, especially when it involves a free craft. Kids 3 and younger can make a different craft each week. July 7, 14, 21, 28; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. 4287 Roswell Rd., Marietta; 770-578-3100.


Cloundland Canyon State Park

Step outside and experience nature. Parking at a state park is $5, but if you check out a Park Pass or a Historic Site Pass from your local library, then parking is free. It’s just like checking out a book.

Sweetwater Creek State Park. Close to downtown Atlanta, this park offers a wooded trail along a stream leading to ruins of a textile mill burned during the Civil War. Other trails wind through forests, ferns and wild azaleas. 1750 Mt. Vernon Rd., Lithia Springs; 770-732-5871; gastateparks.org/sweetwatercreek.

Red Top Mountain State Park. This park boasts more than 15 miles of wooded trails. Also consider packing a bathing suit for the delightful swimming hole at Lake Allatoona. 50 Lodge Rd. SE, Cartersville; 770-975-4226; gastateparks.org/redtopmountain.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. The Kennesaw Mountain Trail is steep with some level terrain that leads to the top of Kennesaw Mountain. It can be rocky at times and is recommended for more advanced hikers. But there are many easier trails and activities at this historic battlefield site. Parking is free. 900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr., Kennesaw; 770-427-4686; nps.gov/kemo.

Panola Mountain State Park. Hikers can explore this National Natural Landmark on their own or make reservations to join park rangers for guided hikes. Panola Mountain also offers a 12-mile paved PATH trail that takes visitors past two lakes, shaded woods and grassy fields. 2600 Hwy. 155 SW, Stockbridge; 770-389-7801; gastateparks.org/panolamountain.

Tallulah Gorge State Park. Visitors can hike this spectacular canyon along various rim trails. There is also a paved path great for strollers and bikes. 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr., Tallulah Falls; 706-754-7981; gastateparks.org/tallulahgorge.

Cloudland Canyon State Park. Have a picnic and take an easy hike to a stunning view of the canyon at the western edge of Lookout Mountain. Free. 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd., Rising Fawn; 800-864-7275; gastateparks.org/CloudlandCanyon.

Easiest Hikes:

Fernbank Forest. Walk. 1.5 miles of paved paths underneath a mixed hardwood forest by the Fernbank Science Center. This is a great trail for beginning hikers. 156 Heaton Park Dr., Atlanta; 678-874-7102; fsc.fernbank.edu.

Big Trees Forest Preserve. This urban forest has three hiking routes, including a one-mile loop trail beneath white oak trees. Be sure to grab the nature trail guide at the entrance of the forest. Free. 7645 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs; 770-673-0111; bigtreesforest.com.


How to Train Your Dragon

Catch favorite kid classics for free or cheap.

Free Summer Movies Series at South DeKalb Mall. Doors open at 9 a.m. every Tues., Wed. and Thurs. in July for free kids movies like Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon. 2801 Candler Rd., Decatur; 404-243-3605.

Summer Movie Series. Enjoy G- and PG-rated movies for just $1 on Tues. and Wed. mornings at 10 a.m. at these participating locations: Regal Snellville Oaks 14, Regal Town Center (Kennesaw), Regal Medlock Crossing (Johns Creek), Regal Arbor Place (Douglasville), Regal Mall of Georgia, Regal 22 Austell, Regal North Point Market and Regal Georgian (Newnan). For more information, visit regmovies.com/summermovieexpress.

Summer Movie Clubhouse. At the Cinemark Tinseltown 17 in Fayetteville, movies are only 50 cents if purchased 10 at time in advance, or $1 per show if purchased at the box office. All shows start at 10 a.m. on Tues. and Wed. Series ends Aug. 1. 134 Pavilion Pkwy., Fayetteville; 800-326-3264.

These are just a few of the indoor movies series going on all over metro Atlanta. For a complete list of summer movies, see our calendar section.


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