11 Fun FREE Ways To Keep the Kids Busy This Summer

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Every year it's the same old story. The kids are excited about Summer vacation and then a few weeks in they start to get bored. A while back ago I wrote an article for Nside Texas where I talked about some ways to cure summer boredom with ides of activities to do in the Corpus Christi area.  Of course with the cost of camps (or them eating you out of house and home), it's nice to find free ways to keep them occupied. I picked 11 FREE ways ideas to save a little cash while having a lot of fun.

Make sure to follow Corpus Christi Fun for Kids on Facebook because we are ALWAYS posting fun things to do.  I also have the Summer Camps Guide and the Summer Fun Guide with even more ideas of things to do with kids in Corpus Christi. If you want to use the information found here, please be courteous and link back to this site.  Compiling is hard work!

1. Check Out a Small Museum
Photo via Robstown Area Historical Museum Facebook
The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History is definitely worth a visit, especially with the new H-E-B Science Center.  Sometimes even with discounts like Groupon, admission might put a dent in your wallet with a big group of kids.  You can always take them to visit a small museum where admission ranges from free to just a few dollars.  You might even learn something about an area you were not familiar with.  Small museums include the Selena Museum, the Texas Surf Museum, the Instituto de Cultura Hispánica de Corpus Christi, Robstown Area Historical Museum, the Port Aransas Museum, and John E. Conner Museum in Kingsville.  (Click on each museum's link to see the hours and location).
Cost: Free to a few dollars

2. Visit the Other Aquarium
Photo via Aquarium at Rockport Harbor
We aren't knocking our awesome Texas State Aquarium, it is definitely worth a visit especially with the new Caribbean Journey Exhibit but it can be cost prohibitive with a troop of kids.  If you're heading out to Rockport, admission to the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor is always free and even dogs are allowed! You can check out some local marine life as well as meet the Marley the Eel. During the Summer they host fantastic activities for the whole family that are also free like free movie nights, kayak classes, fishing programs and more.
Hours: Open Daily from 1 - 4 pm, Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Cost: Free
706 Navigation Circle
Rockport, Texas
361-727-0016

3. Meet an Alpaca
We love to visit Shear Bliss Alpaca Farms when they have special events but anyone can make an appointment to visit the ranch any time of the year. Your kids will love seeing the furry alpacas up close and they can even feed and pet them. They don't charge but they do accept donations and you want to bring money to buy the alpaca products like dryer balls and rugs.
Cost: Free (donations appreciated)
Shear Bliss Alpacas
605 Silver Creek Road
Sinton, TX
361-287-3643

4. Learn About Rescued Animals in Our Community
Photo via Texas Sealife Center Facebook Page
The Texas Sealife Center is a sea animal rehabilitation and education center where kids can meet education animals as well as animals currently being rehabilitated.  One of the main residents is Nutmeg, a black throated monitor but there are always a variety of animals at the facility.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm and Sunday 12-4 pm
Cost: Free (donations appreciated)
Texas Sealife Center
14220 S Padre Island Dr.
361-589-4023

5. Discover Something New About the Ocean at One of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) Facilities
Photo via UTMSI Facebook Page
The UTMSI facilities are open to the public and provide free educational opportunities for your kids. The Marine Science Education Center in Port Aransas promotes marine science with self-guided tours and educational movies that lets people get a view a view of the diversity of local marine life. The Wetlands Education Center provides free guided tours for the public. The newest attraction is the Estuary Explorium which houses approximately 950 square-feet of engaging exhibits that are designed to increase public awareness of the value and transitional nature of the estuarine environment. The Bay Education Center in Rockport allows visitors to explore the estuary through interactive exhibits and outdoor activities. It also has the Science On a Sphere, a spherical display system created by NOAA to illustrate Earth science concepts to people of all ages. They even offer free or low cost programs like birding classes for kids, story times, and more for kids 3 and up.
Cost: Free

Marine Science Education Center/Wetlands Education Center/Estuary Explorium
855 E. Cotter Ave.
Port Aransas, TX

The Bay Education Center
121 Seabreeze Drive
Rockport, TX
361-749-6711

6. Watch a Turtle Hatchling Release
NPS Photo
This is on everyone's to do list and for good reason, this is an amazing experience!  You do have to pay to get on to the National Seashore but it's free to watch the release.  Make sure to visit this website to get all the information and follow their Facebook page for the latest announcements. While you’re in the area visit the petting zoo that Horses on the Beach generously opens to the public for free. You might get a glimpse of Tex the Longhorn.
Cost: $10 per vehicle for a 1-7-day pass, $20 per vehicle for a 1-year pass (valid for 12 months from date purchased)

7. Splash the Day Away Our local water parks are awesome and have great deals, but if you're looking to save money you can have just as much fun at a local pool.  Most of the area pools have a low entrance fee and their amenities are very nice! The Greenwood Pool,  Portland Aquatic Center and the Aransas Pass Aquatic Center have awesome slides.  The HEB pool pictured above has a great splash area for toddlers and small kids. Corpus Christi Aquatics also has the Greenwood pool with a really neat slide!
Cost: $1 and up

8. Catch a Free Flick
Whether indoors our outdoors (or even in the water), you have a few choices for free movies with the kids.  The Bay Jammin’ Cinema Series is a community favorite with family friendly movies every Friday after dark. You can bring blankets or lawn chairs (and plenty of bug spray) and watch a fun movie with the whole family for free!  Movies have not been announced just yet but stay tuned for the movie lineup.  The Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater has a monthly movie at the Watergardens although these movies tend to be geared towards your older kids. Port Aransas Parks and Recreation has Movies Under the Stars each second Wednesday night of the month starting May 10. The Aransas Pass Aquatic Center has dive in movies at a steal (watch for schedule). If you prefer the cold air condition, catch a $1 family friendly movie at the Dollar Cinema every Thursday at the Cinemark Movie Clubhouse or at the Alamo Drafthouse during Summer Kids Camp.  The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor has Movie and Popcorn nights that are completely free.  The area libraries also have completely free movies as part of their Summer programming. While you're there, you can also check out the latest DVD's free with your library card!
Cost:  Free to $5

9. Get Your Kids Dancing with Free Live Music
Photo via Corpus Christi Municipal Band Facebook
Get them off the couch and moving to the beat at a free concert. The Corpus Christi Municipal Band perform free Sunday evening concerts every year with a variety of heart pumping music ranging from marches and pops to light classical music and show melodies. They have even featured highlights from the movie Frozen!  This year they have had to move them indoors to La Retama Room due to construction at Del Mar College. The Bay Jammin' Concert Series is a long honored tradition in the Corpus Christi Area. Concerts are held every Thursday in June through August from 8 to 10 pm at the Cole Park Amphitheater. Concerts showcase a variety of genres from rock, country, world beat, jazz, blues and more. Make sure to bring blankets or lawn chairs for both (and plenty of bug spray).
Cost: Free
Retama Room (2nd floor of the Harvin Center)
101 Baldwin Blvd.

Cole Park Amphitheater
1526 Ocean Dr.

10. Get Crafty (without the mess)
Photo via Art Center of Corpus Christi Facebook Page
You don't have to spend a bunch on craft supplies and make a mess at home! The Art Center of Corpus Christi has Free Family Art Time every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. You can also register to make ocean themed arts and crafts at the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor (pre-registration is required for this one). The best part, no clean up!
Cost: Free

Art Center of Corpus Christi
100 N Shoreline Blvd
Corpus Christi, TX

11. Read a Book
Really!  Some days are just going to be too hot to be out and about.  If they need a little motivation to read, check out some of the Summer reading programs we've compiled. If you decide you want to leave the house, the area libraries have a schedule full of events to entertain your kids.
Cost: Free

Updated 5/28/2017
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