Summer days are footloose and fancy free. Kids are sticky from melting popsicles, and they’re washing it off by running through the sprinkler. Of course, this is after they’ve slept in and watched movies until noon. The joy and happiness of a carefree summer is here! And it lasts for about a week before the boredom sets in. Look, I’m all about kids being bored. I personally believe creativity stems from boredom, but sometimes kids can get a little TOO creative, if you know what I mean. Plus at some point, we just need to get out of the house.
Fortunately Baton Rouge offers many great FREE and CHEAP activities to keep the kids (and us) from going stir crazy on these long hot summer days. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite activities for summer fun!
Library Summer Reading and Activities
You need look no further than your local library to keep the kids learning! Many parish library systems in the Greater Baton Rouge area are offering summer reading programs. Your child can set a reading goal, record the books read, and turn in his reading log to receive prizes or coupons! Pre-readers can participate by having an adult read aloud to them. Moms, this is for you, too. Set a good example, and let your kids catch you reading this summer. Most libraries also have prizes for teens and adults!
The library is for more than reading! Most libraries in the area offer free activities for children of all ages. Activities include storytimes, Lego clubs, crafts, hands on science, plays, dance and music performances, and interactive learning programs. Be sure to check out the following links for more information.
Kids Bowl Free at Circle Bowl
Yes, you read that right. At Circle Bowl kids (up to age 15) can bowl two free games per day all summer long. You can register your children and find more information here.
Summer Movie Programs
The Grand Cinema is showing a different kid-friendly film each week Monday through Friday at 10am during the summer. For the price of $5 you get popcorn, a drink, and a movie ticket.
Malco Theatres Gonzales hosts Kids Summer Film Fest which is held every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am starting June 7. Admission is $2.
Summer of Amazing
Our Lady of the Lake sponsors several health and wellness events throughout June at the Mall of Louisiana food court. Mommy & Me events are Mondays, June 6, June 13, and June 20 from 10am-12pm. Kids’ Healthy Fun Fest is Saturday, June 25 from 10am – 1pm. These events include prizes, games, giveaways and free carousel rides! You can pre-register here.
First Free Sunday at Baton Rouge Museums
The first Sunday of each month certain museums in downtown Baton Rouge offer free admission. The first Sunday dates for free admission this summer are June 5, July 3, and August 7.
USS Kidd is a WWII destroyer docked in downtown Baton Rouge. You can walk the decks and see aircraft from the era. Regular admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children.
Louisiana Arts and Science Museum is located on River Road. The museum has art exhibitions that change periodically as well as several permanent science exhibits. The Universe Gallery includes a display of the latest images from the Hubble telescope, and the Ancient Egypt Gallery has a real mummy! Be sure to let the kids play and explore in the two hands-on galleries, Discovery Depot and Science Station. The planetarium offers reduced-priced tickets on the first Sunday. Regular admission to the museum is $9 for adults and $7.50 for children with an additional charge for the planetarium.
LSU Museum of Art is located on the fifth floor of the Shaw building. Explore the 14 art galleries featuring sculptures, paintings, and photography. Regular admission is $5 for adults and free for children ages 12 and under.
Downtown and LSU
Can’t make it downtown for a free first Sunday? No worries! There is still plenty to do in downtown Baton Rouge. Visit the state capitol building and ride the elevator to the 27th floor observation deck and check out our city from a bird’s eye view! Visit Arsenal Park and Old Arsenal Museum on the grounds of the capitol. Don’t forget a swimsuit, so the kids can cool off in one of the many fountains downtown.
LSU can also be a fun place to spend a summer day. Pack a lunch and have a picnic on the lakes, and don’t forget food to feed the ducks! Visit Mike the Tiger (when he returns after his treatment – we love you Mike!) and see the historical Indian Mounds. Stop in at the LSU Museum of Natural Science. This free museum features over a million insect and arthropod specimens as well as preserved animals displayed in their habitats.
BREC Parks all across East Baton Rouge Parish offer a safe place for kids to play and explore. There is even free wi-fi available for the mamas wanting to do a little work or relax for a minute while the kids let off their energy. Small neighborhood parks with playgrounds are scattered all over EBR. Some of the larger parks include free splash pads for those hot summer days! But BREC has much more than just playgrounds and splash pads to offer. We’ve included links to our favorite BREC parks that offer free and cheap fun.
North Sherwood Forest Community Park is the perfect place to be on any day, rain or shine. The park includes an indoor playground in the air conditioned facility! Outside, the whole family can enjoy walking and bike paths and fishing.
Greenwood Community Park in Baker has a splash pad and modern play structures. Families can inexpensively rent kayaks and canoes and set off on an adventure on the 18 acre lake!
Blackwater Conservation Area is a park set aside to protect local wildlife habitats. Take the kids hiking on their trails or fishing in one of their two lakes.
Bluebonnet Swamp is another conservation area that includes an exhibit building with live animal displays and touch tables for the kids. Pick up a snakeskin or inspect an animal skull! See a working beehive and search for the queen! Along the walking path, visitors might see various birds and turtles and even deer and otters! There is a small fee for admission ($2 for children, $3 for adults).
Highland Road Park Observatory features 20 inch and 16 inch reflecting telescopes! The many free events offered include solar viewing, evening sky viewing, and planet viewing. Each Saturday for a $5 fee ($6 for out of parish residents) children ages 8-12 can attend Science Academy.
Splash Pads, Pools, and Water Parks
Be sure to check out our guide to water fun in the area! Baton Rouge will experience plenty of hotter than hot summer days, and the water is where your kids will want to be!
Vacation Bible Schools
Most area churches provide a FREE week of summer fun and Bible activities. This is our guide to Vacation Bible Schools in the Baton Rouge area.