Nowhere else will you find a more detailed and unique listing of family-friendly summer activities! Some are good ol’ Richmond stand-bys that are not to be missed, and many others are brand new and offer chances for you and your kids to have some new experiences this summer. You may actually get those kids to admit that they’re not bored!
**Many of these activities are free, as we try to help you find ways to keep busy this summer without breaking the bank, and the rest are super cheap or just plain cool. (Zip lining in Williamsburg, anyone?!)**
We’ll constantly be adding to the list, so check back often, and if you have any to suggest, please let us know! (And if it’s camps you’re looking for, don’t worry we’ve got you covered there, too. Click here for a great list of Richmond summer camps for kids!)
All Fired Up
Richmond’s original paint your ceramics studio – also offering fun special summer projects and summer camps for kids. Locations in Carytown, Midlothian and Short Pump.
AMF Summer Unplugged (FREE)
Free bowling for kids 7 days a week through September 2, 2013. And special discounted prices for bowling for 16 and up too! Then enjoy a kid’s combo meal for just $3.29 per person.
Anthem Lemon-Aid (FREE)
July 19th through the 21st – Put the squeeze on childhood cancer! Host a LemonAid stand and raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Sign up online at www.anthemlemonaid.com. Participation is FREE!
Barnes and Noble’s Summer Offerings (FREE)
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program – It’s free and kids get a free book when they participate!
Barnes & Noble Kids’ Club – Free to join, the Kids Club offers 30% off list price on any one kids’ book for toy for your children. $5 reward for every $100 you spend on kids’ stuff online and in stores. FREE cupcake from cafe for birthdays.
B&N Storytime: Check local stores for details on their FREE weekly kids’ story time. Some stores also host a free American Girl Club!
Brickz 4 Kidz
Check their site for classes and programs for preschoolers and older kids that teach architecture, engineering and technology concepts with Lego bricks.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA (FREE)
Preschool kids ages 3-5 who are also Virginia residents can enjoy FREE unlimited admission to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA through September 2, 2013. Visit site for registration information.
Cartwheels and Coffee
Beat the heat with some coffee for you and free play for the kids. There’s a special corner for the littlest ones, and two big play areas for the toddlers and preschoolers. Special events such as Story Time and Move With Me are hosted throughout the week and free with admission to this Carytown play area. ($5 per child, $4 additional child(ren).
The Children’s Theatre of Virginia
The Children’s Theatre of Virginia’s season includes some great summer shows! The Music Man will be playing at the November Theatre at Virginia Rep Center from June 8th – August 4th, and Richard Scarry’s Busytown will be at the Willow Lawn Theatre July 5th – July 28th.
Children’s Museum of Richmond
CMoR has some fun events planned for the kids this summer:
Target Family Night: Visit CMoR for just $1 every third Friday through July from 5:00pm – 7:30 pm.
CMoR’s annual Summer Series program also returns to the Central location on select Saturdays and will now be offered at the Chesterfield location on select Sundays in July and August! All Summer Series events are free with museum admission. And don’t miss Summer Nights at CMoR Central!
Club Mom at Chesterfield Town Center (FREE)
Bring the kids out to Club Mom on the first Tuesday of every month in the Food Court from 9-11 a.m. for great entertainment for the kids and fun giveaways for the adults. Free breakfast for children 12 years or younger.
Farmer’s Markets around the city (FREE)
Support our local farms! Many markets offer free samples, entertainment, and lots of fun for kids and adults. It’s a festive way to spend a couple of hours and check things off your grocery list!
Flying Squirrels’ Squirrel Tail Kids Club (FREE)
Squirrel Tails is the Richmond Flying Squirrels FREE Kids Club for all kids 14 & under! Kids Club members enjoy free Sunday games throughout the season (see website for dates), eat free on Sundays, and receive special giveaways just for being a member!
This Williamsburg adventure park opened Treetop Junior in 2013, a fun-filled experience of canopy exploring, trail blazing and obstacles for all to enjoy. Kids ages 6-12 can negotiate crossings and finish on a high (literally) with two awesome zip lines!
Hanover County Parks and Recreation (FREE)
Hanover County offers free family events throughout the season including Family Movie Nights, Family Fishing Day and the Hanover Tomato Festival, which will be celebrating its 35th year!
Click here to learn more about Hanover’s parks. http://www.co.hanover.va.us/parksrec/parkinfo.htm
Henrico County Parks (FREE)
Great parks like Deep Run Park, Dorey Park, and Three Lakes where there are nature trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and lots more. Crump Park/Meadow Farm Museum has an historic house open for tours at various times throughout the week, and they have animals for the kids to enjoy – they offer lots of outdoor fun with plenty of room to run and play.
Henrico County Parks and Recreation (FREE)
Special summer events including puppet shows, magicians, musicians and theatre troupes are offered at facilities and parks throughout the county, see site for details. And don’t miss the free Open Gym for ages 10 and up. All skill levels are invited to play pickleball—a fun blend of tennis, table tennis, and badminton! The sport is played using a paddle and plastic wiffle ball on a badminton-sized court. Equipment provided. Tuesdays 5:30-8:30 p.m. Moody Middle School Tennis Courts. Mon & Wed 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sandston Recreation Area Tennis Courts.
Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield County (FREE)
Fun events for all ages.The recreated 1611 Citie of Henricus, an outdoor living history museum with 12 recreated colonial structures, demonstrates history through “hands-on” encounters with period dressed historical interpreters. Visitors interact with interpreters during which time visitors may be asked to assist with cooking, blacksmithing, planting or harvesting. Visitors may even be asked to join the Militia! Be ready for an exciting and provocative experience in living history! Events all summer.
Home Depot Kids Workshops (FREE)
FREE hands-on workshops designed for children ages 5 – 12 offered the 1st Saturday of every month at area Home Depot stores between 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
This museum of 17th century Virginia history explores America’s first permanent English colony. See the replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607. Other highlights include the colonists’ fort and Powhatan village. Kids will enjoy this fun tour of the “old days” – be sure and take a picnic to enjoy right by the waterside. See site for admission details.
James River Park (FREE)
Enjoy hiking, canoeing, biking, picnicking, birdwatching, photography, and many more activities – create your own fun!
Jump around on over 8,000 square feet of connected, world-class trampolines. Our trampoline field features over 50 trampolines, the famous angled wall trampolines and a series of launching decks of different heights. Open jump time slots on Friday and Saturday book up fast! Please call 2-4 days in advance to pre-purchase your ticket and reserve your flight time. Special jump time pricing for ages 6 & under! $8.00 per child and one accompanying adult jumps free. Check site for days and times.
For inflatable play, visit Kangaroo Jac’s, where walk-in play is always available for kids with a little extra energy. Available every day of the week, no need to call ahead. For a flat fee, stay and play all day! Visit site for fees and locations.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Lewis Ginter has several different offerings for kids this summer, including Garden Explorations where kids and adults can enjoy story time and a fun-filled adventure while exploring different areas of the garden, the Summer Survival Series which combines outdoor adventure, teamwork and nature awareness to teach families basic survival skills for the outdoors, Drop In and Dig, the Garden Art Studio and of course the water play area. See website for full schedules and fees.
Local Library activities and reading programs (FREE)
Check your local library for free children’s crafts and book club events occurring throughout the summer and also get information about summer reading programs.
Chesterfield County Public Library
Richmond Public Library
Henrico County Public Library
Pamumkey Regional Library System, serving Hanover, Goochland, King & Queen and King William
New Kent Heritage Public Library
Petersburg Public Library System
Lowes Build and Grow Kids Clinics (FREE)
This free clinic is available at select stores on various Saturdays at 10am. Build a wooden project and get a free apron, goggles, patch and more. Check site for details and to register.
Maymont Park (FREE, donations warmly accepted)
Lots of fun, outdoor activities, a petting zoo, trails, and more. Visits are free or have a recommended fee of $2-$5. The Children’s Farm Barn is a major attraction and hit with the young ones. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it!
Metro Richmond Zoo
Home to over 1,500 animals representing 148 species from around the world, the Metro Richmond Zoo offers a variety of experiences that will make your visit memorable. Visit giraffe up close, and let these gentle giants eat right out of your hand! Not many zoos offer this unique experience! Hop aboard the Safari Train and take a fifteen minute ride into the African Savannah. Get up close and personal with free-ranging animals while receiving a guided tour. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day!
Mommy & Me (and Daddies Too!) at The Shops at Willow Lawn (FREE)
This FREE monthly event features fun entertainment (which this summer will be provided by the Diggity Dudes and Rocknoceros!), giveaways and interactive crafts for the kids, and lots of helpful information about area kids’ services for parents. Richmondmom.com is thrilled to be a part of this fun event each month!
National Battlefield Park (FREE)
Richmond was the scene of a number of battles during the Civil War, and National Battlefield Park encompasses 13 separate sites with four visitor centers along an 80 mile route through the City of Richmond, and Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield counties. Park admission is free. Visitor centers at Tredegar Iron Works (fee), Chimborazo and Cold Harbor are open daily. Visitor centers at Glendale and Fort Harrison are open daily June through August.
Old Time Music Jams at Rockwood Park (FREE)
Bring a chair and don’t hesitate to tap your feet at this monthly informal gathering of musicians playing old timey instruments on the porch at the nature center. Enjoy tunes from yesterday played on fiddle, bass, mountain dulcimer, banjo, autoharp, guitar and many more. Bring your own instrument and join in the fun! Free for the whole family, donations to the nature center warmly accepted. Held outdoors on the front porch or inside the classroom in the event of inclement weather. Fourth Tuesday of every month, 7 p.m. to 9:30 pm. Call 674-1629 with questions.
Pocahontas State Park (FREE)
Just 20 miles from downtown Richmond, Pocahontas offers boating, picnicking, camping, camping cabins, hiking, and interpretive and environmental education programs. The Aquatic Center offers seasonal water-based activities for the entire family.
Pottery Barn Book Club (FREE)
Stop by the store for story time every Tuesday from 11 – 11:30 a.m. (check with store near you to verify actual times). Members receive special Book Club Passport and special gift if they attend 5 times. And don’t forget the PBK Summer Reading Challenge! From now through August 26th, read all the award-winning books on one of our recommended lists and qualify for fun prizes.
Regency Square Mall Kids World (FREE)
The first Thursday of every month Kids World meets at the Fit & Fun Play Area for a fun activity or craft. Moms will enjoy special discounts, free samples and more!
Rockwood Nature Center (FREE)
Visit the Center’s live snake, turtle, and honeybee exhibits to learn more about the plants and animals that live in the fields, forests, pond, and marshes of Rockwood Park. Take an archery lesson, join a nature club, learn about geocaching, follow a letterboxing trail, learn map and compass navigation, and much more! Call 804.674.1629 with questions. Location: Rockwood Park, 3401 Courthouse Road (804) 674-1629. Summer Hours: (June 12-Sept. 2) Tuesday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Science Museum of Virginia
From bugs to space and what’s inside human bodies … explore our world at the Science Museum of Virginia. The IMAX & Planetarium is the biggest in Virginia and puts the audience in the middle of all the action. This summer the IMAX presents “To the Arctic” and “Flight of the Butterflies”. Reasonable fees.
Short Pump Pals Club (FREE)
Pals Club members enjoy discounts to participating stores and extra-special birthday treats! And don’t miss the Short Pump Pals Clubhouse Meetings the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 11:00am in the Food Court for fun activities and entertainment.
Each Friday during the summer, Spirited Art teams up with Bricks 4 Kids or All Fired Up to offer Kids Fun Fridays. Each Friday from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm kids ages 5 and up can unleash their inner artist! Fee is $35 per class, visit site for details.
Stony Point Fashion Park (FREE)
Bring the kids in their bathing suits and let them go crazy in the outdoor fountain. Also, check out the live music Thursday – Sunday afternoons, through September 2nd.
This adorable candy and soda shop located in West Broad Village hosts Candy Bingo Nights and book clubs throughout the year. Check out their site throughout the summer for event information.
The Nature Exhibit at Three Lakes Park (FREE)
Free to the public and fun for all ages, the exhibits in the Nature Center will introduce visitors to the plant and animal life native to the area and wildlife living in the wetlands and woodlands of the park. Summer hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, noon-4:30 p.m.
Virginia Center Commons Mall Family Fun Carnival (FREE)
Kick off the summer at Virginia Center Commons on Saturday, June 29th from 12:00 pm to 3:00pm at the Family Fun Carnival. Beat the heat with tons of indoor activities including a bounce house, balloon animals and face painting, fun games and much more! Snack on popcorn and cotton candy and enter to win great prizes throughout the day! Free for Kidgits Members; $5 for Non-Kidgits Members.
Virginia Historical Society (FREE)
In addition to its ongoing entertaining and educational exhibitions, beginning Wednesday, August 1st, through Friday, August 31, the VHS will offer families the opportunity to participate in educator-led programs, craft activities, and group readings of historically-themed books. All programs are free and open to the public. Advance reservations are not required. August Afternoons takes place from 2:00-4:00 p.m. daily in the Carole M. and Marcus M. Weinstein Classroom.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (FREE)
Admission to permanent collection galleries is always free. Different events and programs all summer so click here for details and don’t miss the delicious cafe while you’re there.
Volunteer Virginia (FREE)
Discover great opportunities for kids to volunteer and participate in fun activities at the same time. Also, visit our listing at this link of great volunteer positions for kids.
Metro Richmond Zoo.
Home to over 1,500 animals representing 148 species from around the world, the Metro Richmond Zoo offers a variety of optional experiences that will make your visit memorable. Visit our herd of giraffe up close, and let these gentle giants eat right out of your hand! Not many zoos offer this unique experience! Visit our herd of giraffe up close and let these gentle giants eat right out of your hand! Hop aboard the Safari Train and take a fifteen minute ride into the African Savannah. Get up close and personal with free-ranging animals while receiving a guided tour. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day!
Bow Tie Cinemas Movieland 17 at Boulevard Square (FREE)
Free kids summer film series, every Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from June 25th through August 21st. Doors open at 9am, show starts at 10am. Seating is limited to theater capacity, tickets issues on a first come, first served basis. See site for movie details.
The Byrd offers lots of low-cost, family friendly movies all summer long for $1.99. Check the website for information.
Cinema Classics at the Henrico Theatre in Highland Springs
Enjoy popular kids’ movies Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer at Henrico Theatre in Highland Springs. Tickets are only $1 per person and can be purchased at the door. This summer’s offerings include The Princess Bride (June), Shrek (July), and Despicable Me (Aug). For more information call: 328-4491.
Nowhere else in RVA can you experience a good ol’ drive-in movie. And nowhere else can you take a whole family to the movies and spend so little! Tickets are $8.00 for adults and kids 12 and up, $3.50 for kids 4-11. All snack bar items are priced $3.75 and under. Movies offered are all new/current release, see site for schedule.
Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express
Moviegoers of all ages can climb aboard the Summer Movie Express to enjoy a great selection of films. During this 9-week festival, participating Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theatres will offer selected G or PG rated movies for only a dollar on Tuesday and/or Wednesday mornings at 10:00. A portion of proceeds from the Summer Movie Express will be donated to the Will Rogers Institute. Check site for participating theatres and times.
Dogwood Dell (FREE)
Concerts in the amphitheater all summer long; 2013 schedule released in early June. Visit website for information.
Forest Hill Music in the Park (FREE)
Free evening summer concerts, see site for dates and schedule of bands.
A Richmond favorite, each Friday from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Brown’s Island. Tickets are $5 to $10 depending on the show, children under 12 are free. Season passes available. See site for band lineup and more information.
Henrico Concert Band and Henrico Community Band In The Park (FREE)
For all ages. The Henrico Concert Band and Henrico Community Band will each perform a series of three outdoor concerts. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and spend a casual evening in the park listening to your favorite band music! In case of inclement weather, the concerts may be cancelled. There will be no rain dates. Information: 501-5859. Henrico Concert Band Mon, June 24, July 29, & Aug 26, 7 p.m. Dorey Park by the lake. Free. Henrico Community Band Thur, June 27, July 25, & Aug 29, 7 p.m. at Deep Run Park Nature Pavilion. Free.
Jammin’ on the James (FREE)
This free concert series on the grounds of the Wilton House Museum is great fun for all ages. Bring a picnic dinner and a lawn chair for family-friendly music on the scenic terrace overlooking the James River. Enjoy complimentary walk-through tours of Wilton as well as face-painting, games, and crafts for kids.
Short Pump Summer Concert Series (FREE)
The Summer Concert Series returns for its 10th season, beginning June 20th and continuing every Thursday evening (weather permitting) through August 22nd. Families are invited to enjoy FREE live music performed by local bands, great food, PRIZES and of course, fabulous shopping! Concerts begin at 6:00 PM and run until 8:00 PM in the Main Plaza.