Free Things To Do In Richmond This Spring

Free Things To Do in RIchmond

Now that the weather warming up, most of us can’t wait to get out and start enjoying all that Richmond has to offer. And with most kids out of school for Spring Break, this is the perfect time to do it. Of course, kids’ activities don’t always come cheap. That’s why we’ve created a bucket list of free things to do in Richmond this spring.

From history to hiking, biking, and more, the Richmond area offers a wide variety of activities that will keep you and your family busy, happy, and enjoying the season from start to finish. Take a look at our list of free things to do in Richmond this spring and let us know if you have a favorite free spring activity that we should add to our list! You can email us anytime at

1. Explore Nature at Three Lakes Park and Nature Center

Three Lakes Park makes a great outdoor destination with playgrounds, walking trails and picnic areas. But for those especially cold days, the Three Lakes Nature Center offers something even better. Not only can you get in out of the cold, but this 6,500 square foot facility provides hours of fun. A 50,000-gallon aquarium offers a close-up look at the fish and plant life that live in the local waters. Plus, the center offers a wide variety of exhibits and educational programs that provide a better understanding of the plants and animals that are native to the Richmond area, as well as the wildlife living in the wetlands and woodlands of the park. You and your family can learn and explore with live exhibits, dioramas, and interactive displays that offer something for every interest and age level.

There is no admission fee for the park or the Nature Center, but we do have to note that the Nature Center is closed the first two weeks of January and is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from December to February. However, for those cold winter weekends, it makes for an awesome family outing. Be sure to check the latest program schedule here!

Age Range: All ages

Cost: Free

Three Lakes Park and Nature Center
400 Sausiluta Drive
Henrico, VA 23227
(804) 652-1470

2. Enjoy Books, Events, Movies, and More at Your Local Richmond Public Library

The library can be a great place to go any time of year – but when you just need to get out of the house for a bit without blowing your budget, the local public library can be a lifesaver. In addition to books and videos, the Richmond Public Library system offers a wide variety of activities, classes, and story time events for the whole family. Visit the Richmond Public Library Events Calendar to find an event that works for you.

Don’t live in the city of Richmond? The Greater Richmond Area offers an extensive public library system, including public libraries in Henrico and Chesterfield, as well as the Pamunkey Regional Library system, which serves the Hanover, Goochland, King and Queen and King William counties. Be sure to visit your county library system to find a branch offering activities near you.

Age Range: All ages

Cost: Free

Contact: Click here to find contact information for your nearest Richmond Public Library branch.

Visit Richmond Public Library to see a complete list of city locations as well as their hours.

3. Find History, Nature, Wildlife, And More At Maymont

With both indoor and outdoor activities available, Maymont might just be the perfect park. The main park includes a Japanese Garden, an Italian Garden, and an arboretum; a Children’s Farm with a petting barn, as well as wildlife exhibits including bears, foxes and other Virginia animals and birds; and a Nature Center with fish, reptiles and playful James River otters.

If history is more your thing, be sure to stop by the Dooley Mansion and Carriage houses to see the elegantly restored Victorian home of Major James H. Dooley and his wife, Sallie, who built the house in1893 and donated the Maymont grounds after their deaths in 1925.

All outdoor portions of this amazing park are free, however, for upkeep, the Nature Center does charge a small fee, and both the Dooley Mansion and Children’s Barn have suggested donations of $5 each.

Age Range: All ages

Ground and Gardens: Free
Nature Center: $4 (ages 13-59); $3 (ages 4-12) and $3 (ages 60+); free for Maymont members and children under 4.
Dooley Mansion: $5 suggested donation
Children’s Barn: $5 suggested donation

Visitor Center
2201 Shields Lake Drive
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 358-7166

4. Uncover Local History At Meadow Farm Museum 

With the perfect mix of both indoor and outdoor activities, the Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park in Henrico offers fun for the whole family – as well as a look at local history. The museum offers a living history perspective of life on an 1860s farm once owned by Dr. John Mosby Sheppard and his family. With living history guides and costumed historical interpreters, you and your family will have the opportunity to explore the farmhouse, barn, doctor’s office, blacksmith forge, kitchen, fields, and pastures. You can also catch special events like guided animal tours, live demonstrations, instructional workshops, and much more. With a gift shop and easy access to outdoor playgrounds and picnic spaces at Crump Park, there’s truly something for everyone.

Age Range: All ages

Cost: Free

Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park
3400 Mountain Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 652-1455

5. See Patrick Henry’s Famous Speech At Historic St. John’s Church

Famous as the site where Revolutionary War hero, Patrick Henry, gave his “give me liberty or give me death” speech, St. John’s church is now a National Historic Landmark. While Henry’s speech was made well over 200 years ago, today, you can see historical re-enactments that will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time. The church has been restored by the St. John’s Church Foundation and features educational programs and special events. The site also includes a visitor center and gift shop.

Age Range: All ages

Cost: Free, but donations are welcome and reserved seats for reenactments are available for $5/person.


Historic St. John’s Church
2401 E. Broad Street
Richmond VA 23223
(804) 648-5015
(877) 915-1775

6. Go Fly A Kite

It’s been a windy start to the spring season here in Richmond. So why not make all of that wind work for you? Many of us remember flying kites as kids…and probably getting them stuck in a tree or two. Fortunately, Richmond has a number of open spaces and parks that are perfect for kite flying. You can find kites at most sporting goods store or places like Target and Wal-Mart. Find some with fun colors or patterns, then head to a spot on our list of Best Places to Fly a Kite in Richmond and make some memories with your kids!

7. Learn About Your Local Environment At Rockwood Nature Center

As one of Chesterfield County’s best-kept secrets, Rockwood Nature Center gives you the chance to get up close and personal with reptiles and amphibians, explore a honeybee hive, and take part in educational programs designed to teach you more about your local natural environment. The center also offers wilderness classes, an award-winning archery program, and more than five miles of hiking trails. Be sure to check out their upcoming programs and start exploring today!

Age Range: All ages

Cost: General admission – Free
Some programs may have costs associated with them, so be sure to check out the program guide before signing up.

Rockwood Nature Center
3401 Courthouse Road
North Chesterfield, VA 23236
(804) 674-1629

8. Explore The Parks and Trails Of The James River Park System

The water might still be just a bit on the chilly side, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all of the many trails and parks that run alongside the James River. There’s no better time to start exploring than in the spring, because as you probably know, once summer hits, popular parks along the river will start to get crowded. Now is the time to enjoy first dibs on some of the more popular destinations, or start hunting for new favorites that are off the beaten path. Be sure to visit James River Park Systems for information and updates on parks and trails, then try these well-known – or lesser known – spots to find your favorite. Here are a few of our favorites:

Pony Pasture
Great for swimming, sunbathing on the rocks and fishing for smallmouth bass. If you’re more adventurous, there is also access to Class II whitewater boating and kayaking. The parking lot offers parking for 150 cars, but gets crowded, so between May and September try to arrive before 11am.
7310 Riverside Dr.
Richmond VA 23225

Pumphouse Park
For those more interested in the views, this park doesn’t offer access to the water, but it does provide plenty of water views, as well as walking paths and an historic Romanesque pumphouse that once served the city.
1627 Pump House Drive
Richmond VA 23221

Pipeline or Trestle Trail
If it’s an amazing view you want, look no further. The Trestle (or Pipeline) Trail offers an up close view of the Pipeline rapids and (in season) Great Blue Herons nesting. There is only parking for seven cars, so be sure to keep that in mind as you’re exploring.
S. 12th St.
Richmond VA 23219

North Bank Trail and Texas Beach
Like the ever-popular Belle Isle (which connects to Texas Beach via a pedestrian bridge to the east), Texas Beach offers sunbathing rocks aplenty. But what makes this hideaway especially great is the sandy beach. To get there, you’ll need to park at the end of Texas Avenue and take the North Bank Trail to the beach. Just remember, there’s only parking for 30 cars!
1941 Texas Ave.
Richmond VA 23220

9. Head Out For A Picnic

What better way to welcome spring than with a family picnic? With so many parks, both big and small here in Richmond, it’s never hard to find a pretty patch of green to enjoy some family time and your favorite lunchtime treats. Whether you make your own goodies at home or grab some pre-made treats from your favorite lunch spot, all you need to make a picnic fun is your family, a little bit of sun, and the great outdoors. Take a look at our list of Best Picnic Spots in Richmond or find your own favorite!

10. Discover The Virginia Capital Trail

Opened in 2015, the Virginia Capital Trail connects Virginia’s colonial capital of Williamsburg to the present day capital in Richmond. The trail parallels the Scenic Route 5 corridor and offers glimpses of the countless sites and landscapes that shaped Virginia’s history over the last 400 years. With 52 miles of dedicated, paved trails, it’s perfect for walking, biking, or running with the whole family on a sunny spring day.

Age Range: All ages

Cost: Free

Contact: Visit the interactive trail map to find entrance points near you, picnic spots, bike rentals, and much more.

11. Stroll Through Time On The Riverfront Canal Walk

Richmond’s downtown riverfront is perfect in any season – especially from the vantage points offered by the Riverfront Canal Walk. The walk, which stretches for more than a mile along the James River and the Kanawha and Haxall canals, leads you through nearly four centuries of Richmond’s history. Filled with statues, monuments, and plaques that describe various events and people who helped to shape our city, the Canal Walk is a great way to get everyone out for a day of sunshine and exercise, while offering plenty to see and do. Stroll along the waterfront, then be sure to stop in one of the area’s many restaurants or cafes for a cup of coffee or cocoa to warm up! If you’re up for it, you may want to check out the nearby Richmond Slave Trail or the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, and in the spring, head back for a Canal Cruise.

Age Range: All ages

Cost: Free

Contact:  For questions or additional information, visit Venture Richmond online or call them at (804) 788-6466. The Canal Walk can be accessed at points on nearly every block between 5th and 17th streets in downtown, with handicapped-accessible entrances at 5th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th streets.