Because the weather in Texas only stays balmy for a few weeks before it turns into the surface of the sun, it’s nice to get out and take advantage of the spring temperatures. But, because this time of year is full of sports, school and holiday expenses, it’s difficult to spend money on family outings.
Well, here are some FREE places you can take your kids that will build lasting memories and keep you from going broke.
1. Live Oak Ridge Park (Belton, TX)
While it does cost money to camp or use electricity, if you’re just coming for the day, you can enjoy the park for free. The park has 136 miles of shoreline that includes picnic areas and nature trails. It is also a natural habitat for hawks, great blue herons, ducks, geese, the Rio Grande turkey and an occasional bald eagle.
2. Bell County Museum (Belton, TX)
The museum is a great place to teach your kids about the history of the area. Many of the exhibits are kid-friendly and give children the chance to do everything from brush cotton to pump water from a real, old-fashioned water pump. And if you go to “Charley’s Page” before you go, you can print out a scavenger hunt for kids to complete during their visit.
3. Central Texas Bark Park (Temple, TX)
If you want a place to take your two and four-legged children to run off some steam, then the Central Texas Bark Park might just be the perfect place. It’s located inside of Lions Park in Temple, TX and offers fenced-in areas for large and small dogs.
4. West Temple Park (Temple, TX)
Even if it’s not warm enough to use the elaborate splash pad at this park, you can still enjoy the basketball and volleyball courts, playground and duck pond. It’s a great place to fly a kite or have a picnic lunch.
5. Whistle-Stop Park (Temple, TX)
If you have a train-loving kid, this the place for you. Not only can they play on a train-themed playground, but they will also get the chance to see and hear real trains that chug through town. And if you’re willing to spend a few dollars, you can get into the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum nearby.
6. Barnes & Noble Bookstore (Harker Heights, TX)
While you will have to purchase any book you take home, Barnes & Noble hosts several free kids’ events a month, including free story times. There’s even a train table that will help keep your little ones entertained while you catch up on your reading.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.