Free Summer 2012 Activities – Bowling, Movies & Skating

This is guest post from Rachael Kornblum from Surviving on a Tight Budget.

During the summer, we are always looking for new things to do with the kids. It’s fun to try new places around town and to enjoy swimming and other water activities; however, you can’t spend all of summer out in the heat. It can be draining.

Thankfully, there are many indoor recreation activities that are quite cheap. Below I have provided a list and links for free bowling programs, skating programs, and movies. Check out what is available in your town!

Free Bowling Programs

Kids Bowl Free

Kids can receive two free bowling games a day for the entire summer thanks to generous bowling alleys across the nation (they also have locations in Canada). Shoe rental cost is not included. Check out their website for information on getting your school involved, locations, and frequently asked questions. The age limit is determined by each bowling alley. Dates also vary by alley, but some go from April until October!

There is also an option to sign up for a family pass (for the adults), but it is not necessary to receive your child’s free games. This may be a good deal if you go multiple times over the summer with your kids. You will have to figure it out based on how many times you think you will go, and the cost per game and for shoe rental at your participating bowling alley.

AMF Summer Unplugged

AMF offers their own summer bowling program for kids. Kids 15 and under get two free games every day of the summer (from May 14 – Sept. 3). Again shoe rental is not included and a family pass is available for purchase. AMF has locations in ALL BUT 15 states in the United States (AR, ID, ME, MS, MT, ND, NH, NM, NE, SD, VT, and WY).

Brunswick Bowling

Brunswick also has a summer bowling program for kids. Students 18 and younger can receive one free game of bowling in June, July, and August. For children 12 and younger, you just add them to your Bonus Zone profile (a rewards program and email newsletter). Children 13 -18 should create their own Bonus Zone account. Shoe rental cost is not included. Brunswick has locations in AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, MD, MA, MN, MO, NJ, OH, Ontario – Canada, PA, TX and WA.


Free Skating Programs


According to their website, skating is:

  • A fun way to increase muscular strength and cardiorespiratory endurance.
  • A way to burn anywhere from 330 to 600 calories per hour!
  • Great for improving balance and flexibility.
  • A fantastic source of aerobic exercise.
  • A key to weight control.
  • Easy to learn.
  • A great tension reliever and enthusiasm builder.
  • An excellent way to help maintain good health.

The website features a tool for finding a location near you, frequently asked questions, and other information. Times and days vary by location.

Free Summer Movies

Great Escape Theatres Summer Kids’ Movies 2012

Prices vary by location. Locations in GA, IL, IN, KY, MO, NE, OH, PA, SC, TN, and WV.

Wehrenberg Theatres Family Summer Series

Tickets are FREE. Locations in IL, IA, MO, and MN.

To see a complete list of movies for $1 and $2, check out Surviving on a Tight Budget’s post, Summer 2012 Dollar (or Free) Movies.

For more summer family activities, check out Surviving on a Tight Budget’s round-up of Family Fun Outside the Home. And don’t forget about her list of Free Summer Reading Programs.

Rachael Kornblum is a teacher, blogger, and scrapbooking consultant from St. Louis, MO. She writes Surviving on a Tight Budget, a blog about saving money, protecting the environment, and keeping kosher. She focuses on tips that can be used any time.

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