We get it: We're parents, too. No matter how much we WANT to entertain our kids, sometimes the bank account doesn't allow for a big-ticket afternoon. That's when we have to search a bit harder for budget-friendly or free entertainment options.
Before we get into the big list, here are three of our favorite savvy tips for saving money in Atlanta:
1. Atlanta CityPASS: If you know your family likes to visit Atlanta's big attractions a couple times each year—like Zoo Atlanta, The Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola—then this pass is for you.
2. Library Passes: Many local libraries, like ones in Fulton County, offer passes that families can use for destinations like Zoo Atlanta, Center for Puppetry Arts, and Chattahoochee Nature Center.
3. Georgia Aquarium FREE Birthday ticket: Visit the world's largest aquarium on your birthday (and bring your ID or birth certificate) to see the whales, sharks, and dolphins for FREE.
Read on for even more ways to save with free admission to cool museums, sports centers, outdoor areas, nature centers, and more that will delight your kids without denting your wallet.
Remember to visit our Atlanta events calendar for the most up-to-date options for family fun.
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Admission to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is free every day of the year.
Museums and Historic Sites in Atlanta That Offer Free Admission for Kids
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site — Atlanta
The tribute to the Civil Rights leader is one of Atlanta's top tourist destinations and there is NEVER a fee to visit. Currently all buildings are closed, but visitors can still do self-guided tours of the campus and see iconic sites such as King's birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum — Atlanta
Explore the legacy of the nation's 39th president (and the only Georgian ever to be president) amid a 30-acre greenspace. FREE for kids 16 and younger.
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Georgia Capitol Museum — Atlanta
Our state's capitol has resumed tours so kids can learn about Georgia history and government. FREE
High Museum of Art — Atlanta
One of the city's most popular destinations for families, the High offers FREE admission on the second Sunday of most months from noon to 5pm. Visitors still must have a reservation and a timed ticket to enter. No walk-ups allowed on Second Sundays.
Marietta and Roswell Fire Museums — Marietta, Roswell
What kid doesn't love fire trucks? At these similar facilities, kids can learn about the history and technology of fire fighting in Georgia. FREE
RELATED: Great Indooor Play Spaces for Kids in Atlanta
Admission and parking at the Museum of Aviation are always free.
Museum of Aviation — Warner Robins
Visit the second-largest museum in the U.S. Air Force and be treated to 20 aircraft on display and another 20 in renovation. Closed on Mondays. Parking and admission are FREE.
Tellus Science Museum -- Cartersville
Bank of America card holders receive FREE admission on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month. Only the cardholder receives the free ticket.
Sports Complexes in Atlanta That Offer Free Admission for Kids
Kids Bowl Free — Atlanta and other locations
Register your kids 15 and younger at kidsbowlfree.com for information on FREE summer games at your local alley. Participating lanes are also located in Columbus, Kennesaw, and Valdosta.
Kids Skate Free — Atlanta
Register your kids 12 and younger at kidsskatefree.com for passes and information on FREE skating sessions. Skate rentals are usually not included.
Outdoor Markets with Play Areas in Atlanta That Are Free to Kids
Atlanta has some great playgrounds. You might not expect to find them at some of these outdoor markets, but they are both there, and FREE.
Atlantic Station Playground — Atlanta
While enjoying yourself in Atlantic Station, why not let the kids get their energy out at this modern and imaginative playspace.
Piedmont Park — Atlanta
Piedmont Park is the crown royal of the city's parks. Special-needs children will love its accessible park and all kids will delight in its winding slide.
Ponce City Market — Atlanta
Explore this former Sears center with the family and enjoy walks, children's crafts, food options, and more.
Halcyon -- Alpharetta
Spend an afternoon or evening at this dining/shopping center while kids can play in the common greenspace complete with a sandbox and soccer area.
Visit sweet Suki at Noah's Animal Sanctuary.
Nature Centers in the Atlanta Area That Are Free to Kids
Big Trees Forest Preserve — Sandy Springs
Take your kids on a hike through this 30-acre center and catch a FREE glimpse of the wildlife and plants.
Dunwoody Nature Center — Dunwoody
Introduce (or reintroduce) your kids to nature at this 22-acre green space, where admission is FREE for most activities.
Reynolds Nature Preserve — Morrow
This 146-acre facility features 4 miles of biking trails, buildings from the Civil War era, and a must-see environmental center, all for FREE.
Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary -- Locust Grove
This non-profit, wildlife sanctuary has over 1,500 animals including primates, bears, and tigers. Visitors are welcome to do self-guided tours Tuesdays-Saturdays 12-3. Donations are encouraged.
Mall Play Spaces in the Atlanta Area That Are Free to Kids
These soft-play destinations offer kids a chance to unleash some energy during a visit to the shopping mall. Most provide bouncing and climbing fun, and crawl areas for the littleist ones. Moms and dads can "recharge" with a coffee, a seat on a bench, and phone charging stations. Here are some of our favorites. Did we mention use of these play spaces is always FREE?
Photos courtesy of the parks/museums