100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids

Kids under 18 are always free at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Liz Baill
Kids under 18 are always free at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Liz Baill
1/7/24 - By Cait Sumner

We can't think of a better price point than FREE! Costs add up when you're doing fun things with the family-- especially if you have multiple kids. So we've rounded up all of the best free things to do with kids in the Philadelphia area. From spray parks and pools, to playgrounds, museums, and more, we've got you and your budget covered.

For even more fun free things, don't miss our Free Activity Guide and keep an eye on our Event Calendar where we're always adding new events.


The Schuylkill Center: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
 The Schuylkill Center is a nature lover's dream!

FREE Farms, Parks, and Nature Centers near Philadelphia

1. Linvilla Orchards

There's no charge to visit the barnyard animals at Linvilla Orchards in Media! While you're there, check out Playland, their amazing playground (you can drop a $1 donation in the box). Linvilla is also the host of many free admission festivals throughout the year.

2. Maple Acres Farm

Visit Maple Acres Farm in Plymouth Meeting to feed the horses and the cows. In springtime you can see all the beautiful flowers in bloom as well.

3. Merrymead Farms

Head to Lansdale's Merrymead Farms where you can visit even more farm animals and view the cow milking from 3:30pm - 6pm daily.

4. Shadybrook Farms

From September through October, Shadybrook Farms in Yardley offers free concerts on their patio every weekend. As an added bonus, there's also a playground nearby to keep the kids busy!

5. Terhune Farms

Take a trip to Princeton, NJ to visit the animal, walk the farm trail, or check out one of the many festivals at Terhune Farms.

6. Awbury Arboretum

Take a walk through Awbury Arboretum in historic Germantown. Check out all the gardens and AdventureWoods, a natural material playground open from April through October.

7. The Schuylkill Center

The Schuylkill Center has lots of fun in store for nature lovers! Take a hike on one of the trails, check out their self-guided Aqua Marooned! tour on Saturdays, or look around at the exhibits inside the Discovery Center.

8. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

This wildlife refuge has over 10 miles of trails to explore. Binoculars and fishing rods are available to borrow free of charge. Explore the Center’s exhibits to learn more about the wildlife and habitats of the refuge and the communities that support the refuge’s work.

Bartram's Gardens: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
Enjoy the beautiful Bartram Gardens.

9. Bartram's Gardens

Bartram's Gardens is a public park spanning nearly 50 acres in the Kingsessing neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia. Take a stroll around the gardens, or check out one of their family programs. While the family programs aren't free, $2 tickets are available for Southwest Philadelphia neighbors and ACCESS cardholders. On Saturdays, Bartram's offers free boating!

10. Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon Valley Park is popular for a reason — beautiful woodland scenery within the city limits of Philadelphia. You can pick from paved or rocky trails for walking (with or without a stroller) or biking.

11. ChesLen Preserve

The ChesLen Preserve is a private nature preserve with more than nine miles of unpaved trails for families to enjoy. While you're there, visit Ollie Owl's Playground, a nature-based playground the kids will love exploring.

12. Ridley Creek State Park

In the heart of Delco, Ridley Creek State Park boasts miles of trails across this park's 2600 acres, where kids can also find playgrounds, encounter wildlife, and climb rocks.

13. Valley Forge National Historic Park

Check out the historic cabins and landmarks throughout Valley Forge National Historic Park while you walk or bike some of its 35-miles of designated trails.

14. Spruce Street Harbor Park

Swing in the hammocks, take a walk down the boardwalk, or enjoy the breeze on the floating barges at Spruce Street Harbor Park.

The Barnes Foundation: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
On the first Sunday of every month, the Barnes Foundation offers free admission.

FREE Philly Museums

15. Benjamin Franklin Museum

Not to be confused with the Franklin Institute, the Benjamin Franklin Museum offers low-cost admission every day, but on several days of the year admission is free of charge. To visit for free, head to the museum on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the First day of National Park Week, Great American Outdoors Day, National Public Lands Day, or Veterans Day.

16. The Wagner Free Institute of Science

The always free Wagner Institute of Science features rocks, minerals, taxidermy animals, mounted skeletons, and more.

17. The Science History Institute

Check out the history of science at this free museum. The Science History Institute is located at 3rd and Chestnut.

18. The Barnes Foundation

On the first Sunday of every month, the Barnes Foundation offers free admission to art lovers of all ages.

19. The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Admission to the Fabric Workshop and Museum is free for all ages (suggested donation $5). The museum showcases innovative contemporary art exhibitions alongside a prestigious artist-in-residence program and often holds workshops and classes for kids.

20. Institute of Contemporary Art

Check out the museum where Andy Warhol had his first museum show. The Institute of Contemporary Art is located at the University of Pennsylvania and admission is always free.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is always free for kids. Photo by Liz Baill

21. The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Kids under 18 are always free at the Philadelphia Art Museum, but on Friday evenings adults can also enjoy pay-what-you-wish admission.

22. Rodin Museum

The Rodin Museum offers pay-what-you-wish admission for guests of all ages. Check out some of the world's most renowned pieces of art right on the parkway.

23. Woodmere Art Museum

Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill offers free admision every Sunday and has many rotating art exhibitions.

24. Carpenters' Hall Museum

See furniture, paintings, and more that date back to the 1800s for free at Carpenters' Hall Museum in Old City.

25. Edgar Allan Poe National Historic House

See Poe's Philadelphia home and pose with the raven! Hours are limited, so be sure to check the website before you go.

26. Fireman's Hall Museum

Located in historic Old City Philadelphia, Fireman's Hall Museum is housed in a renovated 1898 firehouse. Admission is free and donations are appreciated.

27. Independence Hall

No Philly kid can grow up without seeing Independence Hall!

28. U.S. Mint

Take a free self-guided tour of the U.S. Mint and see how money is made.

29. Brandywine Zoo

Due to limited visibility of animals in winter, the Brandywine Zoo offers free admision from December 1 through March 15.

30. The Shoe Museum

The Shoe Museum is located at Temple University. Exhibits are only open during weekdays, so this is a great spot for when kids have off from school.

31. The Ryerss Museum

The Ryerss Museum offers free admission and features generations of family heirlooms, paintings, sculpture, decorative art, and a vast array of Asian art and artifacts.

32. Liberty Bell Center

See one of Philly's most famous artifacts-- the liberty bell!

33. Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Designed with families in mind, there are plenty of ways for kids of all ages to dive into history throughout the Weitzman Museum. Enjoy child-height displays and a covered wagon playroom, the sleep-away camp gallery, or the whole family can pile into an It’s Your Story recording booth to share their own stories.

34. The Athenæum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum was established in 1814 as a subscription library, at a time when the free public library system did not exist. Today, it's not only a library, but it's also home to special rotating exhibitions that are free to the public.

35. Fairmount Water Works

Learn about the history of water treatment and water systems at the fascinating and free Fairmount Water Works.

36. Museum for Art in Wood

This museum is full of impressive wood-based artworks. The museum hosts 4-5 exhibitions per year in addition to housing a permanent collection.

FREE Playgrounds and Playspaces in Philly

37. Craft Hall

Not only does Craft Hall have great food and beers, but they also have an enormous indoor playground so you can relax while the kids have fun.

38. Smith Memorial Playhouse & Playground

Smith Memorial Playground is a destination playground. With 6.5 acres full of playground equipment, a giant wooden slide, and an indoor playhouse, you can spend a whole day at Smith without spending a dime.

39. Kid's Castle in Doylestown

A giant wooden playground structure shaped like a castle? What kid wouldn't have fun at Kid's Castle?!

40. Rose Tree Park Playground

This brand new inclusive playground structure at Rose Tree Park in Media is full of fun for kids both small and big!

41. Charles Seger Park

This rec center and park has a fenced-in tot lot, unique and challenging equipment for older kids, a popular splash pad, and even a dog park, so the whole family can truly enjoy the space.

42. Clark Park

This West Philly staple has a tot lot, lots of great spots for picnicking, and is host to several festivals and markets throughout the year.

43. Freedom Playground

This Haverford playground features more than just playground equipment. Kids will love playing in the sand box and sand table, swinging on the tire swing, and playing the musical instruments.

FREE Spray Parks and Pools for Philly Kids

44. Sister Cities Park

The Children's Discovery Garden at Sister Cities is a pond surrounded by a play structure including a play net and platform, push-button water jets, a stream dam and a sensory-friendly twig nest. The park also has a giant spray fountain perfect for hot summer days.

45. Dilworth Park

Located on the west side of City Hall, Dilworth Plaza features a huge interactive fountain area where kids can run around.

46. Nelson M. Herron Playground and Recreation Center

Herron Playground has five paved splash pad areas, where sprayers spout geysers from the pavement, pour torrents down from poles, and shoot arcs of water across the space.

47. Marian Anderson Recreation Center Pool

Regulars appreciate that this pool has designated areas for swimmers based on age and ability, which helps keep everyone safe while allowing older and stronger swimmers to enjoy some time away from the noise and splashing of little ones.

48. Athletic Recreation Center Pool

The Athletic Rec Center Pool can be summed up in one word: slides! It’s the only free city pool where you can sail down playground structures into the water, making it a popular family pick.

49. Samuel Playground Pool

Chillier summer days are no problem at Samuel Playground Pool thanks to the pool's heating system. There's even a deep end for older swimmers.

50. Pleasant Playground Pool

Lounge on a chair underneath an umbrella, or frolic through the sprinklers next to this Mt. Airy pool on 4.7 acres of city-owned land.

51. Awbury Recreation Center Pool

Looking to kill two birds with one stone? This pool is located right next to Awbury Arboretum and offers lots of shade from all the greenery.

Cape May State Point Park: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
Climb the top of the lighthouse at Cape May State Point Park. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

FREE Beaches and Lakes Near Philly

52. Cape May State Point Park

Explore the natural side of this popular vacation town at this quiet state park, which features freshwater meadows, the Cape May Lighthouse, and a FREE beach.

53. Atlantic City

The beaches in Atlantic City are admission free and the flashy boardwalk makes for a fun walk with the kiddos.

54. The Wildwoods

The Wildwoods consists of 5 miles of beautiful beaches, all with no entrance fee. In addition, there are also many free events over the summer including concerts and firework shows.

55. Strathmere

Right between Ocean City and Sea Isle City, the quiet little beach in Strathmere is a great spot to relax. 

56. Longport Dog Beach

Looking for a place to bring your kids and your dogs? Longport Dog Beach is the perfect spot. This free beach has its own parking lot, so it's easy to access. 

57. Parvin State Park

Parvin State Park has an adorable little lake beach that is free to enjoy. Guests can take advantage of the many charcoal grills and picnic tables, and there's a playground nearby as well.

Scarecrows in the Village at Peddler's Village: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
Start the spooky season off at Scarecrows in the Village at Peddler's Village. 

FREE Halloween, Holiday, and Seasonal Fun in Philly

58. Trick-or-Trolley

This seasonal free trolley stops at many of the Main Street shops and restaurants so kids can trick-or-treat.

59. Scarecrows in the Village

Every year, Peddler's Village hosts their annual scarecrow competition where you can view and vote on your favorite scarecrows.

60. Chestnut Hill Halloween on the Hill

Don your costume and look for the Halloween sign in shop windows in Chestnut Hill to grab some treats!

61. Holiday Nights and Jolly Trolley

Manayunk hosts another free trolley ride around Christmas time to view all the dazzling lights down Main Street.

62. Holidays on the Hill

Ride in a horse-drawn carriage, listen to a brass quartet, admire twinkling lights, festive window displays, and possibly catch Santa handing out candy canes–all while checking off holiday shopping lists at Chestnut Hill's 200+ businesses.

63. Christmas Village in Philadelphia

This outdoor holiday market in LOVE Park reflects the feel of traditional German Christmas markets.

64. Macy's Center City Holiday Traditions

This Philadelphia tradition can't be missed! Head to Macy's for the lights, Dickens Village, Santa pictures, and the holiday window displays.

65. The Miracle on South 13th Street

Every year the residents of 13th Street between Tasker and Morris come together to decorate big! 

66. Festival of Lights at Rose Tree Park

Head to Rose Tree Park to check out this stunning free light display.

67. Herr's Snack Factory Christmas Light Display

Take a trip out to Nottingham to the Herr's Snack Factory to drive through this 600,000 light display.

Winterfest at Dilworth Park: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
 Dilworth Park is transformed into beautiful topiaries at Wintergarden at Dilworth Park. Photo courtesy of Center City District

68. Wintergarden at Dilworth Park

Every winter, Dilworth Park is transformed into a beautiful wonderland featuring whimsically crafted reindeer topiaries, seasonal plantings, twinkling lights, and outdoor seating.

69. West Chester Griswold's Holiday Light Display

This family puts on a spectacular light display set to music every year. Kids can even drop off letters to Santa.

Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
It's Christmas lights galore at Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular. 

70. Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular

For over 50 years, South Philly residents on the 2700 block of Smedley Street have been wowing spectators with an impressive community display of blow-up decorations, beautifully lit trees, and sparkling string lights.

71. Electrical Spectacle Light Show in Franklin Square

Inspired by Benjamin Franklin's experiments with electricity, the Electrical Spectacle makes Franklin Square sparkle with its musical light show, recurring every 30 minutes.

FREE Concerts and Movies for Philly Kids

72. The Arts on Center Stage at Dilworth Park

Philadelphia's robust network of arts & culture organizations come together to host live, in-person, pop-up performances at The Arts on Center Stage at Dilworth Park.

73. Kidchella Music Festival

Every year, Smith Memorial Playground hosts this free music festival series for kids. The concerst feature art stations, food trucks, and live local kid-friendly music.

74. Norristown Free Outdoor Concert Series

Head to the Elmwood Park Bandshell for free concerts on Sundays in the summer.

75. Green Lane Park Concerts

Green Lane Park's Amphitheater hosts a free summer concert series. Bring blankets and chairs and enjoy some live music.

76. Concert Series at Abington Arts Center

Abington Arts Center hosts a concert series with different bands each week!

77. Summer Festival Concerts at Rose Tree Park

Every summer you'll find tons of amazing concerts in the scenic outdoor amphitheater at Rose Tree Park

78. Plymouth Township Summer Movie Series

Enjoy a free movie select Wednesday at the amphitheater behind Plymouth Meeting Community Center.

79. Walnut Street Bridge Movies

Get ready to watch movies on the big screen under the stars along the banks of the Schuylkill River at Walnut Street Bridge.

80. Movies in Clark Park

University City District presents free outdoor movies at Clark Park. Guests can expect to see the park transformed into an outdoor amphitheater

81. Movies in Oxford Memorial Park

Gather at dusk at Oxford Memorial Park for free summer movies.

82. Summer Movie Series at Wentz Run Park

Check out the outdoor movies at Wentz Run Park. Popcorn and concessions are available for sale.

83. Student Recitals at Curtis Institute of Music

Each year over 100 free Student, Studio, and Faculty Recitals are presented on most Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings at Curtis Institute of Music. Admission is free but requires advanced reservation.

84. Shakespeare in Clark Park

Bring a blanket and enjoy free performances of Shakespeare plays on select summer nights in Clark Park.

85. Free at Noon at World Cafe Live

Every Friday at noon, World Cafe Live hosts a free concert featuring upcoming and world-renowned artists.

86. Wanamaker Organ Concerts

Twice a day, six days a week, a switch is thrown, and nine massive blowers breathe life into the gigantic wind machinery of the world’s largest playing pipe organ. Wanamaker Organ Concerts occur Monday-Saturday at noon and 5:30pm.

More FREE Things To Do in Philly

87. Bucks County Covered Bridge Tour

Download the map from Visit Bucks County and take a self-guided driving tour of Bucks County's 12 remaining covered bridges.

88. Community Goat Walks

Awbury Arboretum and Philly Goat Project host regular community goat walks with their goats! They also offer Christmas treecycling by-- you guessed it, feeding them to the goats!

89. Go Maple Sugaring

Late February is the start of maple sugaring season and there are so many places in the area to go maple sugaring!

90. Sand Sculptures at Peddler's Village

Much like their Scarecrow Walk, Peddler's Village also hosts a summertime sand sculpture competition.

91. Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches

Settle into any of the six curved Storytelling Benches and hear some of our nation’s most intriguing behind-the-scenes stories. Trained, uniformed storytellers entertain and delight with free, 3 to 5 minute rarely heard stories. Have a star marked off on your flag for all six benches and receive a free ride at Franklin Square.

Cherry Street Pier: 100 Free Fun Things To Do in Philly with Kids
Take advantage of the programs and activities offered at Cherry Street Pier. 

92. Cherry Street Pier

Cherry Street Pier is a year-round, mixed-use public space on the central Delaware River waterfront featuring artist studios, lots of markets, an open-air garden, and more.

93. Race Street Pier

Race Street Pier has an upper and lower terrace both with fabulous views of the waterfront. This is a great spot for a picnic! The pier also offers free programming in the summer including yoga and pilates.

94. The Rail Park

The defunct Reading Railroad viaduct has been converted into a park! Take a walk or try out some of the bench swings along The Rail Park.

95. Cira Green

Open year-round, Cira Green is an elevated park in West Philadelphia’s University City District offering breezy lounge space, entertainment, food, and events.

96. LOVE Park

Get a picture with the iconic LOVE statue in LOVE park.

97. Elfreth's Alley

Take a stroll down one of the oldest continually inhabited residential streets in the United States. For a low fee, you can also take an audio tour or visit the companion museum.

98. Parkway Central Library

Visit the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia at Parkway Central Library. On certain days, docents even offer architectural tours of the building.

99. B. Free Franklin Post Office

This limited services post office branch has two small display cases with historical information about the postal service. If you choose to mail a postcard or letter from this location, the postal employees will hand cancel your stamp using Postmaster Benjamin Franklin's cancellation - "B. Free Franklin."

100. The Navy Yard

The Navy Yard is a fun place for a stroll with fabulous views of some of the massive ships on the waterfront. There are also lots of parks and greenspaces, occasional public art installations, and food and drink options.

Unless noted photos courtesy of the events/venues 

Places featured in this article:

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia