Top 3 Free Recommended Events for Families each week:
Having fun with your kids in the Alamo City this summer doesn’t have to break the bank. San Antonio Mom Blogs created a list of more than 100 family-friendly events and activities you can enjoy for FREE in San Antonio this summer.
We’ve made every effort to ensure that this list is accurate and up-to-date, however, some venues/events/activities may make changes without notifying us. We recommend contacting them directly before visiting to be 100% sure that their free offerings are still available.
Free in San Antonio this summer!
Free (and Almost-free) Camps for Kids
Microsoft hosts free Youthspark Summer Camps at their La Cantera store for kids, ages 8-10 and 11-13. Courses include: smart game coding, smart game designing, smart movie making, smart photo taking. Registration TBA.
Youth Summer Garden Day Camp
Monday, June 13 – Thursday, June 16
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
For ages: 7-10
This free, four-day summer camp, for kids ages 7-10, will fill quickly! Register ASAP to reserve your child’s spot. Educators from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Pan American Library staff will facilitate the program, during which participants will learn about plants and gardening through hands on activities. This program is free, but space is limited, so registration is required. Snacks will be provided. For more information please call at 210-207-9150.
Free Bowling Programs
AMF Kids Bowl Free
Kids, ages 15 and under, get two free games every day all summer long at the following locations after parents register them (If you plan to have your kids bowl at all three locations below, you must register online at each of the three bowling centers to receive the two free games per day for your kids):
Bandera Bowling Center, 6700 Huebner Rd., 78238
Oak Hills Lanes, 7330 Callaghan Rd., 78229
Astro Super Bowl, 3203 Harry Wurzbach Rd., 78209
Parents can purchase an optional pass for $29.95 for the summer to receive two games per day for up to four adults in the family to bowl with their children. Options, ages, and rates may vary from bowling alley to bowling alley, so be sure to check with each individual business to learn their specific offer details.
Free Swimming Pools (and lessons!)
San Antonio Regional pools
Open now through Thursday, June 9, with open swimming:
Tuesday – Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Lap swimming open Tuesday – Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Admission is free.
- Heritage, 1423 Ellison Dr.
- Lady Bird Johnson, 10700 Nacogdoches
- South Side Lions, 3100 Hiawatha
- Woodlawn, 221 Alexander Ave.
Beginning Saturday, June 11, all 24 of San Antonio’s pools are open and free admission is available.
Free swimming lessons
Thanks to the San Antonio Parks Foundation, University Health System, and Security Service Federal Credit Union, the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department offers free swimming lesson this summer at 23 outdoor local pools. Lessons are for ages four and up (to adults) and for levels beginner – intermediate. Registration begins on May 21 (Hurry! Spots are limited to 100 per pool). Click here for all of the details for free swimming lessons in San Antonio.
Free Splash Pads in San Antonio
Check out this post which lists six free splash pads you can visit, in and around San Antonio!
Free Summer Movies
There are more than 80 free (and almost-free) indoor and outdoor movies for families this summer in San Antonio. Check out San Antonio Mom Blogs’ HUGE list of Free and Almost-free Summer Movies for 2016!
Free Summer Reading Programs
Free and Almost-free Vacation Bible Schools
Most of the 70+ VBS on this list are free (or low-cost) to attend. Search the list using the handy map to find which ones are closest to you. Register soon as spots fill quickly!
Parks and greenways
With more than 185 public parks and greenways to visit in San Antonio, there’s something for everyone in the family! Here are San Antonio Mom Blogs’ 20 recommended San Antonio parks. While you’re there, try geocaching. Don’t know how? Learn from this San Antonio Express-News article on geocaching.
Four ecosystems in one location
In Boerne, you can visit the Cibolo Nature Center for free (donations accepted). Explore four different ecosystems, all in one location.
San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Gardens
Free to visit, this lush escape near the San Antonio Zoo is the perfect summer oasis with winding walking paths, koi ponds, lots of shade, a variety of exotic plants, and views of downtown San Antonio. And it’s all free! Details in this post.
Free Historical Sites
The San Antonio Missions
Recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the only one in the state of Texas!), the San Antonio Missions are also a National Historical Park. And, they are all free to visit! Donations are also accepted.
Ft. Sam Houston’s Quadrangle
Bring your driver’s license or I.D. for free entry to San Antonio’s 2nd oldest military installation. Watch wildlife, including deer, rabbits, peacocks, and geese who make the Quadrangle their home. Details in this post.
Free Hands-on Art
Free Family Art Day is offered on the second Saturday of every month, from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at Inspire Art.
Free crafts for kids, ages 3 and up, every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Free Library Services
Free Library Events for Kids and Families
For all of the free, fantastic programs the San Antonio Library provides this summer, check their updated calendar of free events, story times, arts and crafts, book clubs, and classes for kids and teens.
Below are our favorite free events coming to a library branch near you this summer (check this page for library branch locations). Please note: all programs are free to attend but some require tickets due to a limited capacity. Some shows/events hand out tickets up to a week in advance. Be sure to visit the San Antonio Public Library’s calendar for specific details.
Summer Reading Kickoff Parties
Saturday, June 4, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Igo Library
Saturday, June 4, 2:00 – 2:45 p.m., Central Library
Thursday, June 9, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Cody Library
Father’s Day Arts and Crafts
Make a special gift for Father’s Day. Lots of fun crafts that show Dad how much you love him!
Tuesday, June 14, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Cody Library
Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre
Monday, June 13, 1:00 p.m., Central Library
Monday, June 13, 4:00 p.m., Bazan Library
Tuesday, June 14, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Encino Library
Thursday, June 16, 1:00 p.m., Collins Garden Library
Thursday, June 16, 4:00 p.m., Mission Library
Friday, June 17, 1:00 p.m., Carver Library
Friday, June 17, 4:00 p.m., McCreless Library
Thursday, June 30, 1:00 p.m., Cody Library
Thursday, June 30, 4:00 p.m., Westfall Library
Tuesday, July 5, 1:00 p.m., Tobin Library
Tuesday, July 5, 4:00 p.m., Thousand Oaks Library
Wednesday, July 6, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Maverick Library
Wednesday, July 13, 2:00 p.m., Landa Library
Wednesday, July 13, 4:00 p.m., San Pedro Library
Thursday, July 14, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Semmes Library
Sandbank’s Shadow Factory
Monday, June 13, 4:00 p.m., Pan American Library
Monday, June 13, 6:30 p.m., Las Palmas Library
Wednesday, June 15, 1:00 p.m., Johnston Library
Wednesday, June 15, 4:00 p.m., Guerra Library
Friday, June 17, 2:00 p.m., Great Northwest Library
Thursday, June 23, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Parman Library
Wednesday, June 29, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Igo Library
Tom Kinsey, Naturalist!
Come learn about live animal ecology with Naturalist Tom Kinsey
Wednesday, June 15, 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., Igo Library
Wednesday, June 29, 2:00 p.m., Maverick Library
Wednesday, July 13, 2:00 p.m., Thousand Oaks Library
Tuesday, July 19, 4:00 p.m., Encino Library
Happy Tales Exotic Animals
Learn about exotic animals, live and in person
Thursday, June 16, 2:00 p.m., Cody Library
Wednesday, July 6, 2:00 p.m., Igo Library
Illusions by Blake
An outdoor performance of The Magic of Reading Show filled with mystifying illusions and magic. In case of bad weather, the show will be moved indoors and limited to 50 people.
Friday, June 17, 10:15 a.m., Landa Library
Joe McDermott (fun kids’ music)
Thursday, June 23, 12:00 p.m., Thousand Oaks Library
Thursday, June 23, 2:00 p.m., Tobin Library
Thursday, June 23, 4:00 p.m., San Pedro Library
Friday, June 24, 12:00 p.m., Bazan Library
Friday, June 24, 2:00 p.m., Landa Library
Friday, June 24, 4:00 p.m., Westfall Library
Saturday, June 25, 12:00 p.m., Johnston Library
Saturday, June 25, 2:00 p.m., Guerra Library
Saturday, June 25, 4:00 p.m., Collins Garden Library
Friday, July 8, 12:00 p.m., McCreless Library
Friday, July 8, 2:00 p.m., Mission Library
Friday, July 8, 4:00 p.m., Pan American Library
Saturday, July 9, 12:00 p.m., Pruitt Library
Saturday, July 9, 2:00 p.m., Central Library
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts presents “How to train your Brain!” using magic, ventriloquism and cartooning!
Thursday, June 23, 2:00 p.m., Cody Library
Monday, July 11, 6:30 p.m., Las Palmas Library
Dinosaur George is all about paleontology. Come and see his fossils. Tickets are required for most shows.
Tuesday, June 28, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Encino Library
Wednesday, June 29, 4:00 p.m., Forest Hills Library
Thursday, June 30, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Semmes Library
Friday, July 1, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Great Northwest Library
Monday, July 18, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Igo Library
Tuesday, July 19, 6:30 p.m., Memorial Library
Wednesday, July 20, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Maverick Library
Spikey Mikey is all about magic and a love for reading!
Wednesday, June 29, 2:00 p.m., Thousand Oaks Library
End of Summer Reading Party
Celebrate Summer Readers: crafts, refreshments, and fun. Everyone welcome.
Wednesday, July 27, 3:00 p.m., Igo Library
Check out our San Antonio Mom Blogs post, Free Days and Times for San Antonio Museums, to learn how and when to get free admission to 12 local museums.
San Antonio Symphony: Free “Mahler’s Titan” Simulcast
Friday, June 3, The River Walk Plaza at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Meet on the River Walk Plaza for a free, outdoor evening simulcast featuring musical selections by Beethoven and Mahler. This FREE San Antonio Symphony simulcast will be shown on the 30-foot video wall of the River Walk Plaza at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Guests will see the live simulcast of the complete “Mahler’s Titan.” Bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy this free event sponsored by H-E-B. No outside food, drinks, or pets will be allowed. Entry to the Plaza will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m. and the program begins at 8:00 p.m.
Party on the Tower Plaza: Free Concert Fridays
Meet at the Tower of the Americas Plaza in downtown San Antonio every Friday night this summer from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. for Party on the Tower Plaza: free live music, food available for purchase, and family fun.
June 3 – After Five
June 10 – Big E and the Wild Hairs
June 17 – Bittersweet
June 24 – Chillfactor
July 1 – Rex Allen McNiel Band
July 8 – Scratch
July 15 – C-Rock
July 22 – Peacemaker
July 29 – Chilton Vance Band
August 5 – Bittersweet
August 12 – White Tapes
August 19 – Charlie Bravo
August 26 – Retro Specs
Balcones Heights Jazz Festival
One of San Antonio’s favorite musical traditions of the summer, the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival brings in world-renowned talent to perform under the stars at the Amphitheatre at Wonderland of the Americas. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and fans tend to save their spots beginning the morning of each concert. Food and beverages are for sale at booths and inside the mall.
2016 Jazz Festival dates are July 8, 15, 22, 29 and August 5. Here’s the awesome line up for this FREE festival in July:
Friday, July 8:
Dean James (Saxophonist) 7:30 p.m.
Tom Browne (Trumpeter) 9:00 p.m.
Friday, July 15:
MELINA (National Recording Artist) – 7:30 p.m.
Jeff Lorber (Keyboardist) – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, July 22:
Bett Butler/Joel Dilley – 7:30 p.m.
Jeanette Harris – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, July 29:
Warhawk – 7:30 p.m.
3rd Force – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, August 5:
Groove Therapy – 7:30 p.m.
Stanley Jordan – 9:00 p.m.
More Free Fun
Get free exercise
Attend any of these free fitness events held all over town hosted by the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department.
See San Antonio | The Saga
Projected onto the facade of San Fernando Cathedral on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays at 9:00 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m., The Saga is a one-of-a-kind multi-media history of San Antonio. This free art installation, created by Xavier De Richemont, will wow the whole family.
Make new friends at Morgan’s Wonderland Mom’s Group
The Morgan’s Wonderland Moms’ Group meets the first and third Friday of every month between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. at The Wharf. Free admission for each mom’s kids, ages 3-11, and moms are just $17 each. Must arrive before 9:45 to receive free admission for kids.
Decorate donuts at free family night at Krispy Kreme
Enjoy games, arts and crafts, and free donuts each Wednesday evening from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at all three San Antonio Krispy Kreme locations (1117 North Loop 1604 East, 78232 | 12328 IH 10 West, 78230 | 2703 S.E. Military Dr., 78223).
Attend the best free story time event for kids ever!
Kids of all ages love Miss Anastasia’s Wild and Wacky Pre-weekend Twiglet Storytime. Head to The Twig at the Historic Pearl Brewery (306 Pearl Parkway, Suite 106, 78215) every Friday at 10:30 a.m. for this free, wild, and wacky story time
More almost-free fun
Take a ride on VIVA to see and stop at the most popular sites in and around downtown San Antonio
Take VIVA around town. It’s a new, low-cost service from Via offering three different views of San Antonio: VIVA Culture, VIVA Missions, and VIVA Centro. These new routes include stops at the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site, the Alamo, King William Historic District, Southtown, Downtown, Market Square, the River Walk, Pearl, and the South Broadway corridor. The best value for VIVA is with a $2.75 Day Pass, which gives you unlimited rides all day (available on the bus). A single trip is just $1.30. Or get a 7-Day Pass for only $12 and take the time to plan your next adventure with VIVA.
Take a Tour of San Antonio’s Asian Gardens
Some of the suggested stops on our San Antonio tour of Asian gardens do require a little cash but you and your kids will be introduced to some little-known spots the whole family will love!
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
Visit this birding and wildlife hotspot just south of San Antonio for a low entrance fee. Admission is just $5.00 per person and $2 for children 6-16, children under age 5 are free.
Bargain Day: Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. $3 Admission, $3 Regular Skate Rental, and $3 Hot dog special (hot dog and soft drink).
Carvel Skate Center Leon Valley
Discount all-day skate: Tuesdays and Thursdays. 1:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. $5 per person (includes admission and skate rental).
Family Night on Thursdays, 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Parents skate free with their children (kids are just $4)
See these posts for more free summer fun in San Antonio:
See these posts for free fun in other Texas cities:
Free 2016 Nature Nights at Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center (Thursdays in June, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)
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