The Best things in Life Are Sometimes Free (or at least, very inexpensive)


As a father of two very active daughters ages 12 and 10, I’m always looking for things to keep my family engaged while trying to fully experience Genesee County. We are very fortunate to have so many unique local attractions, many of which are provided at no or little cost to the community and offer families opportunities for healthy experiences. At this point in the summer, most people have overextended their budgets with vacation costs. As well, they may have forked over a pile of money getting the kids ready to go back to school. I wanted to list a handful of local end-of-summer activities that are both rewarding and easy on the budget.

1. Flint Institute of Arts

First Merit Bank has teamed up with the FIA to provide FREE admission Saturdays! Enjoy a self-guided tour and find something for the whole family to explore … and did I mention that on Saturdays, it’s FREE?

2. Flint Farmers’ Market

This is a great Downtown place to take the kids for an inexpensive experience with local farmers collaborating to provide an array of fresh, fun and often organic foods. Teaching kids to shop locally is something that will help our community for years to come, and the hustle and bustle of the crowds at the Market present a great chance to see the changes that are happening Downtown.

3. Crossroads Village

For $15 per person or less, you can step back in time and spend an entire day discovering what life was like before selfies, Pokémon Go, and iPads. From seeing a family churning butter, to watching a working cider mill, your day will be filled with interesting, old town experiences. The $15 dollar admission also includes a ride on a real paddlewheel riverboat – the Genesee Belle! The kids will have fun as they “unplug” and spend time learning and talking about all the differences between life of yesteryear and today.

4. Flint Children’s Museum

Great learning activities and engaging exhibits ensure the kids will have an amazing experience! The $6 admission price is worth the hours of educational excitement they’ll have moving from game to game. For hours of operation and discounted pricing, check out

5. Bluebell Beach and Splash Pad Spray Ground

For those of you with youngsters 12 and under, this is just what the doctor ordered to get through the hot, end-of-summer days. A gem within our local parks and rec network, it is the only completely free splash pad site in Genesee County, there for you to experience and enjoy. The water comes from the Detroit water system and will provide hours of refreshing, active fun for the whole family.

If you, like many others, have stretched your budget to the max with summer vacation getaways, look into these fun, local adventures to enjoy with the family, while not breaking the bank.


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