Finding ways to entertain the little ones can be exhausting and making fun family memories shouldn’t break the bank. Put down the screens and explore over 25 free things to do in the Greater Lansing area. Your kids (and wallet) will thank you!
History & Culture:
Michigan’s state history comes alive on three floors of interactive exhibits. See a replica of a copper mine, one room school house, lumber baron mansion and more. Visit on Sundays from 1-5 p.m. for free admission
While at the Capitol visitors have the opportunity to watch the legislature in session, admire the nine acres of hand-painted decorative art, and learn stories from Michigan’s past. Free tours available Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
A museum-style gallery filled with exhibits, hands-on activities and computer programs to help demystify the judicial branch of state government. Best for tweens and older. Free one hour tours available Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed state holidays. Housed inside the iconic Hall of Justice.
All ages are invited to enjoy the Village grounds and surrounding trails throughout the year. Historical buildings are open to the public for free every Saturday from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. from May until the end of October.
Do your kids have a fascination with insects? Get up close and personal with all of the creepy crawly critters during their free public open houses. Events are held on a monthly basis. See website for dates.
6. Preuss Pets
The animal lovers in your family will flip for Preuss Pets, mid-Michigan’s largest family-owned pet store. Feed the fish in the 3,000-gallon in-store Koi pond that runs through the middle of the store! Browse thousands of fish and coral, explore a bus full of fuzzy creatures, reptiles and more! See website for special free events.
The Michigan Vietnam Monument, provides an opportunity to recognize, honor, and learn from both the Michigan residents who served, and from those who, by death, missing in action, or prisoner of war sacrificed their life in Vietnam. The names of Michigan's casualties are listed by county on lighted plaques made of brushed steel.
Located inside the Breslin Student Events Center, the Izzo Hall of History celebrates the heritage of Michigan State University’s unique basketball program. Find videos, photos, trophies, player info and more. Great photo opps for State fans. Free self-guided tours Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Check Facebook page for details.
Located inside the Lansing Center, the Hall of Fame honors and celebrates those that contributed to Mid-Michigan’s athletic legacy. Free self-guided tours.
Beacon Fields are community-owned, free-play, LED lit, mini turf fields with kick boards, offering all ages a chance to play! No reservations or leagues, join in and play pickup soccer, anytime.
Tracing the banks of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers, connecting parks, historic sites and urban activity centers for approximately 17 miles. The trail is ideal for running, biking and inline skating. Trail winds through the heart of downtown Lansing past Potter Park Zoo, Impression 5 Science Center and other family-friendly landmarks.
Located at Ranney Park near Frandor shopping plaza, the 20,000-square-foot facility was designed and built by nationally known skatepark experts, Team Pain. The park is open daily, dawn to dusk, and offers free admission.
Picturesque garden for kids with a play area, koi ponds, hedge maze and foot bridges. Colorful themed gardens like Peter Rabbit Herb Garden, Butterfly Garden and more. Self-guided tours of the garden are free. *May be small fees for parking and special events.
Kids of all ages will love to get back to nature. Enjoy an environmental education center on 134 acres of urban green space. Four miles of trails, Playscape, a natural playground, and the monarch house. The visitor center features interactive, hands-on displays.
Grab your hiking boots and hit the five miles of natural trails with views of the Grand River, wetlands, forests and prairie. Providing environmental and historical education programs to the community.
16. Farmers Markets
The Greater Lansing region is home to over 20 farmers markets throughout the season. Find everything from fresh produce to locally crafted items. Be sure to catch one of the monthly Farmers Markets on the Capitol lawn. See website for dates and locations.
17. Planet Walk
Your little explorers will experience a scaled representation of the solar system. The 5.5 mile journey starts at Impression 5 Science Center, along the River Trail and ends at Abrams Planetarium. Each footstep demonstrates one million miles.
Arts & Entertainment
A Zaha Hadid-designed art museum, dedicated to exploring global contemporary culture and ideas through art. Presenting groundbreaking, international contemporary art across all media. Visit the first Saturday of the month for free Family Day activities from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Young visitors can imagine, build, and create at a variety of hands-on art making stations.
19. Beaumont Tower
Beaumont Tower is one of the most recognizable and photographed landmarks on the MSU campus. It houses a full carillon with 49 bells. The public is welcome at free carillon concerts held Wednesday evenings throughout July.
The gallery provides public awareness, education and enjoyment of the visual arts by promoting the works of Michigan artists. The gallery provides a permanent facility open to the public at no charge.
Foster your little ones love of music with a visit to Elderly Instruments. This family-owned and world-renowned music store specializes in stringed and fretted instruments. Browse acoustic and electric guitars, ukuleles, violins and much more. New, used and vintage instruments.
Over 600 pieces of public art grace the 48-acre downtown Lansing campus. The most notable piece, The “Red Ribbon in the Sky,” stands 30 feet tall and delicately flows around a stainless steel rod.
Ever wanted to see a film outside under the stars? The communities of Grand Ledge and East Lansing both host several free family-friendly movie screenings in their parks throughout the summer. You can even catch a flick on the Capitol lawn. Bring a blanket and your popcorn! See websites for dates and locations.
The Greater Lansing region is home to a plethora of free family-friendly concerts of all kinds. Grab your blanket or lawn chair, a few snacks and let the kids dance while you enjoy the music. Find them in Lansing, East Lansing, Grand Ledge and more. See website for complete list of dates and locations throughout the summer.
25. 2019 ARTpath
ARTpath highlights 20 temporary, site-specific art works along a 3.5 mile stretch of the Lansing River Trail – from Old Town through Downtown Districts, to REO Town and beyond.