21 fun and free things to do with kids this summer in Atlanta

Summer has begun – at least according to the school calendar – but it won't be long before you hear the complaint of kids everywhere: "I'm borrred!"

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It can be a challenge to keep kids happily occupied throughout the summer in metro Atlanta, and it's even harder to do it on a budget.

The following are 21 free things to do with the kids this summer in Atlanta:


B at the Movies. Free family movies including "Coco" and "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" are shown outdoors throughout the summer at various metro Atlanta parks. Come at 7:30 p.m. for games and prizes before the movie start at dusk.

Movies Under the Stars. 3333 Buford Drive, Buford. Enjoy free live music each Saturday at the Mall of Georgia throughout the summer starting at 5 p.m., with the movie starting at 7:15 p.m. in The Village.

Flicks on the Bricks. Duluth Town Green. – Free outdoor movies join the lineup on Food Truck Fridays the first of every month from June-September starting at dusk. You'll also be able to see characters from the movies.

Atlantic Station Movies in Central Park. 1380 Atlantic Drive NW, Atlanta. Movies from the 2000s, such as "Happy Feet" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," are held each Thursday starting at 8:30 p.m. throughout the summer.

Regal Summer Movie Express. It's not quite free, but admission to kid-friendly summer movies like "Hop" and "Despicable Me" are $1 this summer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, usually starting at 10 a.m.




Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation Day – Kids and adults alike can dress like a cow (or just wear any cow apparel) to get a free entrée at any location until 7 p.m. on July 10. You'll also get to take some cute photos and enjoy other diners' costumes.

Steak 'n Shake – You can get one free kids plate (minus a drink or shake) every weekend per $9 spent. The offer is good for kids 12 and under.

Bruster's Real Ice Cream – Kids who are less than 40 inches tall (you can measure them at a display at the counter) get a free baby cone.

Splash pads

Credit: Courtesy of City of Norcross

Credit: Courtesy of City of Norcross

Legacy Fountain Splash Pad. East Park Lane NE, Atlanta. – The Piedmont Park splash pad has more than 70 jets that reach up to 30 feet in the air, as well as LED lighting. The fountain is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and is free.

Historic Fourth Ward Park Splash Pad680 Dallas St., Atlanta – Steams of water come from the ground as well as overhead, and kids have plenty of space to romp around. The splash pad is open daily from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. from May 1-Oct. 1.

D.H. Stanton Park. 1052 Martin St. SE, Atlanta. – Solar panels make this the first energy-neutral park in Atlanta. It's open daily from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. from May 1-Oct. 1.

Big Splash Interactive FountainTown Center Park, 330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee. – Let the kiddos romp in the 43 jets at Suwanee's Big Splash, which is usually open daily from 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. from April 1-Oct. 31.

Lillian Webb Park. 5 College St. NW, Norcross. – Water jets are located at the bottom of a man-made waterfall at this Norcross park.

Zoos/animal sanctuaries

Credit: Phil Skinner/AJC

Credit: Phil Skinner/AJC

Zoo Atlanta. 800 Cherokee Ave., Atlanta. – If you live in or work for the city of Atlanta or Fulton County government, you'll be able to get free admission to Zoo Atlanta on Aug. 18 and 19. Two adults and up to two children per party will be admitted free.

Noah'sArkAnimal Sanctuary712 LG Griffin Road, Locust Grove. – Take a self-guided tour from noon-3 p.m. on Tuesdays-Saturdays, and you'll see everything from bears to primates. Donations are appreciated.

Art and music

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

High Museum of Art. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4400. – You can enjoy the museum – along with special family-friendly programming - for free on the second Sunday of each month.

Roswell's Riverside Sounds Concert Series. 575 Riverside Rd., 770-641-3705. – Expose the kids to music with free concerts from 7-9 p.m. the first Saturday of each month through October.

Glover Park Concert Series. 50 N. Park Square, Marietta. 770-794-5601. – Check out free local and national acts on the last Friday night of each month starting at 8 p.m. from April-September at Marietta Square. Bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on.

Tiny Doors Atlanta – Visit unique tiny doors throughout the city to let the kids appreciate a creative, public form of artwork.


Home Depot Kids Workshops – Kids can make and take their own projects at workshops that are usually held on the first Saturday of each month.

Marietta Fire Museum. Marietta Square. 770-794-5466. – Take the kids on a self-guided tour of fire gear, tools and more dating back to 1854. The museum is open from Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and free parking is available off Lawrence Street.

CALENDAR: Things to do in Atlanta this weekend from the AJC