Free or Affordable Awesome Ideas for Greater Lansing Families

Great news! Lansing has many FREE or affordable things to do in Lansing!

When we hit the “adulting” or parenting phases it seems like all we do is pay for something. Bills, food, fun, doctor appointments, and the list goes on.

Sometimes, it’s nice to have some fun that doesn’t cost money once in a while. We are in luck – Lansing has so many things to do that don’t cost a dime and even better – they are fun for the whole family!

Downtown Lansing Art Piece Museum Drive

Free can be hard to believe – but it’s true! Here are 45 ideas for Lansing families that are super fun and will take little to nothing from your wallet. 

45 FREE/Affordable Fun Things to do with Kids in the Lansing Area

The Bug House at MSU has FREE open house times.

Goats Animals Farm East Lansing Kids

Visit Animals at the MSU Farms. Horses, Sheep, Cows, and more. Milking procedures can be observed every afternoon. Bring some carrots or apples to feed the Horses. FREE

Family Movie Festival at NCG Lansing. FREE

Be a Tourist in your Own Town in June is so much fun. $1 gets you a passport to experience locations all over town.

Impressions 5 light room kids downtown lansing

Impressions 5 has Tadpole Storytime hosted by CADL Library. Bring your card and get free admissions that day. FREE

Petals and Tea has a special hang out time for kids and parents. Check her page for details or stop by her shop. FREE or noted otherwise.

Horrocks offers FREE coffee while you shop.

Delta District Library Pop in for their DIY craft every Thursday during the school year starting at 3PM. FREE

Grand Rapids Children's museum

Reciprocal Month Take a drive with your Impressions 5 Membership Card in May to get FREE entry to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

Family Movie Matinee See a movie each month on Saturday morning at the Downtown CADL. FREE

Kids DIY Workshop at Home Depot, FREE

Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum Drawing Marathon East Lansing Kids

Family Day The Eli & Edyth Broad Art Museum hosts this creative and fun event all year long. FREE

Stop By a Nature Center to see the beauty in our city all year round. FREE

  • Fenner Nature Center Walk the trails or play in their welcome center. Don’t miss the Maple Syrup Festival in Spring and Apple Butter Festivals in the Fall.
  • Woldamar They have story times and areas to learn about nature in their welcome center. Read, color, explore! Then head outside for a great hike or play in their natural playground.
  • Harris holds story times and cool adventures during late fall/winter.

where the wild things bloom downtown old town lansing

Make a Craft at Where the Wild Things Bloom in Old Town every Saturday. FREE otherwise noted.

Potter Park Zoo is FREE on Monday mornings till Noon on non-holidays.

Take a guided or self guided tour of the Michigan State Capitol,  Michigan Justice Building, and Beaumont Tower. FREE

MSU Butterfly House Experience holding a butterfly in your hand. They will be open to the public until April 30. FREE

MSU Children’s Garden Center/Horticulture Center Here you’ll enjoy indoor and outdoor storytimes. Kids love to stroll through the greenhouses and outdoor children’s garden. FREE

Jolly/Dunckel Road McDonalds has all ages fun. Visit the newly renovated play structure in the Jolly/Dunckel Road McDonalds. Located at 2530 E Jolly Rd, Lansing, MI 48911. FREE to play.

Hike/Bike/Walk, FREE

MSU Museum East Lansing Kids Free Fun

MSU Museum (Dino) Visit the Dino bones, grizzly bear, and much more! If it’s nice out take a walk to shops on Grand River Ave, or the MSU Dairy Store’s two locations! FREE, Parking fee of $2 per car.

Preuss Pets Visit to see all kinds of awesome creatures. Feed the Koi fish in their indoor or outdoor (Opens in May) ponds, hear the parrots and birds, and say hi to the store counter/pet rat, alfredo. FREE to visit. $1 to feed the fish.

Walk/Tour Greenhouses at Van Ettas on the East Side, Horrocks on the West Side,Lansing Gardens on the Southside, and Cottage Gardens near Holt. FREE

Play games, puzzles, do a puppet show, crafts, and more at any of these local libraries, FREE:

The Mall Talk with friends as your kids play at the  play areas in Lansing and Okemos. FREE

Revival Annex Skate Park Skateboard for FREE at Revival Skate Shop 735 hazel street Lansing in Eastwood. Great for Teens!

MSU Union Building. Go Bowling then walk through campus. Don’t forget to stop at the MSU Dairy Store located in the same building! Under $5 for a game and shoes.

History Center Museum Kids Downtown Lansing

Michigan Historic Center Museum is FREE on Sundays. See the museum or attend the Fly-tying instruction event located in the special exhibit area on the first floor.  

Farmers Markets FREE to visit.

Go swimming Inside, FREE

Go Swimming Outside, FREE

  • Hunter Park, is staffed by the YMCA of Lansing. Bring ID to sign in.
  • Moores Park, is staffed by the YMCA of Lansing. Bring ID to sign in.
  • Parks in Jackson

Hawk Island Park kids

Water Fun – Pools, Beaches, and Splash Pads galore! FREE

Walk or bike the path between the Michigan State Capitol and Michigan Justice Building. FREE

Uncle Johns Cider Mill Enjoy watching cider being made, walking around the orchards, hayrides, bouncing pillow, bounce houses, and more! FREE during weekdays.

Art/Drawing Marathon at Eli & Edyth Broad Art Museum is one of my favorite events during the summer. There are lots of stations for the kids and demonstrations that make this a great experience. FREE

Scrap fest old town downtown lansing

Festivals, FREE to Attend

Beacon Field play a game of soccer with friends or just drop by. FREE

LCC Amphitheatre Performances These are such special events to attend. Enjoy sitting in Lansing’s city center during the warm summer nights taking in a great performance. FREE

Concert Series in the Park There’s nothing like hearing beautiful music outside with the wind and sky as the backdrop. Plan to attend, you won’t be disappointed. FREE

Visit a garden, FREE:

Movie in the Park, FREE

Sharpe Park Lansing

Parks and Playgrounds Check out the epic parks in our area for swimming, sledding and tubing! Year round fun awaits all over Greater Lansing.

Sled, Go Tubing/sledding during winter at Birchfield, Granger, or Hawk Island where all have snack bars. FREE, Parking fee at Birchfield and Hawk Island – $3 per car.

Free Ideas to Add to the list of Lansing Fun

What types of things do you like doing for Free in Greater Lansing? Do you have a fun FREE idea to add? We love hearing from you! Comment below and we will get it on the list so other families can enjoy it too.