47 Free Things to Do or Affordable Ideas for Families in Greater Lansing

Affordable, Fun and FREE Things to do in Lansing

Great news! Lansing has many affordable / FREE things to do!

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

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 doesn’t cost a dime (or close to that.) Even better – they are fun for the whole family!

Downtown Lansing Art Piece Museum Drive

Free things to do can be hard to believe – but it’s true. Here are 47 ideas (including 117 locations, think parks, museums, events, etc.) for Lansing families that are legit super fun and will take little to nothing from your wallet. 

You may also be interested in:

Where Kids Eat Free // Best Parks & Playgrounds // Where Kids Eat Free // Free Recurring Events // Free Nature Centers // Free Tour of the Capitol

47 Affordable FREE Things to Do With Kids in the Lansing Area

01) Family Movie Festival at NCG Lansing. FREE

impression 5 science center teeth chew on this exhibit kids downtown lansing

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

Horrocks offers FREE coffee while you shop. #parentwin

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


Art Lab by the MSU Broad is open to the public all week long. Make crafts, or new projects they have available throughout the week. If you want to have a peaceful, fun, and inspiring creative time, this place is for you. FREE

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

Kids DIY Workshops at Home Depot, FREE

Cheap Crafts – Michaels stores have various crafts on the weekend that often cost just a few dollars and also offer Make Breaks throughout the year that are FREE. Check out their stores in Lansing and Jackson.

Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum Drawing Marathon East Lansing Kids

Family Day at the Eli & Edyth Broad Art Museum is every first Saturday of the month and it’s a blast! FREE

Stop By a Nature Center and hang out in their welcome centers where you’ll find animals and more! FREE

Make a Craft during the children’s events at Where the Wild Things Bloom in Old Town. FREE otherwise noted.

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

Indoor Playgrounds at Restaurants – we recommend these locations:

  • McDonald’s – Jolly/Dunckel Road is known for the tall. Located at 2530 E Jolly Rd, Lansing, MI 48911. FREE to play.
  • Chick-Fil-A in Lansing and in Okemos
  • McDonald’s – Grand Ledge
  • Burger KingFrandor

MSU Museum East Lansing Indoor Play Dino

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, a Parking fee of $2 per car.

The Mall Talk with friends as your kids play at the play areas in Lansing and Okemos. We like to grab a coffee at Barnes and Noble in the Lansing Mall before heading to the play area right outside the doors. Stop by the little free Library located next to the play area as well. FREE

Preuss Pets Old Town Lansing Koi Fish pond kids

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-In-Wednesday’s at REACH Art Studio is donation based and has new fun art opportunites each week. 4:30pm.

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

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

MSU Union Building has a bowling alley in the basement. After, walk through campus or walk upstairs to stop at the MSU Dairy Store located on the main floor. Under $5 for a game and shoes.

Michigan Historic Center Museum Lansing Kids Families

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.

Go swimming Inside FREE

FREE – Outdoor things to do in Lansing

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

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

Go to one of our Nature Centers 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.
  • Woldumar 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.
  • Howell – explore their gorgeous grounds.

Potter Park Zoo story time live animals downtown Lansing kids

Potter Park Zoo is FREE on Monday mornings till Noon on non-holidays for Ingham county residents. They also have story times each day through the summer months.

Habikids classes are fun, creative, and donation based with a suggested donation of $5.

Go on a story-walk through Valley Farms Park leading to Granger Meadows Park. The story will change each season and is facilitated by the DeWitt Library. FREE

Hike/Bike/Walk, FREE

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

Ranney Skate Park in Frandor is free to visit and skate. 3201 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Farmers Markets FREE to visit.

Hunter Park Pool Lansing water playgrounds

Go Swimming Outside FREE (or affordable)

  • Hunter Park is staffed by the YMCA of Lansing lifeguards. Bring ID to sign in. 1400 E Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48912
  • Moores Park is staffed by the YMCA of Lansing lifeguards. Bring ID to sign in. 400 Moores River Drive
    Lansing, MI 48910
  • Motz Park in St. Johns 4630 N Dewitt Rd, St Johns, MI 48879
  • Hawk Island Lake, Lifeguards present. 1601 E Cavanaugh Rd, Lansing, MI 48910
  • Lake Lansing South Lake, lifeguards present. 1621 Pike St, Haslett, MI 48840
  • Nixon Pool in Jackson is $4 and has a waterslide! 400 E. North St. Jackson, MI 49201

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 John's Cider Mill Jumping Pillow kids

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

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

Visit a garden, 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 Burchfield, Granger, or Hawk Island where all have snack bars. FREE, Parking fee at Birchfield and Hawk Island – $3 per car.

FREE Annual Events in Lansing to Plan For:

Model T Rides Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Be a Tourist in your Own Town in June is so much fun. $1 gets you a passport to experience locations all over town. Use our guide to help navigate which events are family friendly.

Concerts in the Park Lansing Kids Music Families Moores Park Pool

Summer and Fall Concert Series – 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

Lansing Capital Building Movie in the Park Summer Bucket List Header

Movie in the Park, FREE

Festivals, FREE to Attend

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

The Bug House at MSU has FREE open house times.

Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum Drawing Marathon

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


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

Reciprocal –

Grand Rapids Children's museum

Take a drive with your Impressions 5 Membership Card in May to get FREE entry to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and in February to the Air Zoo. The Michigan Science Center in Detroit is FREE all year long to I5 card holders because it’s more than 90 miles away!

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.

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