Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

The Sarasota Mom’s Guide to Free or Cheap Summer Fun 2018

Free Cheap Summer Guide Sarasota

We’ve rounded up the best free or cheap summer fun in the Sarasota/Bradenton area and put it right here in one place. From story times and open gym to music festivals and bounce houses, there’s something for children of all ages, from newborns to big kids.

For this guide, we’ve defined “cheap” as activities that cost $10 or less per person. Some of these activities only happen once per week, but not to worry, we’ve got every day of the week covered. 

Click on the name of each event to learn more!

Arts Ablaze

Kindergarten Prep Through Art – Beginning June 14, 2018
When: Thursdays at 9:00am
Cost: $10 per session. Please pre-register.

Is your child starting kindergarten this year? Help them prepare by signing up for a fun filled hour of fine-motor activity artistic fun! Due to today’s technology, a large number of kindergarteners have not developed the fine motor skills necessary for kindergarten. Through fun craftivities, they will work on developing those finger muscles to help them grow those kindergartner muscles! They will be cutting, ripping, hole punching, stringing, weaving, and painting while learning basic academics to help prepare your child for their first year of elementary school.

This class will be taught by Ms. Williams, a certified Kindergarten/1st grade teacher in Manatee County with both her reading and ESOL endorsements. Through different activities, the kids will work those muscles while also learning some basic academic skills such as phonograms, letter identification, number formation, and writing skills. ​For kids ages 4 and 5. This is a drop off event. 

Home Depot

Kids Workshops – Year Round
When: First Saturday of each month, drop-in anytime from 9:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: Free

Each of the four Home Depot locations in the Sarasota/Bradenton area offer a free kids workshop on the first Saturday of each month. Pre-register your child online (not required), then drop in anytime from 9:00am – 12:00pm and they’ll receive a DIY kit, workshop apron, commemorative pin and certificate of achievement. Click here to find the Home Depot nearest you, as well as the workshops available.

Learning Express Toys

Crafty Thursdays – Year Round
When: Thursdays from 11:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: Free

Kids will have an afternoon of fun as they make crafts like bangle bracelets, sand art, patriotic Flag Day crafts and more! Check their Facebook Events Page for full listing of weekly crafts and recommended ages.

Let’s Create Art

Lil Picasso Class – Year Round
When: Thursdays from 4:00 – 5:00pm
Cost: $10 per child, includes supplies

Each week the instructor teaches a specialized project customized for the 3-6 year old artist.

Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Kid’s Club – Year Round
When: Saturdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: $2 for ages 3+, $5 for ages 6+, supplies included.

Children ages 3 and up can discover the educational and developmental benefits of crafting, while you shop the store. Sign up in-store, online or just drop in.

Camp Creativity – June 11 – July 27, 2018
When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00am – 12:00pm
Cost:$2 for ages 3+, $5 for ages 6+, supplies included.

Children make new crafts each day based around weekly themes like Outdoor Adventures, Jamboree, Campfire Stories and more. Parent or guardian must remain on premises. Space is limited and registration is required. 

The Craft Bar

Preschool Pop-Ins – Year Round
When: Tuesdays from 1:00 – 2:00pm
Cost: $10 per child, includes supplies.

Every Tuesday, preschool aged children can enjoy a mommy and me craft session. Get messy and make memories!

Crafty Kids – Year Round
When: Saturdays from 11:30am – 12:30pm
Cost: $10 per child, includes supplies

Every Saturday, kids ages 5 and up can get in on all the crafty fun!

Sarasota Children’s Garden

Open Studio – Year Round
When: Third Saturdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: Included with garden admission ($10.00 for ages 12+, $5.00 for ages 3-12, Free for ages 0-2)

Kids can explore different materials that are provided each class, use their imagination and be creative. Recommended for ages 4 years old +, however all ages are welcome.

Art Rocks – Year Round
When: Tuesdays at 11:00am
Cost: Included with garden admission ($10.00 for ages 12+, $5.00 for ages 3-12, Free for ages 0-2)

Art Rocks is a nature inspired art class. Most projects are made using recycled materials and nature finds from the garden!

The Ringling

Art Making – Year Round
When: First Saturday of each month, drop-in anytime between 10:00am – 3:00pm
Cost: Free

Art Making is part of the Family First Saturdays program at The Ringling. It takes place in the Visitor’s Pavilion, where the Children’s Welcome Center is transformed into an art studio. They provide the materials, you provide the vision. All ages are encouraged to participate!

Museum of Art Mondays – Year Round
When: Mondays, drop-in anytime between 10:00am – 3:00pm
Cost: Free. Families must pick up a ticket in the Visitor’s Pavilion the day of the program. Each ticket will admit one child and up to two adults. No reservations are available. Ticket numbers will not be capped. 

Every Monday families can enjoy a special art-making program tied to objects you can find in the galleries as well as free admission to the Museum of Art. You can also pick up one of their Museum of Art Family Guides for fun ways to enjoy the art museum as a family! This program will be held in the Education Building Classrooms. Education staff will collect your ticket upon entrance.

Beaches Free Cheap Fun Sarasota


One of the greatest things about living in Sarasota is you’re never far from the sand and the sea. Plus, a beach day is always free! 

Check out these blog posts that can help you have a fabulous, fun day in the sun:

Time to Explore! Sarasota’s Family Friendly Beach Guide

Beach Free Cheap Guide Sarasota

Oh Baby! The Must Have Items for a Beach Day with the Littles!

boating boat sarasota beaches

Sarasota Family Boating Guide

Scalloping is an Underwater Family Adventure


Both Sarasota and Manatee County have multiple libraries that your family can visit. Most include an area in the children’s section with toys, puzzles and interactive computer games. Your kids can play and explore, while you pick out some books and DVDs to enjoy later at home.

Plus, the libraries put on plenty of programs throughout the week and on Saturdays for kids, tweens and teens including Tinker Tuesdays, Lego Club, Girls Who Code, Anime Club, Drop-In Crafts, Youth Gaming Club, Reading with the Dogs, and so much more!

Many are free, although some require tickets or registration due to limited seating. 

Download the Sarasota County Summer at Your Library 2018 PDF, visit the Sarasota County Interactive Events Website or visit the Manatee County Library Events Page for full program schedules and details.

Forty Carrots

Welcome to Our World – June 6 – August 1, 2018
When: Wednesdays from 11:15am – 12:15pm
Cost: Free

Bringing a baby into the world can fill our hearts with joy and love and our minds with questions and wonder. Join other families navigating the newborn phase in a supportive, fun, informative group with Forty Carrots Parenting Educators. Explore topics that are relevant to you and your family as you begin the journey of raising a healthy and happy child.

Breastfeeding Support and Latch Clinic – June 7 – August 2, 2018
When: Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:30pm
Cost: Free

This weekly clinic provides a hands-on approach with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). You may weigh your baby, see how much milk baby transfers while breastfeeding, get assistance with latch, ask questions about breastfeeding or simply visit with other breastfeeding mothers.

Partners in Play (PIP) at Your Neighborhood Library – June 4 – August 3, 2018
When: Various Days and Times, Check Schedule for Specifics
Cost: Free, but ask your youth librarian for a PIP ticket, only the first 12 families will receive tickets.

Enjoy special uninterrupted play time with your child in their FREE Partners In Play (PIP) groups. Meet their friendly Parenting Educators and discover how Forty Carrots can help you enhance your parenting skills even more. 

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center

Little Nippers – Year Round
When: Wednesdays from 11:30 – 1:00pm
Cost: Free

Join this weekly informal gathering of moms/parents and their newborns. A facilitator and other moms are available to offer support and suggestions for each other. An optional light lunch is provided courtesy of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. No need for a reservation, just come by!

Postpartum Adjustment and Support Group – Year Round
When: Thursdays from 9:30 – 11:00am
Cost: Free

This group is for women who find the adjustment to becoming a new mother is a little more difficult than anticipated. Share, listen, cry and laugh with other new moms and a facilitator who is a Postpartum Adjustment Support Specialist. Babies and children up to age three are welcome.

Manatee Memorial Hospital

MOMM’s Place: Infant and Mom Group – Year Round
When: Tuesdays from 11:00am – 1:00pm
Cost: Free

Want to meet other new mothers? Need a shoulder to cry on? Interested in activities that involve you and your children? Then this group is for you. Most mothers join us weekly to share lunch, stories, and life’s little experiences. It’s a great time to get out of the house with the little ones. Please bring a bag lunch.

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)

MOPS Sarasota – Year Round
When: Various Days and Times, Check Schedule for Specifics
Cost: Free

A MOPS meeting includes practical teaching through speakers, crafts and videos. Plus, there’s usually food… and coffee! But more importantly, you’ll get to have honest conversations with other moms who understand the joys and frustrations of motherhood.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Breastfeeding Support and Latch Clinics – Year Round
When: Tuesdays from 2:00 – 3:30pm, First Tuesday of Each Month from 6:00 – 7:30pm
Cost: Free

Need help with breastfeeding, or just affirmation that you’re on the right track? Join an international board-certified lactation consultant and other new moms at a free, weekly drop-in breastfeeding support and latch clinic. New moms will get one-on-one help and guidance. You can weigh your baby, see how much milk he/she is eating, ensure proper latch, get your nursing questions answered, or simply visit with other breastfeeding moms. No registration required.

Mother-Baby Support Group – Year Round
When: Wednesdays from 11:00am – 12:00pm for ages 3 weeks to crawling, 12:30 – 1:30pm for crawling to 1 year.
Cost: Free

Whether you’re a new mom or a veteran, the first year after baby’s arrival can be a rollercoaster. Bring baby along, and come share the celebrations and challenges of mommyhood during one of these free, weekly support groups. Listen to others’ stories, learn new tips and connect with others on the mom journey. Groups are split based on baby’s age/mobility. Meetings last an hour; come any time, and leave when you need to. No registration required.

Movies Free Cheap Guide Summer


$5 Ticket Tuesdays
When: Tuesdays
Cost: $5.00 per person

At AMC Sarasota 12  and AMC Bradenton 20 tickets are just $5.00 every Tuesday with an AMC Stubs Membership, which is free to sign up for. Also on Tuesdays, AMC offers Stubs members a $5 popcorn and soda combo.

Regal Cinemas

Summer Movie Express – June 5th – August 15th, 2018
When: Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00am
Cost: $1.00 per person

The Regal Hollywood Stadium 11 in Sarasota and the Regal Oakmont 8 in Bradenton are both participating in the Summer Movie Express. Family fun movies will play on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the whole summer at 10:00am. Movies include Hop, Max, The Iron Giant, Curious George, Despicable Me, The Lego Movie, Trolls, Ferdinand and more. Two movies are available for you to choose from each day. To see which movies are playing each week, view their full schedule. 

Sarasota Police Department

Blue + You Movie Night, Showing “Deep”June 9, 2018
Cost: Free

The Sarasota Police Department, in conjunction with numerous community organizations, will be hosting a family free community event and ‘Blue + You’ movie night to officially kick off a safe and sustainable summer. It’s all happening at Sarasota PD Headquarters. The FREE family event starts at 7:30pm with educational booths from Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Audubon Florida, Save Our Seabirds and Florida Fish and Wildlife. There will be hands-on activities, crafts and displays from the Sarasota Police Marine Patrol, Crime Prevention, Cub Scouts, Coast Guard Auxiliary, City of Sarasota Sustainability Program, Whole Foods, Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program and more. The ‘Blue + You’ movie “Deep” will begin at 8:30pm on the west lawn of police headquarters.

West Bradenton Baptist Church

Outdoor Movie Night, Showing “Moana” June 15, 2018
Cost: Free

School’s out for summer and West Bradenton Baptist Church is celebrating! Join them from 7:30 – 9:30pm for a showing of Moana. Bring your blankets and chairs and head to the grass by the playground. Free Kona Ice and popcorn will be served.

Bradenton Yacht Club

Kids Craft and Movie Night 
When: Every second Friday of the month
Cost: Free

Every second Friday of the month, stop by the Bradenton Yacht Club in Palmetto for a FREE night of family fun. Arts and crafts from 6:30-7:15pm, followed by movie and popcorn on the lawn, at 7:30pm. The movie is moved inside if the weather isn’t appropriate. Bring your own blanket, lounge chair, cushion and/or pillow. Food and beverages are not included. Parent supervision is required for children under 5.

Sun n Fun RV Resort

“Dive In” Summer Movie Series – June 1 – October 12, 2018
When: Every Friday at dusk
Cost: $7.00 per person

Float in the pool while you watch a flick! Also enjoy their “dive-in” cabana that features ice cream, popcorn and candy. Movies include Moana, Justice League, Coco, Peter Pan, Casper, the Cars series, the Harry Potter series, and more. Check the schedule for specific dates as some films are R Rated and not intended for small children.

Regular Movie Pricing Under $10/Person

AMC Sarasota 12 AMC Bradenton 20
Matinee Showings (before 4:00pm): $9.49 for adults, $7.99 for seniors 60+ and children

Regal Hollywood Stadium 11, Sarasota
Cost: $6.00 per person for standard showings, $8.00 per person for 3D showings.

Lakewood Ranch Cinemas
Cost: $7.00 for children, $9.00 for adults, all day, every day. Ticket prices drop to $6.00 with a membership, which starts at $30 per year.

Starting June 1st, students age 22 and under can visit the box office and apply for a FREE 3 Month Membership Trial that will expire on August 31, 2018. 

Insider Tip: These theaters are very small, so arrive early to ensure you get tickets and decent seats otherwise you’ll be craning your neck in the front row!

Parkway 8 Cinemas 
Cost: $2.00 per person for shows starting before 6:00pm. Shows after 6:00pm are $2.50 per person.  

Insider Tip: If you hear people talking about the “dollar theater” in Sarasota, this is it.

Ringling Cheap Summer Guide Sarasota

The Ringling

Free Outdoor Grounds – Year Round
When: Daily from 10:00am – 5:00pm
Cost: Free

Every day, the outdoor grounds of The Ringling are open to visitors for free. You and your children can explore the beautiful gardens, play in the playgound (including a small water play area), search for the outdoor art, have a picnic along the bay, climb through the massive banyan trees, and more.. Regular admission pricing applies if you wish to visit the Art Museum (free on Mondays), Circus Museum or Ca’ d’Zan.

Free Mondays – Year Round
When: Mondays
Cost: Free

Every Monday the Museum of Art, including special exhibition galleries are free to the public. Regular admission pricing applies if you wish to visit the Circus Museum or Ca’ d’Zan.

Kids Quests – Year Round
When: First Saturday of each month from 1:00 – 1:45pm
Cost: $2 gives one child and up to two adults access to the featured venue for the day.

Kids Quests are family-friendly and participatory museum tours for visitors ages 8 to 12 and are part of the Family First Saturdays program. Kids Quests are facilitated by a museum educator and are approximately 45 minutes in length. 

Stroller Tours – Year Round
When: The last Tuesday of each month at 10:00am
Cost: $2 gives one child and up to two adults access to the featured venue for the day. Free for members.

Join a Museum educator for a one-hour tour designed for parents or caregivers visiting the museum with an infant. This tour allows for adult discussion within a group that does not mind if a chatty or crying baby joins the conversation. Strollers or front baby carriers only, please.

Homeschool Third Thursday – June, July & August 2018
When: Summer Third Thursdays
Cost: Free. Pre-Registration required.

Explore the first floor of the Ca’ d’Zan. Docents will be stationed around the mansion to answer your questions, and we will be distributing a student guide to help your children learn more about both the Ca’ d’Zan and John and Mable Ringling. 

Please note: Each of the three sessions will be the same, so pick the date that works best for your family. 

June 21 from 3:00 – 5:00pm (full, registration closed)
July 19 from 3:00 – 5:00pm (registration opens June 22)
Aug 16 from 3:00 – 5:00pm (registration opens July 20)

South Florida Museum

Free Summer Learning Day – June 21, 2018
When: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Cost: Free admission for Manatee and Sarasota county students ages 14 & younger, plus free admission for one adult chaperone per child. (Children 3 & younger are always admitted free, but their adult chaperones will not be permitted free admission.)

Visitors to Summer Learning Day at the Museum will receive a special kids’ guide to the Museum and a Summer Reading Log. For every five hours of summer reading a student logs, they will be able to return for another free day at the Museum (one parent or guardian will also get free admission). This special Summer Reading Log offer runs through Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.

Family Night at the Museum – Year Round
When: First Saturday of most months from 3:00 – 8:00pm
Cost: $9 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+), $7 for children age 4-7, free for members and children 3 and under.

On the first Saturday of most months the Museum stays open late for an evening of family fun! Every month there is a different theme with hands-on activities and special films or performances beginning at 3pm. You can also enjoy an additional manatee presentation, specially scheduled Planetarium shows, and the Rock Hall of Fame show at 7:15 pm (unless otherwise noted).

KidSpace – Year Round
When: Second and Fourth Saturday of each month from 10:15 – 11:00am
Cost: $3 for members, $5 for non-members

KidSpace is a program for kids who want to explore everything there is to know about space and become Masters of the Universe. We’ll unleash the awesome power of the Bishop Planetarium, taking off from Earth’s surface and flying to places no human has gone before: the Sun, the planets, other moons of our solar system, newly discovered solar systems in our galaxy and beyond. KidSpace is designed for kids in elementary school (grades 1-5), and their grown-ups.

iQuest – Year Round
When: Second Saturday of most months from 4:00 – 8:00pm
Cost: $5 per child, kids only! Admission includes slice of pizza and a drink.

IQuest is a monthly program for middle school students in grades 6-8. While each IQuest is different, you can always expect challenging projects and games that inspire out-of-the-box solutions to real world problems.

Florida Railroad Museum

Kids Ride Free – June, July and August
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00am and 2:00pm
Cost: Free for kids 12 and under (with paying adult ticket)

Purchase tickets for a weekend excursion on the Museum’s vintage railroad equipment. The round trip lasts approximately 1.5 hours. A brief stop at Willow Yard is included to talk about the history of Willow and view the rest of the Museum’s equipment collection. Summer Special – Maximum 3 children ride free with an adult per reservation.

Insider Tip: Dad also rides free on June 16 and 17th with a paid admission.

Glazer Children's Museum Tampa

Glazer Children’s Museum

Children’s Board Free Tuesdays – Year Round 
When: First Tuesdays from 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Cost: Free

The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County proudly presents Free Tuesdays held on the first Tuesday of every month, with Free Museum admission from 12-7pm. Free Tuesdays align with the Children’s Board’s mission to promote the well-being of children and families by uniting community partners, investing in innovative opportunities, and leading the county in best practices so that the whole community can realize its full potential. So make the drive up to Tampa and join GCM with great partners like WEDU PBS for free, family fun.

Read our insider’s guide to Glazer Children’s Museum

Free Museums

Museums on Us from Bank of America – Year Round
When: First Full Weekend of Each Month
Cost: Free

More than 175 institutions across America are free for Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust credit or debit card holders during the first full weekend of every month. Simply present your credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain one free general admission to any participating institution. Cardholders only; guests are not eligible for free admission. Excludes special exhibitions, ticketed shows and fundraising events. Locally, Selby Gardens and the South Florida Museum participate in this program. The Florida Aquarium and Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Florida Holocaust Museum in St Pete, and the Baker Museum in Naples also participate.

Music Free Cheap Summer Sarasota

Music Festivals

Music on Main Street 
When: First Friday of each month from 6:00 – 9:00pm
Cost: Free

A family-friendly concert series and block party for the public is hosted on the first Friday of each month on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch. The street is lined with food vendors, beer trucks, and sponsor booths, as well as rides and activities for the kids presented by Grace Community Church. Proceeds from the event will benefit a local non-profit organization each event. The summer lineup of bands is as follows:

June 1: Tropical Avenue will fill the air with R&B, Top 40, Latin, Rock and Island music and the deejay will keep you dancing with today’s Top 100 hits; the event will benefit the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

July 6: The Lauren Mitchell Band will fill the air with Blues and Soul music and the deejay will keep you dancing with today’s Top 100 hits; the event will benefit the Rotary Club of Sarasota Southside.

August 3: Wild Root will fill the air with Rock and R&B music and the deejay will keep you dancing with today’s Top 100 hits; the event will benefit CAN Community Health.

September 7: Jah Movement will fill the air with Reggae, Top 40, Rhythm & Blues, Funk and Soul music and the deejay will keep you dancing with today’s Top 100 hits; the event will benefit the Animal Network.

Friday Fest at the Van Wezel
When: Various Fridays from 5:00 – 9:00pm
Cost: Free

This outdoor summertime concert series is located on the Bayside Lawn of the Van Wezel. Each of the four events will feature food trucks, beverage vendors and more – it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a summer sunset over Sarasota Bay.

While blankets and lawn chairs are welcome at all Friday Fest events, outside food and drink, including coolers, are prohibited. Friday Fest takes place “rain or shine;” in the event of inclement weather, the festival will move indoors to the grand foyer or main stage of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. 

June 22: Jah Movement – playing top 40, Funk, Soul, R&B and Calypso Dance music.

July 27: Reverend Barry & The Funk – playing a high-energy set of originals and covers of funk & soul music including Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, Kool & the Gang, and Prince.

August 17: Rebel Heart – playing some of today’s most popular country songs, mixed with a healthy dose of hits from pop, rock, dance, and the blues.

September 14: Dr. Dave Band – plays high-energy Southern Rock blended with bluegrass banjo and fiddle.

Jam Sessions

Music Compound Summer Kids Jam Sessions – June, July and August
When: Mondays from 6:00 – 8:00pm
Cost: $5.00

Jam will be lead by young musicians and offer a variety of genres and instruments. Let’s collaborate and jam this summer!

Playground Free Cheap Guide Sarasota

Indoor Playgrounds

The Mall at University Town Center

On the lower level of the mall, near Dillard’s, there’s an indoor play area sponsored by Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Soft and squishy play pieces such as an Ambulance, Nurse Shark and Doctor Ray provide plenty of sliding, climbing and jumping opportunities for kids. There’s even an enormous stethoscope that makes heartbeat noises when kids step on it.

Insider Tip: This play area is closed every day at 2:00pm for cleaning, so avoid that hour.

Westfield Sarasota Square

A bright, colorful Play Space near Sears is filled with large puzzles and animal characters so kids can exercise their minds and bodies. And a Family Lounge near the food court features toys, TV programs, private nursing areas and baby changing stations.

Outdoor Playgrounds

Check out our Honest Mom’s Guide to Playgrounds in Sarasota for a detailed breakdown of playgrounds in Lakewood Ranch, and North, Central and South Sarasota. We rate them based on diversity of equipment, level of shade, crowd levels, bathroom availability, and what we like to call our “prison break” score (how likely your little one will be to escape the confines of the playground)!

Bowling Free Cheap Guide Sarasota


There are two bowling alleys in Sarasota that offer varying rates on games, depending on the day and time. The cheapest options for each are listed below:

AMF Bowling – Sunday Funday is your best bet for cheap bowling. After 6pm on Sundays, bowling is just $2.50 per game and $2.50 for shoes. The next most affordable option is bowling anytime Monday – Thursday or before 4:00pm on Fridays for just $4.09 per game (shoes not included).

Sarasota Lanes – Sunday is cheapest here too. From 9:30am – 1:00pm, you pay just $1.75 per game. Shoe rental is just $2.50 for kids 10 and under, or $4.25 for ages 11 and up. After that, games on Monday, Tuesday and Friday are just $4.25 per game, but check the schedule at the link above as public bowling hours vary by day.

Bouncing & Jumping

From inflatables to trampoline parks, your kid can bounce at these two spots (instead of off your walls) for under $10.00 per visit:

Bounce Down Under – Monday through Friday pricing is the cheapest here. You’ll pay $10.00 for children 5-13, $8.00 for children 2-4, $5.00 for bouncing children 1 and under, while adults and non-bouncing children are free. They offer Toddler Time during the summer between 9:00 – 10:00am for children 0-5 years only, with normal hours for all children starting at 10:00am.

Skyzone Toddler Time – Thursdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm and Sundays from 9:00am – 11:00am, children 5 and under can enjoy Toddler Time for $9.00 per person. Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to discover the joy of being active, bouncing under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids.


Livingston’s – With over 50,000 square feet of state of the art fun, Livingston’s is the ultimate place to be entertained. Ride the Go Karts for just $9.00 each race (passengers riding with parents are free!), Bumper Cars for $7.50 per ride, play Bazooka Ball (glow-in-the-dark dodgeball) for $9.00 per person, load up your rechargeable power card with $10 and hit the Arcade, or play a round of Pool for just $3.95 per person per hour.

Saturn 5 Family Entertainment Center – Suit up for laser tag starting at $7.00 per person for 5 minutes, play 18 holes of blacklight mini golf for just $5.00 per person, run the inflatable obstacle course for $3.00 per person, or load up an Arcade Game Card with $10.00 and play away!


Brian Poole Football Camp
When: Friday, June 22, 2018 from 5:00 – 8:00pm
Cost: Free, but registration is required.

Come out and hone your skills for an evening of football skills and drills with NFL star Brian Poole. T-shirts, gift bags, dinner included. Register now before spots fill up!!

Golf Free Cheap Summer Sarasota


Evie’s Miniature Golf
Cost: $9.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors (65+), $8.00 for kids 4-12, free for kids 3 and under with a paying customer.

This beautifully landscaped par 40 course is fun and challenging for all ages and abilities. It features waterfall adventures and is handicap accessible. Last round of mini golf is a half hour before they close.

Evie’s Driving Range
Cost: $5.00 for a small bucket of 50-55 balls

This #1 public golf facility in Sarasota has 60 hitting stations, sod on 30 stations, sand bunker play available, a chipping green, a putting green, name brand golf clubs for sale and rent, Callaway equipment, tees, gloves, visors available for purchase, and is a PGA Callaway fitting location.

Evie’s Junior Golf Clinic – Year Round
When: Saturdays from 9:00am – 9:45am
Cost: Free

Taught by a staff of PGA Professionals, juniors are taught the proper fundamentals of the golf swing, including grip, stance and posture. All clubs and balls are provided for participants. Number of participants range from 20-60 juniors. For ages 5-15. Sign up not required.

The Fish Hole
Cost: $8.99 per person (Lakewood Ranch), $7.98 per person (Anna Maria Island)

The Fish Hole is a miniature golf course at 2 locations in Bradenton Beach and Lakewood Ranch. Both courses are unique with such attractions as misters to keep you cool, a 3,000 gallon pond filled with koi of all sizes and colors, and native Florida plants.

Insider Tip: Visit the website at the link above and click on coupon to get a $1.00 up to 6 people.


Many gymnastics clubs set aside open gym time during the week when kids of various ages can enjoy non-structured free time in the gym, exploring the equipment. Here are a few you might want to check out:

Evo Athletics: Toddler Open Gym – Year Round
When: Wednesdays from 11:00am – 12:00pm and Fridays from 5:45 – 6:45pm
Cost: $10 per child
Ages: Walking to 4 years old

Kids Super Gym: Summer Morning Drop-In Classes – June 6 – August 9, 2018
When: Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 – 11:50am
Cost: $10.00 per class, or purchase a punch card of 5 classes for $50 and the 6th class is free.
Ages: 18 months to 4 years old

Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics: Daytime Open Gym – Year Round
When: Wednesdays from 11:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: $7.00
Ages: 18 months to 18 years. Parents must be present in the gym with children 5 and under.

Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics: Evening Open Gym – Year Round
When: Saturdays from 6:30 – 8:30pm
Cost: $10.00 for members/$12.00 for non-members
Ages: 18 months to 18 years. Parents must be present in the gym with children 5 and under.

Insider Tip: Fill out the form on their home page to get a free pass to open gym (one coupon good per family).

South Florida Gymnastics: Open Gym – Year Round
When: Fridays from 7:00 – 9:00pm
Cost: $10.00 per person
Ages: 5-18 years

South Florida Gymnastics: Homeschool Open Gym – Year Round
When: Fridays from 1:00 – 3:00pm
Cost: $10.00 per person
Ages: 5-18 years

South Florida Gymnastics: Back Handspring Clinic – Year Round
When: Fridays from 5:00 – 6:00pm
Cost: $10.00 per person
Ages: 5-18 years

South Florida Gymnastics: Cartwheel and Handstand Clinic – Year Round
When: Fridays from 4:00 – 5:00pm
Cost: $10.00 per person
Ages: 5-18 years

YMCA Frank G. Berlin, Sr Branch: Open Gym – Year Round
When: Fridays from 5:00 – 7:00pm
Cost: $10.00 per person
Ages: 6+

Insider Tip: You don’t need to be a member of the YMCA to participate!

Beach Run Free Cheap Guide Sarasota


Kids Summer Beach Runs – June 5 – August 8, 2018
When: Tuesdays at Siesta Beach, Wednesdays at Brohard Beach
Registration begins at 5:30pm, Race starts at 6:30pm

The annual Kids’ Summer Beach Runs will return to Siesta and Brohard beaches this June. Presented by Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources, New Balance Sarasota, Sarasota Crew, Sharky’s on the Pier, and Mommy Magazine, the one-mile fun run is an opportunity for kids to participate in healthy activities over the summer.
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. near the playground at Siesta Beach and near the Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Beach. Race time for both locations is 6:30 p.m.
Kids who complete four runs receive a free T-shirt. The runs can be completed at either location. All runners receive a ribbon and a free ice pop each time they participate.


Astro Skate Family Fun Center – The cheapest option here is Dollar Skate on Sundays from 3:00 – 5:00pm. Skate rental fees are $2.00 for regular skates, $3.00 for rollerblades and $5.00 for skate trainers. After that, prices range from $5.00 – $9.99 per person plus skate rental depending on the day and time. Check their schedule for Tiny Tots, Hip Hop Skate, Tween Night, Free Pizza Night and more!

Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex – Ellenton Ice offers a public skating price of $10.00 per person, $8.00 for seniors 55+ and free for children 2 and under, with a $5.00 ice skating rental fee. Click the link to check their schedule for public session days and times.


Eternal Summer Surf Camp – July 1 – August 5, 2018
When: Fridays from 2:00 – 4:00pm
Cost: Free. Registration required.

Eternal Summer Surf Camp was founded on two promises: it will always be free and kids will never be turned away. Every Sunday for six weeks in the summer, the team reads promises from God out of the Bible and then pushes the kids into the little waves that the gulf coast of Florida provides. After nearly a decade, ESSC is now one of the largest surf camps in the world with over 2,000 kids registering every summer. You bring sunscreen and a water bottle. They provide the surfboards and instructors.


Whole Foods – 10:00am
Cost: Free

Did you know your favorite grocery store also offers a story time for your kiddos? Every Tuesday, kids aged 2 to 5 are invited to hear a story read by a team member on the store’s front patio, while you sip your coffee. Parental supervision is requested.

Learning Express Toys – 11:00am
Cost: Free

Each week a different theme is explored through the stories and some weeks include an accompanying craft. The books are recommended for children aged 1.5 to 5. Check out their calendar to see if there’s a theme your kiddo would be interested in.

Wednesdays & Saturdays

Barnes & Noble – 11:00am
Cost: Free

Join for story time followed by an activity and/or craft. To find out if your child’s favorite story is going to be featured, check out their events calendar. Or just show up and discover a new favorite story! 

Thursdays & Fridays

ROAR! Ringling Order of Art Readers – 10:30am
Cost: Free, but tickets must be picked up in the Visitor’s Pavilion the morning of the program.

Come to The Ringling this summer for ROAR! They offer two choices of books – one geared for children ages 0 to 3, the other for ages 4 to 6 – for your family to choose between. After the stories, both groups will meet up to complete an art project together in the classroom.


Goodwill Manasota Bookstores – 11:00am
Cost: Free

Goodwill is now offering a Good Reader Program! One Saturday a month at various Bookstore locations, a book ambassador will read the children a story. Afterward, each child will have the opportunity to take a book home with them. Stories are geared to kids aged 5 to 8.  Check their website to see which store is offering the program this month.

ROAR For Big Kids! – 10:30am
Cost: $2 gives one child and up to two adults access to the featured venue for the day.

This special ROAR series designed for older children, aged 5 to 7, takes place during Family Fun Saturdays at The Ringling, the first Saturday of each month. In this special series, children and their caregivers will visit a museum venue and read a story in the museum followed by an art activity. 

Various Days

Sarasota County Libraries and Manatee County Libraries
Cost: Free

We are fortunate in Sarasota and Manatee counties to have multiple libraries that are family friendly. Most of the libraries include a children’s area with bookshelves at just the right height for kids, and puzzles and toys for your family to interact with. The libraries in our area also put on a ton of events for kids during the week and on Saturdays, including story time. During family story time at the library, your children will read books, sing songs, watch puppet shows, hear from special guests and even do yoga! Check out their events calendars using the links above for specific dates and times at your local library.

UTC Summer Fun Free Cheap Sarasota

The Mall at University Town Center

UTC Summer Fun Club – June 7 – July 26, 2018
Dates: Thursdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: Free

Each week will have a different theme and will include face painting and balloon twisting, live music, children’s craft activities and character meet and greets! Dates and themes are: 

June 7 – Kick-Off to Summer with Moana

June 14 – Circus Day with the Circus Arts Conservatory

June 21 – Fun with Food

June 28 – Super Hero Day

July 5 – Stars & Stripes Celebration

July 12 – Pirate Adventures

July 19 – Magic Day

July 26 – Princess Party

Cookout Free Cheap Sarasota


Stop the Violence Cookout 3 – June 10, 2018
Cost: Free

Suncoast Bloodbank, Manasota Guardians of Love and STLR Media present the third annual Stop the Violence Cookout in Payne Park. The festivities will include free food and drinks, music, face painting, water balloon fights, flag football games, jump rope and bubble stations, free toys, school supplies and books for the kids, a dance contest, kids art making, chair massages, kids haircuts, cheerleader performances, a dove release and a moment of silence.

Pizza Making

Evie’s Tavern and Grill – June 16 – July 28, 2018
When: Saturdays from 9:30 – 11:00am
Cost: $5 per child, includes pizza and a drink
Ages: 3-10 years old

Enjoy this fun pizza-making event with your little one! They’ll roll out the dough, add the toppings, then we’ll fire it up in the kitchen. Seating is limited, so call 941-358-9861 to RSVP.

Sarasota Children’s Garden

Thrifty Thursdays – Year Round 
When: Thursdays
Cost: $8.00 for adults, $4.00 for children 3-12, free for children 0-2

Want cool savings on nature fun? Then head to Sarasota Children’s Garden on Thursdays for discounted admission. The Sarasota Children’s Garden is a world of make-believe where fairies dance, hobbits work, pirates sail the high seas and Snuffy, their resident dragon, keeps a watchful eye over the garden.  The Children’s Garden was created to remind children and adults about how precious each piece of nature is.

Read our insider’s guide to Sarasota Children’s Garden

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is home to more than 200 native and exotic animals all nestled within 10 acres of lush tropical landscaping connected by winding jungle trails. Offers cannot be combined with any other promotions or discounts. 

Father’s Day Special – June 16 and 17, 2018
Cost: Free admission for Dads and Granddads with purchase of same day full-priced admission

4th of July Special – July 2 – July 4, 2018
Cost: 1/2 off all children’s admissions
Free admission on July 4th for all active & retired military with purchase of same day full-priced admission.

Back to School Celebration – August 4 and 5, 2018
Cost: All kids get in free (up to 3) with the purchase of a full-priced adult admission

Labor Day Weekend Special – September 1 – 3, 2018
Cost: 1/2 off all children’s admissions

Know of other free or cheap summer fun activities?

Submit them to Vivian at [email protected]
{Remember, cheap activities must be $10 per person, or less. Thanks!}

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

HTML Snippets Powered By :