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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

Free Things To Do with Kids this Summer in RVA

Updated: Apr 17

Summer is coming... and it doesn't have to be expensive! While most Richmond area museums and attractions have an admission cost, I've rounded-up all the best places to visit this summer with your family for free around central Virginia.

I've pulled together 70+ Richmond area places, activities, parks and classes that are open to the public for free. There is absolutely no cost - parking is free, kids are free, and grown-ups are free!

*Follow @thewestendmom on Instagram and TikTok for things to do with kids in Richmond and around Virginia!

The best free things to do with kids in Richmond, Virginia this summer:

*Free Indoor Places in Richmond for Kids

1. Bass Pro Shops: Located in Ashland, Bass Pro Shop is a fishing, hunting & outdoor store. We love to visit it because the entire store is themed for the outdoors: there a giant tree, a massive aquarium, a stream, pretend animals & an old fashion store. They have fish feedings at noon on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Hours: Monday-Saturday from 9am-9pm, Sunday from 10am-7pm

2. Cabelas: Located in Short Pump by Wegman's, Cabelas is a fishing, hunting & outdoor store - owned by Bass Pro. We love to visit it because the entire store is themed for the outdoors: a massive aquarium, pretend animals, boats, and ATVs. They have fish feedings at noon on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Hours: Monday-Saturday from 9am-9pm, Sunday from 10am-7pm

3. Chesterfield County Libraries: With 10 different locations around Chesterfield, Virginia, you and your family could hop around to each library for a free, indoor space to play. Each library location also offers free story time classes and programs for children. You can even check out toys!

4. Henrico County Libraries: With 11 library locations around Henrico County, your family can enjoy story time and other free programing at each one. We especially like story time and the outdoor space at Libbie Mill Library, the baby-and-parent work center & light board at Fairfield Library, and the play space and outdoor area of Tuckahoe Library.

5. Main Street Station: This historic train station is a must visit for little ones & big kids. While it opened in 1901, Main Street Station got a major expansion in 2017 & now Virginia's official Welcome Center is on the first floor! It’s free to visit 7 days a week & this is one of our favorite indoor adventures in the city.   

Hours: It’s open 7 days a week from 6:30 to 8pm on weekdays & 8am-8:30 pm on weekends. Passenger trains arrive at 6:35AM, 10:05AM, 6 pm & 6:57pm on weekdays + 9:34, 9:42, 6pm & 7:40Pm on weekends.

6. Pamunkey Regional Library: With locations in Goochland, King & Queen, Hanover, and King William, you can visit for story time and other programs. You can also check out "Nature Backpacks" for two weeks at any library. These backpacks have a parking pass for FREE parking/entrance to all Virginia State Parks!

7. Petco or other pet stores: If it's been really hot or we have a bunch of rain, I take my children to the local pet store to get out of the house and watch the fish and other animals. It buys me at least 30 minutes to an hour of activity. We especially like the pet store behind Short Pump Town Center (you can add that on to Pal's Clubhouse), and the fish store inside Regency Mall.

8. Regency Mall: This indoor mall in Henrico County is an easy space to walk around with infants, new walkers & children. It’s currently undergoing a massive renovation, but it's still a family friendly spot to escape the weather. Regency has a Virginia #LOVEworks sign, a fish pet store, and lots of room to get wiggles out. Since becoming a mama, this has been one of my go to spots when we need to get out of the house but can’t explore outside.  

You will find Surge Adventure Park and Play RVA, ride on trains and play area, inside, too.

Hours: Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm, Sunday from noon-6pm

9. Short Pump Mall's Pal's Clubhouse: This local open-air mall has multiple spaces to play & explore with kids. The best place to play inside at the mall is Pal’s Clubhouse. This indoor play spot is designed for children 42” and smaller. It has a pretend village, two climbing features & soft flooring. Short Pump Pals Clubhouse is closed during Santa's visit (November-December) and The Easter Bunny's visit (April).

You can walk under cover the entire walk to Chick-fil-A on the first floor. We also enjoy eating at Bakers Crust and Rock Bottom - they are very causal & are easy with kids.

Hours: Monday-Friday from 11am-8pm, Saturday from 10am-8pm, Sunday from 11am-6pm

10. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Located in the Museum District, this museum is open 365 days a year from 10am-5pm on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and from 10am-9pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Only rotating exhibits need a ticket.

11. Virginia Discovery Museum: Located in Charlottesville, Virginia Discovery Museum is a 6,000 square foot, indoor play space designed for kiddos 0-8 years old. With 15 hands-on educational play areas, children & their grownup can explore aviation, gravity, sound & music + more. Our favorite exhibits are the Showalter Cabin, Automoblox, and Little Cville’s cafe, post office & farm!

Want to avoid paying $10 per person to play? Visit on the first Wednesday of each month for *Wegman Wednesday.* All guests can enter for *pay what you wish* admission, including entering for free. They even validate parking, so your trip can be completely free other than gas/mileage!

Upcoming Wegman's Wednesdays: June 7, July 5, August 2, and September 6

*Free Classes and Programs in RVA for Children

1. Ashland Theater's Toddler Take Over: This historic Ashland theater hosts a monthly free event for children and their parents. During the hour long event, various child-appropriate clips and sing-a-longs are played on the screen - clips like Elsa's "Let it Go," the cast of Encanto's "We Don't Talk About Bruno," a scene from Bluey or The Kiboomer's singing about St. Patrick's Day. Children are able to sit in their own seats, a parent's lap or move around the theater. It's really interactive, noisy and fun!

Ages: This event is best for children ages 0-6 years old and their grownup.

Event Times: This event is usually the second Saturday of each month from 10AM-11AM. Summer programs are on June 10, July 8, and August 12.

2. Deep Run Park's Story Tots & Tunes: Located in Henrico's West End, this local recreation center hosts a free storytime on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. This movement and story time is for children ages 2-5 and younger and their grownup. Classes meet inside the rec center from 10-10:45.

Classes meet over the summer on: June 13 & June 27, July 11 & July 25, and August 8 & August 29

3. Home Depot's Kids Workshops: These free kids workshops take place on the first Saturday of each month in all Home Depot locations around Richmond, Virginia. Each workshop has a themed project. All materials, directions and tools are provided by Home Depot, and staff members help families with their project. I love that these are drop-in style workshops - you don’t need a reservation, you can just show up!

Ages: This class is for children of all ages. Children use real tools, so if you have a younger child, parents will need to be more involved.

Class Times: Workshops are on first Saturday of each month from 9am-noon. Depending on your family, this could be a 30 minute to an hour activity.

4. Lowe's Kids Workshops: All Lowe's locations offer a free DIY kids' workshop similar to Home Depot's program. Each month, children get to build a new project, and it's all free! These projects are designed for children 4 and older, but if you've got a younger child, just know you will need to help out a little more.

Registration is required. Lowe's allows walk-ups after 1pm, if there are any remaining kits left.

Ages: This class is for children of all ages. Children use real tools, so if you have a younger child, parents will need to be more involved.

Class Times: Workshops are on first Saturday of each month from 10am-1pm: 10-11am, 11-noon, noon-1pm. Depending on your crew, this could be a 30 minute to an hour activity.

Here are some of the upcoming, free projects for children in Richmond:

  • June 10, 2023 - Lawn Mower Photo Holder

  • July 15, 2023 - Tic-Tac-Toe Grill Game

  • August 12, 2023 - Rolling Toy Pick-Up Truck

5. The Bunny Hive's Books & Bubbles: This social club is for children 4 & younger and their grownups in Richmond, Virginia. The Bunny Hive is specifically designed for families with little kids, and it immediately connects you to other families who are in a similar stage of life. With over 7 different class options, there are plenty of options for experimental learning & playtime!

While classes usually cost $25 per family, Books and Bubbles is a free class each week. It is open to all families - you just need to register in advance.

Ages: This class is for children 0-5 years old and their grown-up.

Class Times: Classes meet each Friday from 3:30-4pm.

6. Virginia State Park's programing: At our Virginia State Parks, the rangers host a variety of free, family friendly programs. Pocahontas State Park, Bear Creek Lake State Park, High Bridge State Park, York River State Park, and Powhatan State Park are less than an hour and half from the Richmond metro area. Each one offers a different educational class - check the Virginia State Park's website for details. The best part of these classes? Attending one of the park's educational programs will get you FREE parking. Make sure to let the ranger at the entrance know you are visiting for that specific program.

Pocahontas State Park offers Caterpillar Club programs (ages 3-5) every Thursday at 10am.

*While all state parks cost between $7-10 to visit (this cost covers parking), there are multiple ways to visit for FREE. If you've visited REI recently, save your receipt. There's a free parking pass for any VA State Park at the bottom. If you homeschool your kiddos, make sure you bring your HEAV or HSLDA membership card - you get free parking, too!

If you visit on a Fee Free Day, all entrance fees are covered. The 2023 Fee Free Days are: April 22 (the first day of National Park Week), August 4 (Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act), September 23 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).

7. Wee Praise: Second Baptist Church has been hosting Wee Praise for 15 years! These FREE music & movement classes are offered for our littlest friends - babies to 4 years old. Each class is open for the community - you don’t need to be a church member. Children & their grownups sing songs, move to music & play instruments. This class is drop in style, so you do not need to sign up in advance.

Ages: This class is for children 0-4 years old and their grown-up.

Class Times: Classes meet each Wednesday at 10am & 6:15pm during the summer. Over the summer, Wee Praise is on a "summer schedule." Classes meet on May 31, June 7, June 14, July 5, July 12, and July 19. Classes are not scheduled for August 2023.

*Free Outdoor Places in Richmond, Virginia

1. Brown's Island: Spanning 6 acres, this riverfront park is the perfect spot to picnic, runaround, or stroll. The trail around the park connects to the Canal Walk, and you can access the Potterfield Bridge too.

2. Belle Isle: A part of the James River Park System, the Belle Isle Trails are relatively easy hiking paths with scenic views and river access. These trails total 1.5 miles around Belle Isle & are perfect for strollers, bikes and scooters. One of the popular ways to access this trail is by crossing the pedestrian suspension bridge under the Lee Bridge. The bridge offers gorgeous views of the city, the railway & the river. There’s even a dirt bike park once you cross the bridge!

3. Bruster's Ice Cream on Robious and on Hull Street: These two ice cream locations have an outdoor play area. If you child is under 40," (s)he can get a free ice cream, and you can enjoy the play space for free. Make sure you request a "baby cup" to get the deal.

4. Cross Creek Nursery: This Midlothian nursery has been serving the community for 46 years. On its 24 acres, @rvacrosscreeknursery has a greenhouse, growing farm, outdoor plants & landscapes areas to explore. We love the goats, bridges, slide & garden house! 

5. Hanover Vegetable Farm: This farm is located in Ashland, just minutes from Glen Allen. It’s a family owned farm - the Sears family have owned & lived on the property for four generations. The farmhouse was built in 1902! We like @hanovervegetablefarm because it’s open all year with a market, trucks & animals. They also host special events like Farm to Table Music Fest and The Shrimp & BBQ Festival.  

6. Local Schools: Since school is out for the summer, visit your local school's playground, football field or track for exercise and fun. We particularly like riding our bikes and scooters on bus ramps (all schools) and on the blacktop by the playgrounds (elementary schools).

7. Short Pump Mall: This local open-air mall has multiple spaces to play & explore with kids and hosts a bunch of family friendly events, like their summer concert series! We also enjoy eating at Baker's Crust, Rock Bottom and Firebirds - they are very causal, have outside dining options & are easy with kids.

8. Stony Point Fashion Center: This open air mall has plenty of space to run, stroll or let the kids play. There are large areas of turf that have giant games like connect four, a splash park and a small play area.

9. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Opening in 1936, this art museum is free for the public to visit. Only special exhibits and classes require an admission cost. We enjoy exploring the exhibits near the children's art classrooms - these are interactive.

The Best Cafe is open 10-4:30 daily & until 8:30 on Wednesday-Friday. This is an easy spot to grab food with children & the pizza slices are big enough for littles to share.

Hours: Every day from 10am-5pm, extended hours on Thursday and Friday night until 9pm

10. Willow Lawn's play area: This play spot & outdoor seating area is located at Willow Lawn, Richmond's first shopping center. The outdoor plaza has a stage, a train themed play area for littles ages 0-5, porch swings, picnic tables & a decorative water feature. We like this play spot because it’s easy to get to, it’s free & it has lots of food options around it.

11. Virginia State Parks: While all state parks cost between $7-10 to visit (this cost covers parking), there are multiple ways to visit for FREE. The easiest way is to visit your local library and check out a Nature Backpack. You can check out a Nature Backpack for 2 weeks, and it will provide you with everything your family needs to visit a local park! To learn more about the partnership between Virginia's libraries and the state parks, visit this website.

This will also provide you with two opportunities for a free activity: one library visit and (at least) one park visit! Win win!

*Free & Fantastic Parks and Playgrounds in RVA

1. Crump Meadow Farm and Park: Crump Park has a massive playground, picnic shelters, trails, large open fields, a fishing pond, and historic Meadow Farm. Meadow Farm is an 1860 living history farm site & museum, plus it has animals, too! As a bonus, RF&P Park is located inside Crump.   

2. Chimborazo Park: Stretching ~30 acres, Chimborazo Park has gorgeous views of the city and one of the most unique statues in Richmond — a miniature Statue of Liberty!! While there are plenty of trails and green space in the park, the highlight for families with little kids is the playground. It’s about a block from the park, and it’s easy to walk to and from both areas. Renovated in 2009, the playground has a community garden, basketball courts & a play space with swings and a playground.

3. Dodd Park: Located on the banks of the Appomattox River, this 176 acre park has a lot of space to explore. The upper area of Dodd Park has athletic fields, picnic areas, a large play area with 2 play structures, swings & exercise equipment. The lower area has a play space, 2.7 miles of trails & a *floating boardwalk* over tidal marsh

4. Hunton Community Center & Park: Located off Old Washington Highway, this #Henrico park has a community center, athletic fields, a picnic shelter & two playgrounds. We like this park because the parking lot is right next to the playgrounds, making it a really easy walk with children, and it is next to the *railroad tracks*!! If you check out Amtrak's "Track my Train," you can time your park play around the train schedule!

5. Jefferson Hill Park: This City of Richmond park has complete views of the River City, including Main Street Station & the incoming trains! It has a large play area with swings, a water feature, and paved walking trails with exercise equipment. Jefferson Park has plenty of green space for running around after toddlers, family picnics + watching sunsets.

6. Mary Munford Elementary School's playground: This is one of our favorite playgrounds because there are so many play spaces. It has two playgrounds, a climbing playset & lots of swings. There’s a giant picnic shelter, tennis courts, basketball courts, a large athletic field + exercise equipment.

7. Mount Vernon Baptist Church: This church & preschool is located in Glen Allen off Nuckols Road. The playground is large with three different fenced in areas: one for babies & walkers, one for preschoolers and one for elementary schoolers. There’s also a large grassy space to play. We have so much fun here!  

8. Osborne Landing Park: Located in Varina, We like Osborne Landing Park because it is located by the James River! The park has a boat slip, canoe launch & fishing pier - a plus for us. It also has a fenced in playground, two picnic shelters & a paved trail from the playground to the river. My littles love the water themed playground too!

*Check here for my review and check here for easy dining & play options.

9. Park 365: Formerly known as ArcPark, Park 365 is free play area that is open to all ages & all abilities. You can visit this popular park every day from drawn to dusk. This is a great spot to make friends - we always meet the nicest people here.

10. Robious Landing Park: Located in Chesterfield, this park spans 102 acres on the James River. The 3.4 miles of trails have views of the river & forest. It has ramps for boating & docks for fishing, including a floating dock. Robious Landing Park also has a small playground, picnic tables & 3 picnic shelters.

11. St. Christopher's playground: This playground is massive, with so many climbing areas, a soft flooring, two story play set, a soccer field + more. It’s located off Pepper Avenue & parking is directly in front of the playground. If this playground is too crowded, there’s a smaller one on the other side of the school.

12. Springfield Park and Springfield Elementary School: This Henrico park is located next to Springfield Park Elementary School. Since it’s a neighborhood park, it’s smaller than other parks but it’s perfect when you need a play space in the shade, one without a crowd or if you have younger kids. It also has bathrooms, a picnic shelter, a playground + tot lot and a paved walking trail that connects to Springfield Park Elementary School.

13. Tuckahoe Creek Park: Located in Henrico's West End, Located at the end of Ridgefield Parkway, Tuckahoe Creek Park’s boardwalk is a hidden gem! It has beautiful views of the creek with benches & a picnic shelter. Eventually, this boardwalk will be a trail of boardwalks that wind through the floodplain wetlands. Currently, only “Phase I” of the project is completed: a bridge from Ridgefield Parkway to Old Coach Lane. It’s perfect for children to walk, watch for wildlife & see the wetlands. It’s also incredibly peaceful!

This boardwalk is free to visit, and you can fish from the dock.

*Animals around the boardwalk: turtles & tadpoles, frogs, fish, blue herons, river otters

*Free Places to See Things That Go in RVA

1. RF&P Park: This athletic park is located next to Crump Park. There are trails, tennis courts, a football field, and baseball fields, including The Glen Allen Stadium. There’s lots of parking, side walks + places to run around. Most importantly, there are four restored RF&P train cars, perfect for train lovers!⁣⁣⁣

2. Staples Mill Train Station: Located in Henrico County, this station is the busiest @amtrak station in the Southeast! Our favorite thing about this station is the visibility of the trains from outside! You can watch next to the fence or in your car on rainy days.  

3. The Fire Trucks at your Local Station: We had so much fun visiting the fire station last week. During our 30 minute tour, we got to see the gym, the kitchen, and the fire trucks! Our four under four crew *loved* meeting the firefighters & sitting in the trucks. Thank you to Henrico Fire Station 13 for all you do & thank you so much for a fun + educational visit!

4. The Trains in Ashland: Located less than 30 minutes from Richmond, Ashland provides a quaint atmosphere with lots for families to see & explore. The highlight for little ones is the trains! With the tracks going right through town, you are guaranteed to see one! Over 60 trains come through the town in 24 hours & there is usually at least one per an hour. ⁣     

5. The airplanes at Chesterfield County Airport: Located at Chesterfield County Airport, REA provides aeronautical services, aircraft storage & rentals as well as flight instruction. If your children aren’t ready to participate in their flight school, they can still meet pilots & see airplanes up close. On our *free* tour of the airplane hanger, we were able to walk across the runway, visit the airplane hangar, watch mechanics work on small aircraft & meet pilots. The highlight of our visit was sitting in a 2007 Diamond D 40 aircraft & chatting with Maggie & Nick, our pilots & tour guides.  

6. The airplanes at Hanover County Airport: We love things that go, so we were thrilled to find another local airport to see planes & helicopters! Located in Ashland, this airport is under 30 minutes from Richmond. There are over 100 aircraft vehicles based at this airport, and there are about 80 aircraft operations a day! Most of the aircraft vehicles are parked outside, so you can see them at any time during the day.

7. The airplanes at Richmond International Airport: Richmond International Airport: My children love things that go, and we used to go to @richmondairport on rainy days to watch the planes. But with indoor viewing out of the question, I got creative. We found two spots at the airport that are social distancing friendly, outside, and easy to access. We saw 6 airplanes take off, and we watched a private jet load and take off, plus lots of airport busyness!   

*For more things that go, check out my guide Trucks, Trains, Ships & Planes around Richmond.

*Free Sand Play for Kids in Richmond, Virginia

1. Glover Park: Henrico’s newest park is located in Glen Allen covers 200 acres. It has turf fields, volleyball courts, restrooms, lots of parking, and a paved path around the park. It’s perfect for running around, playing in the sand or watching games. A running trail, a playground and more fields will be added soon! ⁣⁣⁣⁣

2. Huguenot Park: This 53 acre park has an all-inclusive playground, picnic shelters, athletic fields & basketball courts, and stroller friendly trails! Our favorite feature of this park is the large sand play area in the fenced playground. My littles love playing here with the trucks, shovels & other sand toys. This park is very popular, so it’s easy to make friends too!

3. Twin Hickory Park: Located next to Twin Hickory Public Library and close to Deep Run High School, this park has a lot to offer! It has walking trails, open play areas, 4 sand volleyball courts, a splash pad, a picnic shelter with restrooms, and two different play areas. It opened in July of 2014, so it is also relatively new.  

*Free Water Play for Kids in Richmond, Virginia

1. Dorey Park: Henrico County's newest splash park is set to open with the rest of the splash parks on May 20, weather depending. The splash park is located in the very front of the park next to Dorey Park Recreation Center, so park in the first lot. This splash park is almost completely fenced in, but there isn't a gate. It has large nature-themed spray structures around the perimeter, and smaller spouts in the middle. Just outside the gate is a a covered picnic shelter.

2. Dunncroft Castle Point Park: Located in Glen Allen, this is my children's favorite splash park because it has so many unique water features. There's a frog structure to run through, a spinning water spout and lots of lower pressure spouts (perfect for our smallest friends). The splash park is completely fenced in and separate from the playground. The playground is great for children 0-5 because of the soft flooring and the ramps (full sun). A lot of visitors do bring lawn chairs to set up inside the fenced area.

3. Eastern Henrico Recreation Center: Located in Henrico's East End, the splash park has so many fun water features! Almost the entire ground has something to run through or splash in. I really like that this splash park has a fence around it too (no gate). While the water area has full sun, there are some shaded areas throughout the day due to the sun's location.

4. Short Pump Park: Located in Short Pump, this splash park has multiple water spouts, and a little pool even forms near them. My kids love running through the fountains or laying in the shallow pools. These water spouts do have a strong force, so it can be a little intimidating for smaller kids. By the splash park, there are a couple picnic tables in partial shade, and there are benches in full sun. The bathrooms and picnic shelter are pretty close by - it's just a couple of steps.

5. Stony Point Fashion Park: Located in the City of Richmond close to Bon Air and the near West End, this open air mall has a water feature next to the children's play area that's open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I really love all the seating around the water feature, and the extra play space that's close by too! While the rules say it's for children 42" and smaller, I've never seen anyone asked to leave who was following all of the other rules (aka not acting too wild or wearing adult swimwear). The bathrooms are not that close to the play area, so we usually change in our car or make the long walk.

6. Twin Hickory Park: Located in Henrico's West End, this splash park is a lot of fun because of the unique water features like a turtle and a frog that shoot water and a giant tree! I also love how the playground, picnic tables and splash park are all close together & there is a fence around most of the play area (no gate though). This makes it easy with multiple children: one can play on the playground or the splash park while you push your baby in the swing (all areas are viewable!). This splash pad has a ledge around part of the splash park that is perfect for seating, and there are picnic tables under a sun shade too.

*For more information about RVA's splash parks, check out 2023 Guide to RVA's Splash Parks.


While the Richmond metro area doesn't have a free, public pool, residents of Henrico County have free access to the Frank J. Thorton Aquatic Center.

Frank J. Thorton Aquatic Center: A part of the Richmond YMCA, this aquatic center offers Henrico residents a free swim period on Saturdays and Sundays between 2:30 and 4:30pm. While the aquatic center has a pool for lap swimming, the real highlight for families and children is the play pool. This pool has a zero-entry area with jets spraying water up and a water playground in the shallow area (this section of the pool is 1'6" deep). Another section of the pool has an area with a basketball hoop and water slide.

Heads up: In order to use the water slide, you must pass the YMCA swim test or be 12 years old or older.

If you are a Henrico resident and you'd like to visit the pool with your family, you need to create a free, non member YMCA account, and sign up for the day you'd like to swim. To create your YMCA account, click here. You will need to make a "non member" account, and this is a free account. It's the same account you would make if you've signed your children up to play any of the YMCA sports.

Address: 5011 Twin Hickory Road, Glen Allen, Virginia 23509

Area of RVA: Eastern Henrico, next to the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center

*Free Bike and Stroller Trails in RVA:

1. Belle Isle trails: A part of the James River Park System, the Belle Isle Trails are relatively easy hiking paths with scenic views and river access. These trails total 1.5 miles around Belle Isle & are perfect for strollers, bikes and scooters. One of the popular ways to access this trail is by crossing the pedestrian suspension bridge under the Lee Bridge. The bridge offers gorgeous views of the city, the railway & the river. There’s even a dirt bike park once you cross the bridge!

2. Osborne Landing Park: Located in Varina, this Henrico park has a playground, stroller-friendly trails, a boat slip, canoe launch & fishing pier. It also has a fenced in playground, two picnic shelters & a paved trail from the playground to the river. My littles love the water themed playground too!

*For more free, bike trails to try with children, check out 7 Bike Trails for Kids around Richmond.

*Free Events in RVA this Summer:

1. Henrico Parks and Recreation's Red, White and Lights 2024: This Fourth of July celebration takes place at Crump Park between 4pm and 10pm on July 4, 2024. The event will have live music, food trucks, and a kids zone. The Richmond Symphony will be preforming and there will be a laser show finale.

2. Short Pump Town Center's Summer Concert Series: Short Pump Mall is hosting free summer concerts on Thursday nights. These are very family friendly because you can walk around the mall, grab something to eat, and the kids can move around while adults listen to music.

3. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: This free garden is incredibly peaceful, and there is plenty of space for kids to run around after a stroll. The VMFA is also free to visit, so you can view the indoor galleries or attend family-friendly events on Wednesday & Friday evenings.

If you visit on Wednesdays between 6pm-8pm, you can enjoy the Jazz Cafe, too. This is a free, indoor concert series.

4. Westchester Commons Concert Series: The 8th annual summer concert series is back this year on June 1, June 15, June 29, July 13, July 27, August 10, August 24, September 7, September 21, and October 5 from 5:30pm-8:30pm. This is a free series and you’re allowed to bring your own food and chairs. They will also have food and soda on sale from local vendors.

*Free Farmer's Markets in RVA

1. Bryan Park's RVA Big Market is from 8am to noon on Saturdays at Bryan Park. This year-round farmers market is one of the biggest outdoor markets around RVA! RVA Big Market has live music, lots of food trucks (don’t miss @firststopdonuts ), and plenty of produce. They also have fresh cut flowers, baked goods & handmade gifts by local artisans. It’s such an easy Saturday outing - grab breakfast as a family, pick up fresh produce & play at the park.

2. Dorey Park's Farmers Market is from 8am to noon on Saturdays at Dorey Park.

3. South of the James Farmer's Market meets at Forest Hill Park from 8am to noon on Saturdays.

4. St. Stephen's Farmers Market meets in the parking lot of St. Stephen's church on Saturdays from 8am-noon (May-September) and from 9am-noon (October-April).

*Check here for my review of St. Stephen's playground.

5. Huguenot-Robious farmer's market meets on Thursdays from 10am-2pm at The Great Big Greenhouse. If there is bad weather, they will be inside instead of in the parking lot.

Heads up: This greenhouse does not have a changing station in the bathroom. I typically use my stroller & to-go changing station.

Hours: Monday-Saturday from 9am-7pm, Sunday from 9am-6pm

*Free Farms to Visit in RVA:

1. Maymont: With 100 acres and 400 animals, Maymont is the perfect spot to explore with children. The Children's Farm is free to visit, and you can see animals and feed them (quarters or tokens required). There is also an outdoor play space, stroller friendly trails, and manicured gardens.

*Maymont is also on my list of favorite stroller friendly places. Click here for the entire list.

2. Meadow Farm at Crump Park: Crump Park has a massive playground, picnic shelters, trails, large open fields, a fishing pond, and historic Meadow Farm. Meadow Farm is an 1860 living history farm site & museum, plus it has animals, too! As a bonus, RF&P Park is located inside Crump. No reservations or signups are required to visit.

We spend the majority of our time at Meadow Farm looking at the animals, running down the hill & having picnics. Both my umbrella stroller and everyday stroller have worked at Meadow Farm.

*Animals on the Farm: sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens

*While Meadow Farm does not have a lot of shade, the walking trails and playground at Crump Park are on my list of places to play in the summer. Click here for the entire roundup.

3. Shoofly Farm: Located in Chester, this family-owned farm offers *free* farm tours. They also operate without reservations, so you can just drop in while they are open to visit with the animals. During a self guided tour, you can meet pigs, goats, bunnies, miniature horses and more. You can also purchase a pony ride or hayride. In addition to farm experiences, Shoofly Farm offers private tours, horse boarding & birthday parties, and they host special events.

Shoofly Farm is open to the public for free every Saturday. From April through May, the hours are 10am to 2pm, and in June through September, the hours are 9am to 2pm. You can bring your own picnic or purchase food from an on-site food truck.

You can purchase a pony ride, unicorn ride or a hayride. Children 2 and under get to ride the hayride for free. All proceeds from horse and hayrides go to support and care for the animals at Shoofly Farm!

*Looking for more places to see animals? Check out my guide The Best Places to See Animals in Richmond, VA.

Did your favorite, free place or activity make my list? If not, send me an email at so I can check it out!

For more details on these getaway spots and more Richmond adventures, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!


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