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Free Fun for Families in Rhode Island

Here are 10 ways to have fun with your kids in Rhode Island without spending a dime. I know there are many more great things to do than listed below. See our list of 100 Things to Do for additional ideas. Please add your own favorites in the comments below.

1. Libraries are free to visit. Many of the states libraries have wonderful children areas, special events and lovely librarians.

Ethan-Dylan-RISD-FFAS2. Explore one of the Audubon’s Wildlife refuges. Over 15 places around the state to choose from.

3. The RISD Museum of Art is free the last Saturday of the month (except December) for Free-For-All-Saturday. Kids can explore the museum, see live performances and make a project based on monthly theme.  Want to go when it is less crowded? Admission is “pay-what-you-wish” every Sunday from 10am-1pm and free to all from 5-9pm on Gallery Night (the third Thursday of each month except December).

4. Roger Williams Park Zoo is free the first Saturday of every month for Providence residents. Bring proof of residency.

5. Did you know your Roger Williams Park Zoo Membership lets you into the Museum of Science in Boston for free? Although special exhibitions like the Harry Potter Exhibit cost extra,  your Zoo membership will give you a discount on special admission tickets.

6. The Audubon Environmental Education Center in Bristol, RI is open free to the public the first Saturday of every month for Free Family Fun Day. Join in for crafts, nature stories, animal discoveries, hikes and more.

7. Take a hike. Join the monthly hike organized by Rhode Island Families in Nature. Different location every time.

8. Looking for indoor play space? You can play at any of the indoor play areas in McDonald’s or Burger King without buying food. Go in the morning when it is quiet and the kids have already had a snack.

9. Providence Children’s Museum is free on select Friday evenings throughout the year. Check the calendar for details.

10. Visit your local fire station. Depending on the station and whether the fireman are busy,  kids may get a chance to sit in the truck, hold the hose, or have a full tour of the station.

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  • Marcia, I just called the regular fire department number (not 911). The receptionist will find out where the closest station is. You give them a 2 hour time frame. Fire department needs a good heads up. The police station just needs a week. It WAS really cool.

  • We have never been to a McDonald’s with a ball pit and only been to a few with indoor play spaces. They climbing structures came in handy on cold days when the boys were preschool age. Luckily they never did ask for the food and even now are disappointed if we go through the drive through on a long car trip.

  • Jamie,
    This sounds like a dream come true for a 3 year old boy! Did you have to make any special arrangements for them to visit? My son would love to have a fire truck visit on his birthday.

  • Just wanted to add this since you mentioned the fire station. For my son’s 3rd birthday, I called the fire station, the police station and an ambulance company. All came to the party for free and gave out hats and badges! They stayed a long time and even got the hose going! Super fun!