Summer's here (yay!), and though you may plan to spend maximum lazy-time outdoors with your kiddos, if you're a stay-at-home-parent like me or if you just want to mix up your after-work family time a bit, you may be in search of destinations and activities. Today I'll share some of the most pocketbook-friendly things I plan to do with my daughter, Petra this summer. In exchange, I expect you to fill me in on anything I've missed and should add into my calendar. Deal? (I can't see you but assume you are agreeing to the terms.)
Free high-calibre live music, you say? Yes, please. Take in a fabulous array of performers on the big stage at the PotashCorp Club Jazz Free Stage as well as at seven other venues. The Yoga Jam with Ryan Leier and Michael Franti at the Bes will be huge and I'll be catching all sorts of acts all week long like my girl Tatrina Tai who performs several times and Delhi 2 Dublin which I know Petra will adore. Running now until Sunday, July 2... so get down there!
Library programming is more than just storytime (though that's fun, too). Check out their line-up of attractions like Imagination Camps, the Performers on Parade series which features free concerts for kids, Lego builds, dance parties, puppet shows, movie nights, and more.
July 1-Aug 31, your under-15 kiddo can bowl two free games every day at any one of the participating bowling centres. Signing up is a no-brainer.
Fantastic for every age, SUM's FREE Outdoor Theatre brings the magic of professional theatre to a park near you. You can even go an hour before showtime to do a free craft with Children's Discovery Museum! Plays begin July 3, so check out their schedule and find a day and time that works for you.
Playground leaders will guide your little one through fun summer programming. Supervision is required for kids under 6 years so go enjoy the day with your little, or if you've got older ones, bring a book and relax nearby. Click the title for the interactive play map, or here for more info on what each program entails.
Skate parks throughout Saskatoon are home to free skateboarding programming, with dates and times in the above link. Or, if the idea of playground programming doesn't appeal to your youngster, maybe a change of scenery for self-guided fun will. There are so many great structures in town to climb and explore (downtown highlights include the zipline at PotashCorp Playland and the splash pad at River Landing), so go for a long bike ride or take a mini road trip to explore.
When it's a rainy day and you don't want to be stuck at home, there is nothing better than letting the kids stretch their legs and learn at the same time, which is exactly what the WDM offers. And with traveling exhibits and classics like the train displays and fun house, it's never a bore. A family pass is $70 for a year but when you consider one adult admission is $10 and a child over 6 is $4 every time you go, it pays for itself in only three visits. Or, if your kids are under 6, opt for the Adult Duo membership that allows you and any other adult in free anytime, with no charge for kids 5 and under. p.s. Make sure to stop by on the weekend for a wagon ride!
Another one-time-spend suggestion, the Zoo membership is $80 and pays for itself in only a few visits to the Saskatoon Forestry Farm since adult admission is $12.75 and kids over 6 are $7.25. You also get a reduced annual parking rate, discounts on site, and early access to the amazing camps offered at the zoo. (Both this membership and the WDM make fantastic gifts if you've got a birthday in the summer so put it on your list!)
Back to the 100% free stuff, Kids In The Park is an all-ages drop-in program with no registration required run by Saskatoon Youth Soccer Centre Inc. that aims to bring the love of soccer to all kiddos!
Make art, no charge, at SCYAP. With both youth programming and all-ages family times, there's something for everyone and all materials are supplied. Check out their site for days and times.
Get To A Beach
Pack a little picnic and go to Cranberry Flats, Pike Lake, or just the riverbank to dip your toes in the water and let the kids play in the sand. We've got enough sunny days to make sure these trips aren't few and far between.
Whether you want to walk some trails or plan a weiner roast by the river, let the Meewasin map guide you easily to the perfect destination.
University Field Trips
Travel back to the prehistoric age and romp with dinosaurs at the Natural Sciences building, learn about the Rosetta Stone during a visit to the Museum of Antiquities, or star gaze at the Observatory on a Saturday night. But my childhood favourite was the Little Stone Schoolhouse! Make sure to plan an outing there as it's open July 1st-8th and August 5th-11th.
When I was a child, I was obsessed with the Beaver Creek interpretive centre: matching tracks, feeling pelts, and crawling into a lodge. Now, I love it for the beautiful trails and frequent beaver sightings (hence the name!). Take sunblock and bug spray, but do go.
Go cheer on the dragon boats with the crowd as the long boats race down the river in support of Ronald McDonald House July 21st & 22nd.
No cost play areas include Market Mall and Lawson Heights Mall's kid zones, but more options can be found by clicking above.
Kicking off the exhibition every year is a parade through downtown and though I can't list the Ex as "inexpensive", this component of the fun is totally free. This year, it falls on August 8.
Be entertained by street performers, buy some inexpensive snacks, and just get out and enjoy Saskatoon with the Fringe Festival, running August 3-12 all along Broadway Ave. And during the festival, try to take in a show which is what the Fringe is all about: tickets for Kidsfringe shows are about $15 each.
Go learn about Saskatchewan's rich heritage of Indigenous peoples plus witness cultural demonstrations like powwow dancing during a special week at Wanuskewin. This is an important one so mark it in your calendar: admission is free the week of August 21st and special celebrations will be taking place the 23rd & 24th.
Free tours of the CLS, the bright lights of which advance science on an international level, take place Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 2:30. Advance booking is required and alternate times are available for groups of five or more.
End your summer with a bang (I know, I know, definitely not the first one to use that) with a fireworks festival that will knock your socks off. Come early and enjoy the entertainment at the River Landing amphitheatre and be sure to take advantage of the bike valet service so you don't have to think about gridlock later on. Sept 1st & 2nd.