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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Fun - Free Activities We've found!

While our family is vacationing in Iowa, we're attempting to find a variety of free activities to do with Mina.  So while we'll be back to crafting and cooking when we return to Canada, I'd like to share some of the fun free vacation things we've done.  And although we do love to save money, the reason for doing free activities this summer is a little different than usual: we never know when Mina will be scared of something or throw a tantrum, and we don't want to waste money on activities that we'll have to haul her out of!

So, we've taken her on a nature walk and animal watching excursion at a local marsh (Nahant Marsh).  It was a free and a wonderful thing to do on a nice day.  The highlights for Mina were standing on a floating dock and persuading a Blue Skipper Butterfly to land on her hand.

The next set of free attractions we visited were Iowa Hall, the natural history museum at the University of Iowa, and the Old Capital Museum, the first state capital of Iowa.  At Christmas, Mina adored Iowa Hall, especially the recreation of an Ice Age Sloth, Rusty.  This time, Rusty was the only thing she would look at at all.  Thank goodness it was free.  But it is a lovely museum, and I am sure your child won't be scared of a natural history museum.  Right?

But after the Iowa Hall fiasco, Mina decided she wanted to visit the Old Capital Museum (also on campus and also free).  So we indulged her, and to our shock, she loved it!  I don't know if it was that we were the only people in the museum, or the lovely historic furniture, but it was a hit.  It really salvaged our museum experience for the day, and we were able to continue to lunch on a high note.

Last weekend, we also took Mina to see Ballet Quad Cities: Ballet Under the Stars at Lincoln Park in Rock Island.  Free ballet was too good to pass up for a little girl who loves to dance.  She was entranced from the minute the dancers came onto the stage, and could only compare it to seeing ballet on Sesame Street.  If you're in the Quad Cities Area, check it out next spring, as it is an amazing opportunity to take a child to.  The rest of the summer they will do Shakespeare and classical Greek plays on the stage (also free!), so check that out with or without your children. 

There is just so much to do in the summer for no cost, and this is just a sampling of the things we've done.  We already have plans for some free outdoor concerts this weekend, too.  Thankfully the weather is warming up, it's feeling like summer, and there are still plenty of things to keep Mina busy! What free things have you found to do with your family this summer?

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