2017 Free and Cheap Indoor Summer Fun in Huntsville and North Alabama

At some time during the summer, there will be a day (or many) when it’s rainy or just too hot to be outside. When that happens, here are several great INDOOR options for summer fun and many are free (or cheap) with special passes and programs just for the summer!

For even more FREE family-fun this summer, check out our 2017 Summer Fun Guide. Filled with information on free outdoor concerts, free summer movies, free and cheap outdoor children’s activities, free summer movies, pools and splashpads, and so much more! Your children will not be bored this summer! 

Bowl for Free

bowlingforkidssakePlamore Lanes is once again offering their “Kids Bowl Free” summer program for children ages 15 and under. Sign up your child to receive two free games all summer long.

AMF Pin Palace Lanes also offers a summer pass for $25.95 that entitles kids 15 and under to 3 free games of bowling per day all summer (May 22 – September 4). Adults and kids ages 16+ can also purchase passes for $33.95. Shoes are included. Register here.

Free (or Cheap) Kids’ Workshops

  • Jr. Chef Classes – These free classes offered at Williams Sonoma are a wonderful way for your school age child to be introduced to the joys of cooking! These tend to fill up fast so don’t delay if you see one your Jr. Chef might be interested in. Sign-up is done via local stores so call (256) 534-2008 to register.
  • Apple Camp – Apple Camp is designed to help spark the imagination of kids ages 8 to 12. They’ll learn to make movies by storyboarding ideas, shooting video, and creating an original soundtrack. Or campers can create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. At Apple Camp, kids and their creativity are the focus.
  • Kids’ Club – Michaels offers regular kids craft workshops aimed at children ages 3+ and most have a small fee ($2). Let your kids explore their creativity while you shop!
  • Home Depot Kid Workshops – these monthly workshops are free and usually aimed at school age children 5+ although there are the occasional options for preschoolers.

VBAS Public Planetarium Showshuntsville planetarium vbas

Location: Wernher von Braun Planetarium, Huntsville
Dates: Saturdays at 7:30PM
Price: $5 for Adults, $3 for Students, and free for children under 6, as well as VBAS members
More InfoWebsite


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Every week, VBAS members and guest speakers present a variety of astronomy related programs from famous astronomers, science fiction and astronomy, historical astronomy, and the history of spaceflight. A recurring focus through August will be the 2017 Solar Eclipse show to highlight and prepare you for the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017.  It is recommended that you arrive 30 minutes in advance to have time to park and find a seat! Weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to look at some of the wonders of the universe following the planetarium program with the help of the VBAS’s experienced and knowledgeable observing crew.

Tennessee Aquarium

Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee (map)
Dates: Daily 10AM-6PM
Price: Admission for two adults and up to five children is unlimited during May 1 – September 4 when you purchase their $90 Summer Family Pass (Regular daily admission is $29.95 for 14+; $18.95 for ages 3-12)
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The Aquarium celebrates its silver anniversary on May 1, 2017. On the same day, the return of the Summer Family Pass will let guests forge new memories all season long as they explore the recently opened Lemur Forest exhibit, amble past alligators in Delta Country and marvel at birds rocketing through the waves of Penguin Rock. The $90 pass will be available only at Chattanooga-area Food City locations through May 31. Pass holders enjoy unlimited daily admission to the Aquarium for two adults and up to five children (ages 18 or younger) through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4.

Dog Days of Summer at EarlyWorks

Location: EarlyWorks Children’s Museum (map)
Dates: Monday-Saturday June 5-August 5, 8AM-5PM
Price: Included with museum membership or general admission (
More InfoWebsite


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Join Biscuit, the EarlyWorks mascot, as he welcomes all his doggie playmates to the Museum. We’re celebrating the Dog Days of Summer! Along with the regular EarlyWorks hands-on activities, visitors will experience an exhibit and special programming that will highlight our love for dogs and the historic legacy of famous canines such as Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Toto from the Wizard of Oz. You can enjoy reminiscing at the Pup-Culture Wall, play and read with the dogs in the Dog-Park, make and take crafts in the Canine Craft Area, and take a photo with Biscuit, the EarlyWorks Mascot. Then, take the challenge at the Breeds of the World interactive matching game, search and discover more than 60 life-sized stuffed dogs while on our Dog-gone Scavenger Hunt, and wash and groom your dog at the Happy Puppy Salon! Costumed characters will be making  appearances each hour starting at 10AM; click here for the complete lineup.

Summer Reading Programs

We all know reading is FUNdamental & it’s crazy important to keep it up during the summer months. So here are several reading programs to help make sure your child is ready and able when the school year comes around again.

HMCPL’s Summer Reading Program

Huntsville-Madison County Public Library is ready to “build a better world” with you! Join our Summer Reading Club by picking up a packet at your local library. It’s easy and best of all, FREE! All children through 5th grade may participate in a variety of programs throughout Madison County. From animal programs, martial arts demonstrations, and STEAM-based learning experiences, the library has something for kids of all ages. Summer Reading information will be available for pickup at any branch beginning May 30. On July 22, from 4-7 p.m, there will be a Field Day at Big Spring Park to celebrate Summer Reading. See a youth services librarian for more information. To find out more information, pick up a Summer Reading packet at your local branch or visit the HMCPL webpage.


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Barnes and Noble

As in previous years, Barnes and Noble is offering a free book to every child participates in their Summer Reading Program and records their adventures in a journal you can download from their site. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017 to get your free book!

Chuck-E-Cheese

Offered year-round, Chuck-E-Cheese reward calendars are just one of many types of incentive programs the big cheese offers to parents as a way of getting them to do all kinds of things (stop picking your nose, clean up your room, use the potty, etc.). Simply download and print out a calendar, mark off the days, bring completed calendar to any Chuck-E-Cheese and receive 10 free tokens.

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