Cabin fever. Climbing the walls. We know what happens when kids (and parents) are cooped up for too long, and it’s not cute. But family outings can get real expensive, real quick. Let’s save some money at these local spots where kids get in free!
In addition to this list, be sure to check our monthly event roundups—we always include a bunch of free activities in your area. (Sign up for our newsletter to get those monthly guides sent right to your inbox.)
Note: Pay close attention to hours of operation; many of these spots are on modified schedules this year.
Free Admission for ALL AGES
Collin County History Museum (McKinney)
Step back in time and see what life was like in the early days of McKinney. Historic photos, artifacts, and set designs of historic buildings help tell the stories of the people, places, and events that helped shape McKinney. This free museum has an augmented reality exhibit that uses iPads to enhance your experience. Hours: OPEN ONLY Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10am-4pm.
Interurban Railway Museum (Plano)
Head to Historic Downtown Plano for free admission to this museum about the history of the Texas Electric Railway. Please note: Historic Car 360 will close for tours when internal temperatures reach 100°, so try to visit before noon in the summer if you want to see inside the train car. Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 11am-4pm, Saturday: 1-5pm. CLOSED SUNDAY & MONDAY.
A.W. Perry Homestead Museum (Carrollton)
The A.W. Perry Homestead Museum offers a glimpse of life as it was in north central Texas at the turn of the 20th Century. Adjacent to the museum is 13-acre Gravely Park with walking paths and a Victorian gazebo. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 10am-12noon & 1-5pm. CLOSED SUNDAY, MONDAY, TUESDAY.
ArtCentre of Plano
Located in Historic Downtown Plano, the ArtCentre is the perfect venue for families to enjoy the arts through programs and exhibitions. A cool Jerry Dodd indoor/outdoor exhibit just opened and will be running all summer. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-5pm. CLOSED SUNDAY & MONDAY.
Frisco Heritage Center
Enjoy free admission at this historical park where you can visit historic buildings, a steam locomotive, a wooden caboose, and more. Note: Frisco Heritage Museum is also located here but requires tickets for a small fee for ages 5 and up, as detailed in the next section. Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 10am-4pm, Saturday: 9am-4pm. CLOSED SUNDAY & MONDAY.
Texas Sculpture Garden (Frisco)
Grab a map and go on an “I Spy” hunt amidst the 150 pieces of art in this private collection at Hall Park. Free to the public. Hours: Outside artwork open daily dawn till dusk. Interior artwork open M-F: 9am-5pm.
Frisco Fire Safety Town
Children can explore Fire Safety Town Village with educational stops along the way during this free Walk ‘n Ride tour. Kids meeting height requirements will love getting to drive a mini Jeep or ride a bike in town. Tours are scheduled by age group, so check the calendar for exact hours. Be advised that any participating adult needs to present valid I.D.
2021 Update: Reopening on June 1, 2021 for outdoor activities only. Schedule your visit online starting May 1.
Fire Museum (McKinney)
Explore the history of the city’s fire department and emergency medical operations with a look into the culture, technology, and related facets of fire and emergency medical service from its earliest beginnings to the present. Interact with firefighters and learn fire safety and prevention. Hours: Museum operation is dependent on volunteer staff. Please call to check hours.
African American Museum (Dallas)
Admission is free for all ages at this Fair Park museum (exception for special exhibits). Tour their extensive and comprehensive permanent collection that ranges from Folk Art to centuries-old masterpieces and including African art, Black Renaissance paintings, decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art. Hours: OPEN ONLY Tuesday, Friday, & Saturday: 12-5pm.
Dallas Museum of Art
Free for all ages (with the exception of special exhibitions when only ages 11 and under are free). Download a free Arturo Family Gallery Guide before you go to give the kids some purpose and direction while viewing the galleries. Hours: 11am-5pm. CLOSED MONDAY & TUESDAY.
2021 Update: Despite being free, you still need to reserve tickets for specific time slots.
Free for Kids AGES 3-5 & UNDER
Although it’s rarer, a few places will let your preschool-aged kids in for free:
- Frisco Heritage Museum (ages 4 & under FREE, Ages 5-11, $2)
- National Videogame Museum, Frisco (ages 3 & under FREE, ages 4-10 $10)
- Chestnut Square Village Tours, McKinney (ages 5 & under FREE, 6+ $7)
- Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (ages 3 & under FREE, ages 4-12 $6)
- In Sync Exotics, Wylie (ages 3 & under FREE, suggested donation for all other visitors)
- KidZania, Frisco (ages 3 & under FREE, ages 4-5 $14.95, ages 6-14 gets $$$)
Free for Kids AGES 2 & UNDER or UNDER 2
Free admission for this age group is more common. Here are some spots where your littlest kids can get in free but still have fun:
- Heard Museum, McKinney (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3+ $7)
- Heritage Farmstead Museum, Plano (ages 2 & under FREE, general admission $5)
- Sci-Tech Discovery Center, Frisco (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3+ $8.50)
- Museum of the American Railroad, Frisco (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3-12 $5)
- TrainTopia requires a separate ticket (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3-12 $5)
Discounts available for combo package.
- TrainTopia requires a separate ticket (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3-12 $5)
- Crayola Experience, Plano (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3+ $22.99)
- First Saturdays at Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, Lucas (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3-12 $3)
- Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch, Pilot Point (ages 2 & under FREE, ages 3-12 $10)
Discounts offered here.
What about kids’ tickets to sporting events?
To summarize everything below, if you’re going to a stadium or arena you’ll likely all need a ticket (with the exception of literal babies). Lap children 2 and under can get in free to some of these venues, but you have to really consider how much you want a wiggly toddler sitting in your lap the whole game. Here are the details for each of our sports teams:
Texas Rangers (and Globe Life Field in Arlington)
Children 13 years and younger are eligible for reduced-price tickets in Upper Reserved and Grandstand Reserved seating areas, and children under 36″ tall can get in for free but must sit in a ticket holder’s lap.
Dallas Cowboys (and AT&T Stadium)
For Cowboys games and most events, children under the age of 1 do not need a ticket to enter AT&T Stadium. They must be seated on an adult’s lap and not interfere with the sightlines of other guests. Other events may require all children, regardless of age, to have a ticket to enter the stadium. For specific information regarding the children’s ticket policy for a particular event, please call the AT&T Stadium Ticket Office at (817) 892-5000 or the Guest Services Hotline at (817) 892-4161.
Dallas Stars & Dallas Mavericks (and American Airlines Center)
For all sporting events and most concerts, children two years of age and younger do not require a ticket to be admitted into American Airlines Center; however, they must sit on an adult’s lap and may not occupy a seat. Any child 2 years of age and older will require a ticket to enter the arena and must occupy their ticketed seat. Please note that some shows (especially those intended for children) may have a different age policy. Contact Guest Services at 214-665-4299 for further information.
Frisco RoughRiders (and Dr. Pepper Ballpark)
Any fan 2 years or younger and sitting on a lap does not need a ticket.
Dallas Sidekicks (and Allen Event Center)
Child admissions policies are set by the promoter for each individual event. For most events, children 2 years of age and older must have their own ticket for entry. Please check the event’s ticket policies at the time and point of purchase. For Sidekicks games, children 2 and under are considered lap children, and do not need a ticket.
FC Dallas (and Toyota Stadium)
Children that are three feet or shorter are not required to have a ticket into Toyota Stadium for sporting events. Children that are three feet and under may sit in a ticket holder’s lap, so long as the child does not obstruct the view of others nearby. There will be a height check station at all gates. If a child is taller than three feet, they must provide a ticket for entry. Policies may vary for concerts and special events. Please contact Customer Service at 469-365-0000 for information pertaining to specific events.
**Always double check business/organization websites before you go to ensure dates/times/prices are still accurate and/or available.**