Leave your pocketbook at home. All you will need for these no-cost outings is a camera to capture the fun that your family is having. These happenings prove that more bang for zero bucks is totally doable.

kids euro festival

#1 Kids Euro Festival
If your little bit is a star-in-the-making, D.C.’s Kids Euro Festival, the country’s larges performing arts festivals for the under 12 set, is just for them. They’ll be able to check out more than 200 free shows featuring performers with acts that range from bubble blowing to virtual orchestra.

When: Oct. 24-Nov.9
Online: kidseurofestival.org

#2 Rock Creek Park Nature Center
Surprise, surprise—Rock Creek Park, contrary to popular belief, is a year-round destination in D.C. Duck into the park’s Nature Center when temps drop where kids can meet and mingle with live turtles, fish, snakes, and birds. If your crew can handle the chill in the air, stroll the half-mile self-guided interpretive trail, starting at the Nature Center.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 9 am-5 pm
Rock Creek Park Nature Center
5200 Glover Rd., NW
Online: nps.gov/rocr


#3 Marine Corps Marathon
There’s no doubt that this annual 26.2 mile race brings out the athletic types, but it’s also an awesome family-friendly event. Not only are there multiple opportunities to cheer your heads off, there’s also a Kids Run (additional cost) and a free Finish Line Festival.

When: Oct. 26 Start Time: 7:55 am
Online: marinemarathon.com

#4 Story Time at the National Postal Museum
This new program caters to tots ages 2-3 with readings, crafts, and songs (that often lead to dancing). The activities help pre-pre-schoolers explore shapes, colors and sizes. Afterwards let them wander the museum halls, which is full of hands-on exhibits, until the eye rubbing starts.

When: First Monday of every month (10:30 am-11 am)
National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave., NE (Union Station)
Online: postalmuseum.si.edu


#5 GORGEOUS Foliage
One of the coolest things to do during the fall also happens to be absolutely free. Take a drive (or a hike) down a fall foliage lane—think: Seneca Creek State Park, Skyline Drive, or Blue Ridge Parkway—and ohh and ahh your way through a beautiful rainbow of leaves. If you’re lucky you may even run into piles of fallen foliage to leap into and over.

#6 Fairy Tea and Treats
Little Tinkerbells (ages 4+) will love dressing up with tutus, wands and wings for this kid-friendly high tea. They’ll talk tea and crumpets, and then tour Tudor Place’s fairy gardens and get crafty with a hands-on art project.

Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
1644 31st St., NW
Online: tudorplace.org

What other free activities should we pencil  in this fall? Tell us in the comments section below.

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Photos courtesy of Kids Euro Festival via Facebook, Seth Lemmons via Flickr, Marine Corps Marathon via Facebook