Family fun doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re looking for engaging activities that are available free of charge, we have several options for you. Check out these Plano destinations for frugal entertainment.
Explore Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve
The largest park in Plano, Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve spans 800 acres. The park has almost eight miles of concrete trails that are easy to traverse with a stroller, making this a great choice for families with small children. The adventure playground is a favorite of small children as well.
There are five miles of soft-surface trails for those who want to take a hike and really explore. These natural-surface trails spiderweb across the landscape so you can take a new path every time you visit and really let your children take off like explorers. Best of all, the park offers a plant identification guide and tree identification guide, both accessible online, so you can turn your visit into a learning activity.
The lake within the park is open for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding if you have your own watercraft. These are great activities for adventurous teens who want something new to try.
Make a Splash
Plano has average highs in the 80s and 90s from May through September, making it a great place for families who enjoy water activities. There are several destinations around the city that are great for making a splash. Check out these options:
- Windhaven Meadows Park: The playground here is accompanied by a splash pad that’s perfect for cooling down and running around in during the warm-weather months.
- Oak Hills Splash Park: Located in nearby Carrollton, this splash park features playground equipment set among the water features for added fun.
- W.J. Thomas Splash Park: Another Carrollton favorite, this splash pad is small and simple but offers plenty of room for toddlers to roam.
Let Loose at the Playground
Plano is packed with playgrounds that provide an inviting space for families to run and play. Take your time exploring all that the city has to offer and make your way through these popular destinations:
- W. H. “Buzz” Rasor Park: This small neighborhood park is a favorite among locals, offering a charming playground equipped with baby swings, a quarter-mile hiking and biking trail, and a meandering creek. A grill and pavilion with tables are on hand for a picnic meal.
- Haggard Park: Haggard Park features two playgrounds so there’s something for everyone. The smaller of the two is designed for children who are 2 through 5, while the larger is for those 5 to 12 years old.
- Big Lake Park: Aptly named, Big Lake Park features a playground and a large lake available for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding.
- Jack Carter Park: This park offers an inclusive playground that is designed to encourage children of all abilities to play together. The park also offers a pond, creek, hiking and biking trail, and several pavilions.
- Buckhorn Park: Buckhorn Park features practice fields, a playground, and a short walking loop that’s less than half a mile. There’s also a shade structure with tables for picnics and snacks.
- Arrowhead Park: At Arrowhead Park, you’ll find a playground with baby swings, a multiuse court, and sports practice fields.
For free family fun, it doesn’t get any easier than putting on some sunscreen, packing a few snacks and water bottles, and heading to one of these playgrounds.
Take a Hike at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve covers 200 acres and features a trail system with 3 miles of concrete trails and 4.7 miles of natural-surface trails. In addition, there are several small natural trails between 0.32 mile and 0.02 mile in length that meander around the area beside the playground and shade shelter. If you’re interested in taking a walk or hike with your family, this is an ideal destination. The park includes a series of meandering streams, a picturesque pond, and two pavilions for picnicking. There’s also a designated area for off-road bicycle use.
Visit the Interurban Railway Museum
The Interurban Railway Museum is free to the public, so you can head in and explore this gem without paying a dime. The museum is housed in the only remaining depot of the Texas Electric Railway. This railway ran between Dallas and Denison, Texas, from 1908 to 1948. Now converted to a museum, the building includes a variety of interactive exhibits that illuminate the science and history of the electric railway system. Children can participate in small experiments, view railway artifacts, and marvel at the running model train.
You can also tour historic Rail Car 360, a restored 1911 railway car. The car was originally constructed as a passenger car with room for up to 62 passengers. It was later converted to a Railway Post Office car. Rail Car 360 was in service through 1948, when the railways ceased operations.
Get To Know the Plano Public Library System
The Plano Public Library system offers a wealth of resources and opportunities for free family entertainment in Plano. It includes the Haggard Library, Parr Library, Harrington Library, and Schimelpfenig Library. All four locations host various storytimes, including Toddler Time, Family Storytime, Preschool Storytime, and Rhyme Time. There are also many special programs on engaging topics like trains, geology, Lego engineering, coding, and wildlife. Check out the calendar for the latest opportunities for family fun.
The libraries also host public art exhibits that are great to check out with the kids while you’re visiting. If you’re looking for family fun that you can take home with you, make sure to check out the collection of books, DVDs, and Blu-rays for visitors of all ages. The Plano Public Library system offers online resources as well, including virtual classes and workshops, e-books, and online videos.
Did we include your favorite local activities and destinations on our list? If we missed any great spots for free fun in Plano, contact our team at Huffines CJDR Plano and let us know. We will update our recommendations and point our customers toward the best opportunities for budget-friendly family entertainment in the area.
Image via Flickr by gurdonark