Summer is here, and the living is supposed to be easy. But finding affordable, kid-friendly things to see and do (and burn off some energy!) isn’t always a breeze. To get you started, here are my top 10 recommendations for having fun with the kiddos around our beautiful county, saving a buck or two and spending time in the great outdoors.

1. If you haven’t visited the Shri BAPS Hindu Mandir yet, you must. Lauded by Southbound magazine as one of the Southeast’s 30 Architectural Wonders, the Mandir (temple) is a masterpiece of Indian design and artistry. Spend your visit on a free self-guided tour, or enjoy an immersive audio tour for just $5, where you’ll learn about Hindu sentiments for each of the sacred images, Hindu rituals and architectural highlights. Tours are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and German.

2. Pack your bags early to head to one of Gwinnett’s interactive Splash Pads. No matter where in Gwinnett you live, there is one around just about every corner. Suwanee’s Big Splash, Duluth’s Town Green Fountain, Norcross’s Interactive Fountain at Lillian Webb Park, Lilburn’s Splash Pad at Lilburn City Park and Buford’s Town Park Fountain are just a few. Gwinnett’s award-winning parks also have interactive fountains at Graves Park in Norcross and E. E. Robinson Park in Sugar Hill.

3. With three summer exhibits, the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning is always buzzing with activity. The Hudgens hosts a free Family Day each quarter, while Toddler Friday happens on the last Friday of every month and includes storytime, music and crafts for a nominal fee. Admission to the Hudgens is always free, courtesy of Holtkamp Heating and Air!

4. If your kids have aged out of story time, there’s a bevy of free music, movies and sports all over Gwinnett’s downtowns. A few teen favorites include Sports on the Screen at Peachtree Corners Town Center, a great (and free) way to cheer on the Atlanta Braves and other favorite teams on the big screen.

5. Or, every second Saturday of summer, Suwanee Town Center Park is the place to roll out a blanket, grab some snacks and enjoy a free Movie Under the Stars.

6. If you’d prefer to get on your feet and dance, Norcross’ Jazz in the Alley summer series offers talented jazz performers.

7. Don’t miss the Duluth Artisan Market every second and fourth Sunday from March through November, with plenty of buskers, live music and food.

8. The kid-friendly atmosphere at the Gwinnett Stripers’ Coolray Field is contagious! With $9 lawn tickets for a day filled with baseball, a Kids Zone, themed nights, player autographs and stadium hot dogs, it’s an unbeatable deal.

9. Towards Atlanta, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum is a fascinating and educational presidential library that focuses on Carter’s post-presidential human rights work. It’s always free for ages 16 and under.

10. Plus, Midtown’s High Museum of Art offers free admission the first weekend of every month to patrons who show their Bank of America card. Or, visit during UPS Second Sundays for free admission on the second Sunday of every month and enjoy family-friendly programming from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. For more value visits, visit our website, where you’ll find BOGO deals for the Aurora Theatre, Pirates Cove Adventure Golf, Georgia Aquarium discounts and more!

—Lisa Anders
Lisa is the Executive Director of Explore Gwinnett, Gwinnett’s official tourism
office, and also serves as Gwinnett’s Camera Ready/film liaison representative to
Georgia’s film/TV industry.