SAHM Activity #2: Finding the Free Things

When you’re stuck in a rut and feeling like you’ve got no way to get yourself out of it, use the handy-dandy Internets to research “free things to do around ___”.  Seriously.  It is free and gets you out of the house.  Double bonus round!

Near to Me

As you may have gathered from previous posts, we live in the middle of nowhere.  The tiny town we reside in is about 40 minutes from the closest city of any size.  And most of the time when I refer to Lafayette, Indiana, as a city, I put quoties around it.  Like this:  We’re going to the “city” today.*

However, even small towns have free stuff to do.

Starting with the nearest towns in my search engine, I made a list of the free things less than 20 minutes from me.  The list is short.  In fact, maybe I shouldn’t call it a list.  Here it is:

  1. Story Time.

There are two libraries within 20 minutes of me, one with story time Tuesdays and Wednesdays and the other with story time on Wednesdays.  We hit up two a week (if I feel like it and the weather doesn’t suck too much).  When it came time for the summer reading programs, I signed up both myself and Angel Baby to read for “incentives” (re:  prizes).**

Sweet Angel Baby taking a breather from the other kids after story time, looking exactly like her mother.

Sweet Angel Baby taking a breather from the other kids after story time, looking exactly like her mother.

Don’t forget Farmers’ Markets typically have more than just veggies for sale, so that can be an entertaining little walk.  You don’t *have* to buy anything.  Also, visit every park within that 20 miles radius.  Why not?!

Columbian Park Zoo

As you walk into the zoo, there is a water pad with a gorgeous globe and various animal statues.

As you walk into the zoo, there is a water pad with a gorgeous globe and various animal statues.

Spreading my search further from home, I made my list of parks in Lafayette.  There are actually quite a few, and some have fantastic playgrounds.  If you’re anywhere near to Lafayette, I highly recommend checking out Columbian Park.

This park has plenty of shelters with picnic tables, an enormous playground that’s divided by size/skill set of the children, a pond with plenty of water fowl and a fountain plus this cute little bridge, and an amphitheater.  If you’re up for it, there is a water park and a train (that aren’t free).  My goal the day we visited (back in June; I am just now writing this darn post) was the zoo.

Lafayette Parks and Recreation has done a lovely job providing a small yet educationally entertaining FREE zoo in the heart of the city:  Columbian Park Zoo.  Go ahead, re-read that last sentence.  FREE!  Ok, sorry, getting excited.  Mind you, this isn’t a large zoo.  It a free, small-city zoo situated on the side of a park.  They have a handful of exhibits that are hands-on (or walk-thru, like the wallabies; or climb-under, like the groundhog-gopher-rodent thing {I read the signs, I swear}) and ones where you look and learn (I’m a fan of the bald eagles) plus the little petting zoo.

One of the various signs around the zoo, calling your attention to the zoo's CONNECTIONS with the world at large.

One of the various signs around the zoo, calling your attention to the zoo’s CONNECTIONS with the world at large.

Hands On

Here are the fabulous pictures from that day***:

Donate (re:  help keep it FREE)

If you like the free things you’ve found, and you’d really like them to continue being provided, please consider donating.  Whether it is time or money or supplies, FREE things are always free.  (God, how many times have we all heard that?)

If you really can’t donate cash to your library, see if you can join their Friends of the Library.  If you take your wee ones to story time, offer to provide the snack or the craft supplies for the next one.  If you have a bunch of books at home that are in good shape but your children have lost interest in, donate them to the children’s library.  Offer to help decorate or clean up after programs and events.  See what they need, because your support is what keeps them able to provide FREE programs.

If you don’t purchase goodies from the gift shop at the FREE zoo, consider tossing some coins into the fountain as you go.  Seriously, every little bit helps.  Your presence is enough to show the city you care and are using what’s provided (which helps the powers-that-be decide how much money to keep funneling into the zoo), but every free thing needs a little help to keep being free.  I, for one, talk about the zoo on my blog.  I have also told many, many people about the zoo mobile, where a zookeeper brings various small animals to your library program for a small fee.  (Look at that:  two in one!)  Plus, there are usually volunteer opportunities.

When you’re at the park next time, take a look around and consider what you’d change.  Maybe you can be that force of change:  organize a trash pick-up day, donate tulip and iris bulbs from your own (admit it, overgrown) garden, refurbish a bench, whatever… find out who runs the joint and call them up to see how you can help.

What is near to you??

*Always a bit of snark involved considering I was born in a city to city-raised parents and grew up in a suburb where I could see a real skyline from our backyard.

**All the benefits of your local library will be laid out for you, by me, in a post that I’ve been composing in my head for weeks.  Bear with me, dear reader.

*** “Day” is stretching it.  We popped into the zoo on our way home from running errands.  With a 2yo and sore feet (and impending rain), you really can whip through this zoo in an hour.  I’ve been with a handful of the family, including children of various ages, and we were there about 2 ½ hours.  Think about it:  that’s roughly how long a movie lasts, but this is FREE entertainment.  That’s educational.


5 thoughts on “SAHM Activity #2: Finding the Free Things

    1. travelerwife Post author

      Oh, agreed, honey! I’m happy there is what there is around here… but wouldn’t mind more trips to the city. I mean, a real city, with a skyline and free museums and fantastic people-watching from sidewalk cafes. *sigh* Just a city girl in a country world.


  1. Pingback: Personal Review of ClickList | Thoughtfully Sought

  2. Pingback: 100 Blog Post Ideas! | Thoughtfully Sought

  3. Pingback: The 5 Best Pieces of Parenting Advice I Can Give | Thoughtfully Sought

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s