Free Activities & Girl Scout Special Discounts
Our Program Department has been busy compiling information on free field trips and activities for the girls. Check out the offerings below. If you have discovered any free “gems” in your area, contact us to have it added to the list! If you have found any of the links broken, or offerings have changed in any of the listings below, please let us know so we can keep our list up to date.
AC Moore - Introducing “Dream it. Create it. Share it.”, a FREE Field Trip at A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts stores. This new experience is designed around the visual arts, artistic disciplines and life applications. While exploring the ultimate arts and crafts destination, students will discover new art mediums, tools and techniques while discussing the creative process. Students will create a special project at the end of the trip to showcase their new skills learned during the trip! See: www.fieldtripfactory.com.
Adopt-a-Trail Program - Buffumville Dam and Hodges Village Dam recreation areas in Charlton and Oxford. Troops and groups are invited to adopt 1 mile or more of trail for a year or more. You may plan to come out once in a year and do a big work day or come often and chip away. The scope of the trail work consists of: picking up trash on your section, refresh blazes on the trees with paint, clear/cut little brush off the path and notify them if there is anything too large that needs to be moved. They’ll supply the tools, paint, safety gear (gloves), etc. In exchange, your troop/group is offered free camping privileges at Buffumville Park from mid-September through mid May and all year at Hodges Village Dam. To sign up or to learn more, contact: Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-248-5697.
American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts, Worcester – Tour the facility and learn about the Red Cross’ history and areas of service: Disaster, Health and Safety, Armed Forces, International and Blood! Involve your troop in Red Cross Community Service projects: Build comfort kits for victims of disaster; educate others on safety and preparedness; hold a clothing drive; and more! Become educated on HIV/AIDS prevention: Age appropriate informational sessions available for your troop by certified HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Instructor. To arrange for any of these programs contact: Sue Swanberg, Director of Youth Programs: SwanbergS@usa.redcross.org or 508-595-3710.
Amherst College Museum of Natural History - Individuals and groups are welcome to explore the Museum exhibits on their own during regular business hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM and Thursday evenings from 6 PM to 10 PM. If you wish to bring a group of 10 or more (including adults and children) to the Museum for a self-guided visit, please see the instructions here.
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) - Offers free outdoor programming for troops of all ages. AMC will match your group with qualified and screened leaders who will share their expertise and facilitate an outdoor experience for the girls. Available activities include nature walks, conservation and trail work, paddling, biking, skills classes in topics such as map and compass, how to backpack and more. All at a location of your choice! To schedule your experience, contact Barbara Dyer at 508-735-3281 or email@example.com.
Big Y Supermarkets – Will do educational tours and nutrition programs. Contact your local Big Y directly to set up. You can find store locations here: http://www.bigy.com/Locations#.UPLKDW_hrkc.
Boston Museums with free admission:
Freedom Trail, Boston – Walking the Freedom Trail itself is free. Some of the sites charge admission, and you can book a guided tour for a fee. You can start making your plans here: www.thefreedomtrail.org or www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail
Planning a Boston trip with lots of destinations? Check out www.gobostoncard.com for a pass to many Boston attractions at a discount – this deal isn’t free, but can be a money-saving alternative.
Boston Children’s Museum – Not “free”, but admission is only $1 on Friday nights from 5pm to 9pm. www.bostonkids.org
Commonwealth Museum, Boston - After a major renovation the Commonwealth Museum, has opened its new permanent exhibit. Now all of our citizens can see and appreciate rare original documents and artifacts that are true national treasures. Girl Scout troops are invited for free field trip visits to see the original Massachusetts Constitution, one of only 14 copies of the Declaration of Independence, and the US Bill of Rights. For all the details visit: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mus/museum/index.htm
Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge - Free to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (September through May) excluding commercial groups. http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu
Massachusetts State House, Boston - Free Tour of the oldest building on Beacon Hill. http://www.sec.state.ma.us/trs/trsidx.htm
Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston - Always free. www.masshist.org
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston – Free from 5pm to 9pm every Thursday and for families on the last Saturday of each month. http://www.icaboston.org
Boston University Observatory, Boston - Free Star Gazing every Wednesday Night at 7:30 p.m. from October through March, weather permitting. http://www.bu.edu/astronomy/events/public-open-night-at-the-observatory/
Buffumville Lake, Oxford, MA - Free programs including vernal pool walks, star gazing evenings and campfires on the beach. Plus, there are trails to hike and a swimming beach. Access to the beach is free for people under 12 years old. The cost is $1 per person over 12, with a maximum fee of $4 per carload. http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/recreati/bvl/bvlevent.htm
Camp Open Houses – Every spring our council holds open houses at each of our camps. A great time to check out our council camps, get a tour and engage in a few activities. Would make a fun troop trip to travel to a different part of our council to check out a camp the girls haven’t seen yet! Watch our Event Guide or the camp section of the website for dates.
Canines for Disabled Kids – Representatives from Canines for Disabled Kids will visit your troop meeting to educate your girls on Assistance Dogs by bringing a service dog to your meeting place and talking with your girls about service dogs and the people they help. You can learn about the laws that allow service dogs to work as tools for people with disabilities, as well as what they can do, and why they are needed. Learn how you can perform service by helping to spread the word, create awareness, conduct donation drives and more. To request a troop visit contact: Mallory Anderson, Manderson@caninesforkids.org, 978-422-5299 ext 102
Casella Waste Management, Auburn, MA – Virtual tour and presentation on how items are recycled at the plant level. Offered M-F 9am to 5pm. Call: 508-721-2700
Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA – First Sunday of the month, 2-4pm Free Museum admission, children’s art activities and tours by teen docents. www.danforthmuseum.org/firstsundayactivities.html
Fire Department - Safety Program - The Worcester Fire Department's education department will work with your troop on their Safety Awards! Brownies can earn their "Safety Sense" Try-its, Juniors can work on their "Safety First" or "First Aid" badges and Cadettes and Seniors can work towards their "Emergency Preparedness" IP. Contact Lt. Annie Pickett, at: 508-799-1754 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a program for your troop! Or contact your local fire department for their offerings!
Firestone - Some Firestone shops will do Car Care workshops for Girl Scouts. Check with your local Firestone directly. You can find locations at www.firestonecompleteautocare.com
Fitchburg Art Museum – Children under 12 free. First Thursday of the month museum admission is free from 4pm – 8pm. Tours and other activities will be offered. www.fitchburgartmuseum.org
FLEXcon’s School Stock Program – Spencer, MA. Provides local non-profit groups with surplus supplies such as outer wraps, end rolls and aged sample stock of self-adhesive material (similar to contact paper). Materials are available on a first come first served basis and cannot verify if a specific material is available. Visit their website for hours.
Hancock Shaker Village – Hancock, MA. Located just outside of Pittsfield, visit this living history museum to learn about the lives of the Shakers. Children 12 and under always free. Free admission on Tuesdays from 3-5pm, Memorial Day to Labor Day. For more information, visit: www.hancockshakervillage.org
Hannaford Supermarket – The Guiding Stars® Store Tour is designed to help children comprehend nutrition in a real life environment. At your local Hannaford, children will gain a better understanding of the foods they eat, their nutritional value and how they affect the body during this hands-on adventure through the store (see www.fieldtripfactory.com).
Heifer International – Overlook Farm – Rutland. Visitors are welcome to drop-in for a self-guided tour. Open Monday-Saturday from 9-5 p.m. and Sunday from 12-5 p.m. Overlook Farm includes a Global Village, over 16 species of animals, organic gardens and an International Shop. To learn more about Overlook Farm and the work of Heifer International, visit www.heifer.org
Home Depot Kids Workshops – Kids Workshops are FREE “How-To Clinics” designed for children ages 5-12. The workshops are offered on the first Saturday of each month between 9am and noon at all Home Depot stores. Visit their website for store locations and more information.
Infection Prevention – Interactive Event - UMass Medical nursing students are offering free programs which include infection prevention demonstrations using “glo-germ”. Troops have the opportunity to learn what they can do to stay healthy and infection free. Games and materials are also included as teaching aids. For tips and information visit: www.partnershipforhealthcare.org. Contact Heather Mills at 617-399-8368 or email email@example.com for more information and details about the infection prevention program.
Letterboxing – A fun, popular hobby. Use your navigational skills in a charming "treasure hunt" style outdoor quest. A wide variety of adventures can be found to suit all ages and experience levels. Learn about letterboxing here: www.letterboxing.org.
Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics – Free kids workshops held at Lowe’s stores. Visit their website for information on upcoming clinics and to sign up.
Mass Audubon – Check out their online catalog for programming for kids. There are free offerings throughout their calendar and they offer wonderful outdoor programs at several locations!
Mass Wildlife – Check out their Calendar of Events at: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/. Wildlife, outdoor, fishing and more. Most events are free and open to the public. Contact them directly and ask about setting up your own event – consider making it a multi troop or Service Unit event.
Midas – Some Midas shops will do Car Care workshops for Girl Scouts. Check with your local Midas directly. You can find locations at www.midas.com.
Mineral Club Annual Shows – Scouts receive free admission when wearing their uniforms. Dates and times can be found on their website here: www.worcestermineralclub.org. The show features dealers with a wide range of materials from children's and beginner level items to advanced collector's items. Usually held in Worcester in November. Check out the Western Mass pages for Holyoke and West Springfield shows here: http://www.cvmineralclub.org.
Mount Holyoke College - Mount Holyoke College has a big greenhouse, museums and trails all free.
Art museum – Educational programs and events. Always free admission! https://www.mtholyoke.edu/artmuseum.
Botanical Garden – Talcott Greenhouse provides free tours, flower shows and more: https://www.mtholyoke.edu/botanic.
Neads – (Dogs For Deaf and Disabled Americans), of Princeton, MA, “was established in1976 to train and provide rescued dogs and donated puppies to assist people who are deaf or physically disabled in leading more independent lives at work, at home and at school. These assistance dogs become an extension of their owners and bring security, freedom, independence and relief from social isolation to their human partners”. Contact to find out about scheduling a site visit for your group. www.neads.org
Petco – The Fur, Feathers & Fins™ program allows children to learn about the characteristics and habitats of fish, reptiles, birds, and small animals. At your local PETCO, lessons in science, math and geography come to life through this hands-on field trip. As students develop a respect for animals, they will also develop a greater sense of responsibility (see www.fieldtripfactory.com).
Pick Your Own – A Website dedicated to help you find a “pick your own” farm near you. Many include free offers which may include free petting zoos or ice cream for example. Keeps you updated on the best picking season in the area and which farms are offering what! http://www.pickyourown.org/mass.htm
Roll On America – Lancaster – Every Thursday is scout night from 6pm to 8pm. Free Admission w/uniform or membership card.
Skate Rental Extra.
Second Chance Animal Shelter - East Brookfield. Community service opportunities such as pet food/supply collections and drives, free tours and presentations for your troop. Volunteer opportunities at shelter and events. See www.secondchanceanimals.org to learn more about the shelter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on volunteering or presentations and tours.
Smith College Art Museum – Free to all on the second Friday of the month, 4-8pm. Free passes may be checked out at Forbes Library (20 West Street, next to Smith campus), at Lilly Library (19 Meadow Street, Florence, MA), or at a library with reciprocal borrowing privileges. http://scma.smith.edu/artmuseum/Visit/Planning-a-Visit
Smith College Botanic Garden - Lyman Conservatory Hours: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm daily. Northampton, MA 01063, (413) 585-2740. Group visits are welcome, please register in advance. More information: http://www.smith.edu/garden/Home/visitorinfo.html
State Parks/State Forests – Contact each directly. Many offer free walking tours, nature programs and community service opportunities for Girl Scouts, as well as unguided opportunities for use of their site for hiking and other recreational needs. A full listing with links can be found here: www.mass.gov/dcr/listing.htm.
Also check out: www.thetrustees.org for Brooks Woodland Preserve and Swift River Reservation in Petersham, Doane’s Falls in Athol, Rock House Reservation in West Brookfield, Royalston Falls in Royalston, Tantiusques Reservation in Sturbridge and more
Sterling Animal Shelter – Sterling. Community service opportunities such as pet food/supply collections and drives, free tours and presentations including a “Bone Badge” program appropriate for Girl Scouts of all ages (program is free, the patches can be purchased for $1 each). To schedule, contact Melissa at 978-422-8585 or Melissa@sterlingshelter.org. Learn more about the shelter at: www.sterlingshelter.org
Stop and Shop Supermarket – Kid Healthy Ideas - Trained tour leaders will tailor this 60-90 minute adventure so your group gets the most out of it. They’ll talk about the Food Pyramid and explore the five food groups. Every child will take home healthy goodies in a reusable bag. The next time they go grocery shopping, your students can fill their reusable bags with more nutritious foods! (see www.fieldtripfactory.com).
Teddy Bear Clinic – Held every April at the Greendale Mall in Worcester. A fun health-care field trip for Daisies and younger Brownies.
Tatnuck Bookseller, Westborough, MA – Free meeting space for community groups. Check out their events page. There are often book signings with children’s authors and other programs offered for kids. Contact their children’s department for special requests. www.tatnuck.com
Tower Hill Botanic Garden - Boylston. Each year in early spring and late fall, Tower Hill hosts an open house with free admission with activities and demonstrations. Watch their website for dates: www.towerhillbg.org. Also available are service opportunities for our Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors to help with their Youth Gardening programs. Contact their Education department for details.
Uno’s – For kids in grades K-6 at participating Uno’s. Call your local restaurant to schedule your trip. See how a restaurant kitchen works and learn how their world famous pizza is made. Each child gets a tour of the restaurant and kitchen including a visit to their huge walk-in refrigerator and given their own dough with choice of toppings to create, bake and eat their own homemade pizza.
USS Constitution - Free tour of the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.
1 Constitution Rd, Charlestown, MA 02129 617 242-7511
Wachusett Greenways – A series of trails in Central Mass which are still being developed. Free activities can be found on their site, such as Story Walks, guided hikes and bike rides as well as volunteer opportunities. www.wachusettgreenways.org.
Woodmeister Master Builders - Located in Holden, MA, Woodmeister Master Builders offers a limited number of plant tours and badge activities in the areas of woodworking, architecture, drafting, painting and home repair. For more information, please fill out the information requested at www.woodmeister.com/scouting and a Woodmeister representative will contact you.
Worcester Art Museum – Free for kids 17 and under, free on Saturday mornings 10am – noon (arrive between those times and stay as long as you like). Regular admission is $10 per adult. http://www.worcesterart.org/Information/
Worcester Public Library – Check out their calendar of events on their website at: www.worcpublib.org for their offerings for children and teens. Story Time, Anime, Genealogy, movie night and more. Also, check out your local library’s offerings. Coordinate with the librarians to work on a specific topic with your girls. Often the children’s librarian is more than happy to work with your group!
Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield, MA – “Far more than just candle stores, our South Deerfield, MA and Williamsburg, VA locations are special places where magic comes to life”. An especially popular field trip around the holiday season! www.yankeecandle.com
Other free ideas:
- Fire Station Tours/Safety Programs
- Ethnic Festivals – watch local cultural websites for notices on ethnic festivals – often free admission. A great way to “study” a country for Thinking Day!
- Police Station Tours/Safety Programs
- Library Reading Programs
- Most local libraries offer passes to area attractions for free or at a substantial discount
- Post Office Tours
- Town Hall – meet your local government officials!
- Local recreational sports leagues ie: softball, basketball, soccer, etc. Ask for a one day clinic for your troop! These dedicated volunteer coaches are usually more than happy to work with our girls. If you have young ones, ask that they recruit some older girls to help out too! The little ones love to work with older-girl mentors!
- Local parks & recreation departments for service project opportunities: town clean-ups, planting flowers, etc.