Free and low-cost fun: Things to do in Utah that won't hurt your wallet

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From baseball games to movies and museums, these events and activities cost little — or nothing.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) “Auntie” Jess Anderson points out baseball players warming up on the field to Ethan Goss, 2, as they attend the Salt Lake Bees home open at Smith’s Ballpark Thursday night, May 6, 2021. Baseball fans can exchange their Smith’s receipts of $75 or more for free Bees tickets.

Everyone seems to be feeling the financial pinch lately. With inflation at its highest point in about 40 years, people are paying more for everything from gas to food to rent.

Experts recommend finding ways to reduce your expenses as one way to beat inflation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Check out these free (really) and low-cost Utah entertainment options — proof that having fun doesn’t have to come at the expense of your wallet.

Free movies

Summer isn’t over yet, which means you can still catch a free movie under the stars:

The Kenley Amphitheater at Layton Commons Park

There isn’t a bad seat at the Kenley Amphitheater, which will be screening “Where the Wild Things Are” on Aug. 19 and “Jurassic World” on Aug. 26 — both at 7 p.m. The amphitheater is located in the middle of Layton Commons Park, at 437 N. Wasatch Drive.

Solitude

Watch the stars come out over the mountains at a screening of the classic film “Ghostbusters” on Aug. 25 at Solitude (12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon Road). Bring a blanket or a low chair to the Solitude Village and go to the Apex Express chairlift to watch the movie, which starts at 8 p.m.

Liberty Park

On Aug. 26 at Liberty Park, the Utah Film Center is showing “The Biggest Little Farm” — about a couple who decides to give up city life and start a farm. The movie will be shown on the east side of the park (600 East & 900 South), just north of the Chase Home Museum, and begins at dusk.

City Center Park in Lindon

Get an early start to spooky season with a screening of “Hocus Pocus” on Sept. 30 in Lindon’s City Center Park (200 N. State St.). The movie begins at dusk, and free pumpkins and treats will be provided.

Free tickets to the Natural History Museum of Utah

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Columbian mammoth at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021.

The Natural History Museum of Utah is offering complimentary tickets as a thank you to taxpayers for supporting the Zoo Arts and Parks program (ZAP), so families can gaze upon archeological treasures, precious gemstones and more for free.

Each reservation is good for six people, and tickets must be used by Sept. 2. Register online here.

Thanks to the Natural History Museum of Utah’s participation in the Museums for All Program, anyone with an EBT card or WIC card can also receive up to six tickets to the museum for $2 each.

University of Utah students, faculty and staff with an active U card can visit the museum anytime for free. All veterans get free admission on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Free tickets to The Leonardo

Anyone with an America First Visa card can use it to get free admission to The Leonardo — Salt Lake City’s art, science and technology museum.

Just show your card at the ticket office on the first Wednesday of the month to get up to 10 free tickets.

Free admission at Thanksgiving Point

Thanksgiving Point is another participant in the Museums for All program, which means anyone with an EBT card can present that card at any of the Lehi attraction’s five venues and get free admission for dependent children (ages 3-12) and $3 admission for each adult.

Venues include Ashton Gardens, the Butterfly Biosphere, the Museum of Ancient Life and more; adults must pay the reduced $3 admission per venue.

Park Jam 2022

Hip-hop lovers won’t want to sleep on Park Jam 2022, a free, all-ages event on Aug. 21 that gives rappers a chance to show off their skills in the arts of deejaying, rapping, painting and dancing.

Park Jam will be held at Jordan Skate Park (1032 S. 900 West in Glendale) from noon to dusk — bring your own skateboard or scooter and practice your tricks between performances.

International Folk Festival

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Dancers from Ballet Folklorico perform at Hillsdale Elementary on Tuesday April 30, 2019. The group will be performing at the International Folk Festival.

As part of its Free-for-All Summer Series, the Sandy Amphitheater (1300 E. 9400 South) is hosting the 11th annual International Folk Festival.

The Aug. 25 event will feature dances and musical performances from Ireland, Mexico, India, Russia, Hungary and Japan.

Americana Arts & Music Festival

Experience some quintessential American summer fun Aug. 26-27 at the Americana Arts & Music Festival, which will feature live music, local art, food trucks, art demonstrations, and creative activities for kids.

Happening at shady Robinson Park (100 E. Main St.) in American Fork, this free festival will include performances by Waterside Road and Joshua Creek, as well as a screening of “The Greatest Showman.”

Free Bees tickets

Baseball fans can get free tickets to watch Salt Lake Bees games at Smith’s Ballpark (77 W. 1300 South) just by picking up groceries for the week.

If you spend between $75 and $149.99 at Smith’s, you can exchange your receipt for a voucher that’s good for two tickets. And if you spend more than $150, you can get a voucher for four tickets.

Vouchers are good for games Tuesday through Thursday throughout the 2022 season; the last eligible home game of the season is Sept. 22.

Free Mars exhibit at Clark Planetarium

Mars is 98.694 million miles away, but you can still get an up-close look at the robots exploring its surface, Perseverance and Ingenuity, for the small price of free.

Until Nov. 6, Clark Planetarium is celebrating the Red Planet with an exhibit that includes life-size models of the two rovers and the screening of a new film, “Destination Mars,” in the dome theater.


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