Philadelphia teens: Free summer activities, from bowling to pool pop-ups

If you’re a teenager who isn’t already at summer camp or working a summer job, what can you do with your free time that doesn’t cost you money you don’t have? ?

Philly is actually full of free activities for young people – you just have to know where to look.

Some things are unstructured, like spending the day in one of the city’s public swimming pools, while others offer a chance to explore skills you’re unlikely to learn in school (think kitchen or bowling).

Check out the list of ideas below and share them with the teens in your life. If you have one to add, send us a note!

Calling all budding gym rats: Teens ages 14-19 train for free at one of Philly’s 16 Planet Fitness locations. The offer is valid until August 31. All you need: permission from a parent, a smartphone to register and a bit of motivation.

For an added incentive, everyone who joins will be automatically entered to win a $500 scholarship, with one prize awarded per state, and an additional $5,000 grand prize scholarship.

Beginning in 2021, Students At Museums in Philly has been encouraging high school students to take advantage of their free admission to the city’s museums, historic sites, and gardens. The offer is valid for current students, and all you need is a school ID card to access any of the 15 stamp sites.

A few favorite spots: the Barnes Foundation for an art walk, Bartram’s Garden for punting rides, and the Eastern State Penitentiary for a tour of Philly’s gritty history.

Technically, this nationwide promotion is only available to teens under 15, but if it fits, it’s a free way for friends to get together or an avenue for low-cost family reunions. Registered kids ages 3-15 can play two free rounds a day all summer long at tracks across the United States

Philly has four participating locations: Thunderbird Lanes (Oxford Circle), Thunderbird Lanes (Torresdale), Erie Lanes (North Philly), and South Bowl (South Philly). I hope you only hit in the way that matters.

This skater oasis is on the Schuylkill Banks, near the Philadelphia Art Museum. Built after the demolition and redesign of the famous Love Park skate spot, it features 30,000 square feet of rails, ledges, transitions and benches.

The crowd includes skateboarders and roller skaters of all skill levels, and you’ll get great views of the river and skyline between kickflips.

Discover your inner tourist on one of the many walking tours to discover why Philly is known as the Mural Capital of the World. Some paid tours are booked months in advance, but with the convenient self-guided options, you can decide how much time to spend and where to go.

No, you don’t even have to read if you don’t want to.

Activities take place daily at Philadelphia Library branches, from cooking classes and primers on global cuisines to dance workshops and crochet lessons for beginners. There really is something for everyone, even for yogis or anime hustlers.

This citywide group offers four different field trips planned exclusively for Philadelphia high schoolers during the rest of the summer. The program begins with an Open Mic Brunch, followed by trips to the Philadelphia Print Works and Sankofa farms, and ends with a hands-on video-making workshop.

You can register for any (or all) of the events from July 21 through August 26.

Go beyond the murals with seven guided walking tours organized by the Association for Public Art. Some of the options: Explore 27 acres of trees and sculptures at West Fairmount Park Horticultural Center or cycle along Kelly Drive to find your favorite house on Boathouse Row.

Fancy a break from city life? The group of friends at this Fairmount Park branch are hosting a series of volunteer events Tuesday through Thursday for the rest of July.

Each day, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., volunteers will be given a series of tasks to complete, ranging from improving trails and removing invasive plants to simply picking up trash.

Parks & Rec is hosting a bunch of teen-only pool events by the end of summer, complete with free drinks, pretzels, and door prizes.

You can also test your swimming skills, and if you have what it takes, sign up for a free lifeguard certification course. Or if you need to improve, free swimming lessons are also offered. You can register for both on site.

This nonprofit center on the banks of the Schuylkill offers a handful of hands-on programs, where you can learn about things like river conservation, land history, and gardening. There is also free fishing and boating.

Free boating began in June and continues every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until October 15. Catch-and-release fishing began in mid-July and is offered every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. until August 31. come first served, so it’s best to line up early.

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Richard V. Johnson