Free and Inexpensive Indoor Activities for Kids: 2017 Edition


Looking for something fun to do when it is bitter cold outside or insanely hot? Welcome to our Free and Inexpensive Indoor Activities for Kids, 2017 edition (note: click on the blue location to take you to the business links!)

Also if you are looking for summer activities be sure to check out this fun list, and for birthday parties check out our local guide!



Knox County Public Library: for ages infant to five years, starting around 10am, Monday – Friday. Check the website for the library closest to you and for specific date and age groups. There are nearly 40 fun and educational storytimes in the Knoxville area each week!

Barnes and Noble: Saturdays at 11am. Check listing for location and storytime theme.

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: performs at various Knoxville library storytimes!


McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture: Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 1 5pm. (The museum is closed on the following dates: January 1, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, December 24 and 25.) Join the McClung Museum on January 11th for a Stroller Tour and January 30th for Family Fun Day!

Knoxville Museum of Art: Tuesday-Saturday 10am 5pm, Sunday 1 5pm. Admission is free, closed on Mondays.

Beck Cultural Exchange: Tuesday-Saturday 10am 6pm.

Farragut Folklife Museum: Monday-Friday 10am 4:30pm.

Sunsphere: open daily 11am 6pm.

Lenoir Museum: (Norris, about 30 minutes north of Knoxville): historical artifacts from early life in East Tennessee. Hours vary. Call (865) 494-9688 for more information.

Local Stores and Shops

Home Depot Kids Workshops: 1st Saturday of the month 9am 12noon; each child gets a free Home Depot apron.

Williams-Sonoma Junior Chef Classes: located in West Town Mall, every Saturday at 10am. A new “recipe” is introduced each week, with step-by-step instructions in this interactive class.

Smart Toys and Books:  Call (865) 394-6060 to check Open Play session availability and to book workshops. 


Sporting/Physical Activities

Foothills Gym/Tumble Bears PRESCHOOL OPEN GYM – Every 3rd Wednesday of each month from 10 – 11 am. Cost is $5 per child, ages walking – 5 years old. 

Max Air Trampoline Park: Adults (1 hour pass) $12.00, children (6 and under, 1 hour pass) $8, children 2 and under: free. Tuesday-Thursday 4pm 9pm, Friday 11am 11pm, Saturday 9am 11pm, Sunday 12pm 6pm.

All Bounce Events: $8 per child ages 3 and up, $5 for two and under and parents play free. (Note: Always check website first before visiting. Hours vary based on winter months and Knox County school schedule.)

Gym Bugs: open gym: $5 per child ($1 discount for siblings); cash or check only, Monday-Thursday mornings, 10:30 11:30am.

Pump It Up: $7.50 per child + tax; Monday-Friday, check event calendar for specific times.

Cool Sports: ice skating $9 skater ($4 skate rental), 4 and under $4 (includes skate rental) Monday-Friday 1 3pm; Fridays 8 10pm; Saturdays and Sundays 4 6pm. Check website for winter hours.

JumpJam: 6 and under: $10 for 1 hour; $12 for 1.5 hours; $15 for 2 hours. 7 and over: $13 for 1 hour, $17 for 1.5 hours, 2 hours: $20. Check website for open days/times.

Onsight Rock Gym: Day Pass: Adult (13+) $15, Youth (6-12) $13, Tot (5 & under) $5; Climb Time (includes day pass, rental gear, & staff belayers) $25. Weekdays 11am – 10pm,Saturday 10am – 8pmSunday 10am – 6pm.

The Ice Chalet: $6, skate rental $6, kids 5 and under $6; most days start at noon and go until 3:30 or 5:30pm. Group rates are available. 

Knoxville Ice Bears: take the family to watch a hockey game! Tickets as low as $17. Check website for 2016-2017 schedule and times.

Chuck E Cheese: admission is free, games are one token each. Check website for times and location and coupons for pizza/token combos.

Tataru’s Gymnastics: open play: 9am 1pm Monday through Friday and Parents’ Night Out Friday and Saturday 7pm 10pm.

Family Bowl Strike and Spare: Game rates: Monday-Friday 11am 6pm ($3.25), Sunday-Thursday, 6pm close ($4.50), Friday-Sunday, 6pm close ($4.75). Shoe rental: $3.75

Museums, Stores, and Movies

Whole Foods Kids’ Club: offers cooking classes for various ages, store tours, and birthday parties!

The Muse Knoxville: adults $7, kids 2+ $5, kids under 2 are free; Mondays 9am – 12pm; Tuesday-Friday 9am – 5pm; Saturdays 10am 5pm, Sundays 1pm 5pm.

American Museum of Science and Energy (in Oak Ridge): $5 adults, $3 children (6 – 17 yrs old), FREE children (5 and under). Monday-Saturday: 9am 5pm; Sundays 1 5pm. The museum is open daily, except Christmas Eve, Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge: adults $8, kids 3 and up $6, kids under 3 are free; Tuesday-Friday 9am 5pm; Saturdays 10am 4pm; Sundays 1 4pm. Closed: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Museum of Appalachia (Norris/Clinton exit): adults: $18.00, children (5-12) $6.00, children (under 5): free. 9am 5pm, 7 days a week.

Carmike Movies 7: adults and children $2.50; open 7 days a week.

Museum of East Tennessee History: Admission is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors, and FREE for children 16 and under. Admission is FREE each Sunday, and ETHS Members always receive FREE admission. Monday-Friday 9am 4pm, Saturday 10am 4pm, Sunday 1pm 5pm.

And don’t forget the mall play area and Chick-fil-A play area for a quick fix when you need some “mom conversation” and a place to let the kids enjoy for free! 

Do you have a favorite indoor family activity location we’ve missed? Share with us in the comments and we’ll be sure to add it!


  1. Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. BEST kept secret in town. Groupon has deals on family memberships often. Less than $20 for the year!

  2. Christie, thank you for all the hard work. As a grandmother to 3 newly adopted grands I need all the help I can get to provide enriching activities for them. These are great ideas a museum on a cool winter day sounds lovely!


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